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What Happened To Colleen On Young And The Restless - Did She Really Die?

Colleen Carlton (last played by Tammin Sursok) was a legacy character who left quite a legacy behind on "The Young and the Restless." In fact, while she might be gone, her heart lives on to this day. The daughter of Brad Carlton (Don Diamont) and Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland), Colleen took after her bad boy pop in a lot of ways at first. She slowly grew from a rebellious teenager into a damsel in distress and a vulnerable heroine. She had a teenage romance with J. T. Hellstrom (Thad Luckinbil), a grown-up one with fellow second-generation kid Daniel Romalotti (last played by Michael Graziadei), and yet another relationship with her college professor Adrian Korbel (Eyal Podell) before meeting a tragic fate. While trying to escape from kidnapper Patty Williams (Andrea Evans), Colleen fell out of a canoe and nearly drowned in a raging river. Colleen was left breathing but brain-dead, and Traci chooses to donate her daughter's organs.

Ironically, her heart went on to nourish the man she hated the most — Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), general enemy of the Abbott clan, and the fellow Colleen always blamed for Brad's own death by drowning in an icy pond. In a weird, sweet way, Colleen will continue to exist on the show for as long as Victor lives.

But that leaves a lingering question; was Colleen's departure dictated by something that happened to one of her actors? Apparently not. Fortunately, all of the young women who played Colleen are doing well in the acting game.

All of Colleen's actresses remain alive and well

Of the three adult actresses who played Colleen Carlton, Lyndsy Fonseca remains the most successful. After her time on "The Young and the Restless," Fonseca went on to play Dylan Mayfair on "Desperate Housewives," then essayed the part of Katie Deauxma in the "Kick-Ass" series of movies. She might best be known for playing Ted Mosby's (Josh Radnor) daughter Penny on "How I Met Your Mother," and Alex on the CW version of "Nikita." More recently, she recurred on "9-1-1" as Iris Blake, played Laura Turner on the Disney+ version of "Turner and Hooch," and portrayed Angie Martinelli on "Agent Carter." 

Adrianne León played Colleen for two years, and she is better known for her work on "General Hospital," where she originated the adult version of the legacy character Brook Lynn Ashton. She has not appeared onscreen since leaving "General Hospital" in 2011.

Tammin Sursok's career since playing Colleen hasn't been much quieter. Before her time on "The Young and the Restless," she appeared on the Australian soap opera "Home and Away." While living in L.A. and playing Colleen through her teen years to her adult ones, she found herself co-starring in a number of Disney live-action properties, such as "Aquamarine" and "Hannah Montana," where she played Sienna for eight episodes. In adulthood, she portrayed Jenna Marshall in "Pretty Little Liars" and had a regular role on the Australian soap opera "Neighbours" in 2022.  Most recently, she popped up in the Tubi original "Blood, Sweat and Cheer" as a mom who poses as her daughter so that she can land a spot on her high school's cheer squad.

Colleen's departure was storyline-dictated

So why was Colleen written off "The Young and the Restless"? It turns out the character's departure was dictated both by Tammin Sursok's desire to leave the role behind and by the soap opera's choice to move on from the character in general. 

Sursok departed the show due to her desire to pursue outside roles, according to an interview published in Soap Opera Digest's October 20, 2009, issue. While she had no hand in how Colleen's eventual death played out in the writer's room, she confessed she was all right with her character passing away. "I was satisfied with the way that my character was written out. I think a little bit of drama is always fun, and I had a memorable ending that created some good storyline for so many other people. I'm glad I got to be a part of that," she said at the time.

Colleen Carlton was last seen from behind during an episode where she appeared to Victor Newman as a vision during the soap's December 23, 2010, episode. A fitting exit for a memorable and well-loved character.