Shemar Moore paid a heartfelt tribute to his onscreen brother, Kristoff St. John, at the Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, remembering the late “Young and the Restless” star for both his friendship and his lasting legacy.
Moore, 49, honored his longtime friend and former co-star before presenting the award for outstanding drama series, which “The Young and the Restless”—where St. John played the popular role of Neill Winters for almost three decades—won.
“This year, we had to say goodbye to a good man, a great man, a special individual, Mr. Kristoff St. John,” said Moore. “In my opinion, he is the most iconic, popular, thorough, professional, talented, big-hearted, generous African-American actor in soap opera history.”
The “Criminal Minds” star went on to quote Bryton James, who currently stars in the long-running CBS soap opera, calling St. John “the Denzel of Daytime” for his contributions as the audience erupted in applause.
“Kristoff, we miss you, rest in peace, keep dancing, and we will never, ever forget you, my brother,” Moore concluded the tribute. Moore had portrayed Malcolm Winters, the half-brother of St. John’s character, from 1994 to 2005.
St. John died in February at age 52 of hypertrophic heart disease. Family, friends and fans called the star’s legacy “revolutionary” for how he paved the way for major African-American characters in the traditionally white world of soap operas.
The soap aired a four-episode story arc last month with characters gathering in fictional Genoa City to remember the businessman whose full life included complicated relationships and a battle with alcoholism. Stars, past and present, made appearances to reminisce about their friend.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Moore said he wanted to thank CBS, the soap and its cast for honoring his late friend and mentor “the right way.”
"The tribute that aired this past week on ‘The Young and the Restless,’ saying goodbye to Kristoff and his character, Neil Winters, was so beautifully, beautifully done," he said. "I know Kristoff is proud of all of us."
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St. John appeared on “The Young and the Restless” from 1991 until his death. He was nominated for nine Daytime Emmy Awards, winning twice.
The Emmy win for outstanding drama series marked the 10th win for "The Young and the Restless."