Secrets. Half-Truths. Dramatic Deathbed Confessions.
Intriguing plot twists dominate the make-believe lives of television soap
opera characters. Sometimes, however, life imitates art in the lives of the
actors who portray them. Don Diamont (named People Magazineʼs Sexiest
Soap Veteran in 2009), is well-known to devoted CBS soap fans as his current
and former onscreen alter-egos, the strong, complex Bill Spencer, Jr.
on The Bold & The Beautiful and the sexy, conniving Brad Carlton on The
Young & The Restless. But his actual life story is even more gripping.
Diamont's Compelling Life Away from the Set
Born Donald Bruce Feinberg to Jewish parents from Brooklyn, New York
and raised in Los Angeles, his father (who grew up in a religious home)
and his mother (whose maiden name was Diamont and lived in a secular
home) never discussed their Jewish heritage, celebrated Jewish holidays,
or incorporated Judaic traditions in their family life.
When Don, an outgoing junior high and high school sports star, became
the target of anti-Semitic slurs by a small group of students, he didnʼt tell
his parents and internalized his feelings of pain, embarrassment and confusion.
One day, after being taunted for several years, his pent up emotions exploded
when a classmate and tormentor verbally abused him, resulting in
a physical altercation. While his punishment was relatively mild, the incident
brought a lot of Donʼs repressed feelings to the surface; feelings that his
parents had been unaware of until that point. But it wasnʼt until ten years
later, when Donʼs father was dying of kidney cancer, that his dad expressed
huge regret for the first time for not giving his children any Jewish identity.
This was a revelation to Don, then 24, and his older brother, Jack, 37.
Tragedy Strikes Again
Jack was soon diagnosed with a brain tumor two years later and during
the course of his illness, he and Don shared a desire to become bar mitzvahs.
They began studying for their bar mitzvahs together but sadly, Jack
was unable to retain the Hebrew he was learning and both brothers
stopped the process. Several years after his brotherʼs untimely passing at
the age of 40, Don again began studying in earnest for his bar mitzvah.
Standing on the bimah as a bar mitzvah surrounded by close family, friends
and colleagues was a poignant, powerful turning point in Donʼs life knowing
how much it would have meant to his dad and brother.
Embracing His Jewish Faith
Daytimeʼs first Jewish leading man, who spent the first half of his life uneducated
and often embarrassed about being Jewish, has seen his life enriched
immeasurably by embracing Judaism in his own family as well as
When one of the writers at The Young & The Restless created a first-of-its
kind storyline for Donʼs character, Brad Carlton, that revolved around the
Holocaust and a surprise plot twist that ʻBradʼ was actually Jewish, he knew
he had come full circle. And when Mel Gibsonʼs anti-Semitic rants first
made international news several years ago, it was Don who was asked to
appear on CNN to offer his unique perspective.
Captivating Jewish Audiences of All Ages
Adults and teens are deeply touched every time Don shares his personal
story of perseverance and how his renewed Jewish faith has enriched his
life. Through the emotional highs and lows of his own journey, Don inspires
each of us to dig deep to overcome the challenges we all face in our own lives.