For over 40 years, Jeanne Cooper appeared in America’s living rooms as the elegant, sophisticated, outrageous Katherine Chancellor in the TV hit daytime drama, “The Young and the Restless.” On May 8th, 2013 Jeanne’s passing “in peace and without fear” was confirmed by her son, actor Corbin Bernson. Cooper was 84.
Jeanne’s character, Katherine, broke all the rules; changing the future of daytime TV forever. Katherine Chancellor lived a rollercoaster ride of love and loss, including the death of four husbands and one child, infidelity, battles with alcoholism and breast cancer, rising from the dead, and a lifetime feud with “frenemy,” Jill Foster Abbott; storylines that resurrect time and time again throughout the globe.
Age isn’t Just a Number
“40 is the new 30” is a term coined in recent years, but for Cooper, age truly was just a number. In a time when young was the only way to be, Jeanne joined the cast of “The Young and the Restless” at age 45, becoming an instant hit across America. It didn’t matter how old or young she was, she was simply a phenomenon.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Jeanne had an open door policy when it came to pretty much everything, including being open about undergoing plastic surgery. Not only did she admit to the world that she had a facelift, she did it right on TV! Her real life facelift was written into the show and televised, turning the page on elective surgeries being something to be ashamed of.
One Day at a Time
Not only did Cooper admit publicly that she elected to have plastic surgery, she freely spoke about her personal battle with alcoholism. Cooper certainly enjoyed reminiscing about the good ol’ days, but worked hard to maintain sobriety later in life. She also worked with others to help them combat their own struggles with substance abuse, citing that recovering alcoholics looked at her with admiration, even offering up their AA sober chips.
Her Life’s Calling
Cooper’s long and successful career earned her 8 Daytime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, a 1993 Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004; and most notably, a trophy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at nearly 80 years of age. While most actors spend just a few years in the limelight, Cooper’s career, lasting over 60 years, literally spanned a lifetime.
Jeanne’s last TV appearance was on May 3, 2013. She is survived by 3 children, 8 grandchildren, and millions of devoted fans. You can follow Jeanne’s longstanding career on “The Young and the Restless” on SOAPnet on DISH, channel 253.