Jeanne Cooper, Young and the Restless Icon, Dead at 84: 'She Was in Peace and Without Fear'

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Jeanne Cooper Dead at 84Daytime-TV grand dame Jeanne Cooper, who played The Young and the Restless‘ Katherine, passed away on Wednesday morning after being hospitalized, off and on since April, for an undisclosed illness.

Cooper’s elder son, actor Corbin Bernsen, shared the sad news on Twitter, saying, “She was in peace and without fear. You all have been incredible in your love. In her name, share it today with others.”

Bernsen just last week updated his mother’s fans via Facebook, upon her latest return to the hospital: “I said goodbye to her [Friday], and even then not fully meaning it or expecting that would be the last time I saw her. But now it will have to do, as we enter this weekend letting her final voyage begin…. I don’t want her in pain. I don’t want her in fear or agony…. So I’m giving her this weekend — take the holiday, Mom, make it yours, let it take you where it will. My final words to her last night were, ‘I’ll see you again.’ And I will, either here or there.”

Best known for her nearly 40-year run on CBS’ Y&R, which launched in 1973, Cooper’s career began in the 1950s with a role in the Western The Redhead from Wyoming. She then launched into a long string of roles on TV anthology series — including ABC’s Crossroads, NBC’s Tales of Wells Fargo and CBS’ Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater — and dramas such as The Adventures of Kit Carson, Cheyenne, Wagon Train and multiple appearances on Perry Mason, The Big Valley and Ironside.

On Y&R, Cooper played high society doyenne Katherine Chancellor (as well as, now and again, her lookalike Marge Cotrooke). The actress famously invited the daytime drama to weave in storylines mirroring her own life, including a mid-1980s facelift (the show used footage from Cooper’s actual procedure) and a recurring bout with alcoholism. The character of Kay also crossed over to sister sudser The Bold and the Beautiful for two episodes in 2005.

Over her career, Cooper amassed 10 Daytime Emmy nominations, winning once in 2008 after earning a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. She also netted two Primetime Emmy nods, including for her turn as son Corbin’s L.A. Law mother.

Cooper took a brief medical leave from Y&R in October 2011, at which time her part was temporarily recast with Michael Learned (The Waltons).

The actress is survived by her three children, Corbin, Colin and Caren.

Comments (396)

  • You will be missed so much not just your immediate family, but all the families the watched you daily (Y&R) also. But now it is well with your soul, no more suffering or sickness, you are already in the right hand of God with that your sweet voice(Y&R) and pretty smile threfore, I say RIP.

    Comment by Grace A. – May 8, 2013 10:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • God bless her and thank her for 40 years of service. I pray for her family and friends. Of course she can never be replaced on Y&R and they never will try. She will be sorely missed. She was one hell of a dame.

    Comment by Sheryl Donnell – May 8, 2013 10:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RIP Jeannie Cooper you will surely be missed. My prayers are with all the family and friends. May God be with you in this time as you mourn the loss of this beautiful person. She not only touched her family and friends she also touched all the fans that followed her all these years. I remember as a child sitting with my mom and watching Jeannie on Y&R everyday. I was hooked. My Mom passed away suddenly that August 2012 and now Jeannie is with my Mom as an angel boy I bet they have a lot to talk about lol. GOD BLESS!!!

    Comment by Deanne – May 8, 2013 10:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 32 years with her wasn’t enough for me :(

    Comment by Brad – May 8, 2013 11:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My prayers are with Ms.Cooper’s family. I grew up watching her portray Katherine Chancellor on Y&R. Although I haven’t watched the show for many years now, I will always remember her as a grand lady

    Comment by Christina – May 8, 2013 11:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have enjoyed ” Mrs C ” since she began on Y&R. What a great career she had.
    Rest in Peace.

    Comment by Beth – May 8, 2013 11:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Truly saddened by the loss of such an icon. This iron-will lady will truly be missed. I side with the people who say Mrs. C.should not be recast. As someone whose mother passed away last year, I am extremely aware that death is a part of life, and this should be written into the show somehow.

    Comment by Mike – May 9, 2013 12:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have been at work and then school today. I walk in my mother says Ms.C passed.I said who Katherine on y&r.I cried I didn’t know that this would effect me the way has.I loved coming home after s long day and fast forward to her part.There will be no other may you Rip .My prayers are with the family.

    Comment by chanell c – May 9, 2013 12:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Our Prayers are with Jeannie’s Family at this sad time. God Bless you Jeannie, you will be missed.

    Comment by aussiesue26 – May 9, 2013 01:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank,you Jeannie Cooper..I was 26 when you started with the Young & the Restless now 66..R.I.P. Ms C…..I will miss you alot your were awesome Actress and A Fine Lady,I looked forward to watching the show 5 days aweek .God Bless your Family…Love ya!!

    Comment by Candi – May 9, 2013 01:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Rest in Peace, You’ll be missed. You’re in our hearts forever.. Love you, Mrs C, Katherine… Love you Jeanne Cooper..

    Comment by Elizabeth Carter – May 9, 2013 03:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow! One of my all time favorite stars really really going to miss your lovely face and kind heart. You were one of the best actors around, and not just on the Y & R. I remember seeing you in Big Valley and some other black and white cowboy movies (telling my age). To your family and your cast family I would just like to say God bless you and give you the strength you need to get through the pain this will put on your heart. R I P Mrs. C. :-) Alma from MI

    Comment by Alma Thomas – May 9, 2013 03:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • May you rest in peace…….. Xoxo to all of Mrs.Copper’s family and friends. Death is never an easy thing to accept, no matter how young or old, when a loved one becomes a memory their memory becomes a treasure.

    Comment by felicia – May 9, 2013 04:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I remember being inspired by Miss Jeanne, as I refer to her, most intensely when I was wrestling with my own alcoholism. “One drink is too many, and a hundred is not enough!” I’ve heard that quote of hers so many times through the years in AA meetings across the country. God, what a dame!

    Comment by Pavanne – May 9, 2013 05:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by jennifer williams – May 9, 2013 05:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Rest in peace Jeanne (Mrs. Kay Chancellor) you will be missed by all. Thoughts and prayers to the Family, Friends, and Fans

    Comment by Barbara Rollins – May 9, 2013 06:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Whenever Katherine Chancellor was on the screen she drew all eyes and attention to her. She was riveting. Jeanne Cooper was an accomplished actress, fascinating character and by all accounts, a super lady! The Y&R has lost its icon. RIP Duchess!

    Comment by Linda – May 9, 2013 06:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t believe it! RIP Mrs. C! God Bless your family and the Y&R family!

    Comment by Kimberly – May 9, 2013 06:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mrs. C was an icon in the show, her “Good Night” exit on the show will be memorable to her legacy!!!!

    Comment by Sandra l Rowe – May 9, 2013 07:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mrs. C was a wonderful actress, condolences to her family and her “Y&R family!!!!

    Comment by Sandra l Rowe – May 9, 2013 07:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeannie Cooper made the show interesting and funny..And she always remained a lady.. I was very sad to hear of her passing..Watched her ever since I was little. My prayers go out to both her family and the Young and the Restless cast.REST IN PEACE. You will never be forgotten.

    Comment by Brandi – May 9, 2013 08:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve been watching y & r since 1972, I was 12 yrs old… I’m now 52yrs old. Ms. Chancellor was a fav of mine & I will muss her much. God bless her fans/family & may she rest n peace!!!

    Comment by Toni Martin – May 9, 2013 08:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • R I P Jeanne cooper aka ms chancellir

    Comment by Toni Martin – May 9, 2013 08:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • R.i.p katherine i have been watching u on young restless since i was little girl with my mom ur really true legend u’ll be miss lot.

    Comment by katelynn – May 9, 2013 08:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve been watching the Y&R since day “1″ … Mrs. C, you sure will be missed by me along with so many others… God bless you and your family forever…

    Comment by Lila – May 9, 2013 08:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow, I have no words, I met ‘Mrs. C. in Victoria, BC a few years ago, a lovely, compassionate and amazing woman. My thoughts and prayers go to first her family, then the Y&R family, she touched so many lives on and off the screen.

    I grew up watching Y&R with my grandparents, will continue to watch with a heavy heart, please continue to remind us with clips.

    Comment by Robb Squire Canada – May 9, 2013 09:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeanne, you were one classy lady–rest in peace and may god be with you and your family!

    Comment by Lou – May 9, 2013 09:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am so so said to hear that the Real DayTime Diva is gone. She will be missed but never ever forgotten. R.I.P Mrs. C. We know that you are with the Lord

    Comment by Corliss – May 9, 2013 09:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with most fans that it would not be possible to replace this wonderful actress.I have been a fan for about 36 years & she was a most honest & unique character.Irreplaceable !!
    “Go gently into that good night ,Jeanne.”

    Comment by Eileen Mokorich – May 9, 2013 09:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How about bringing in Michael Learned but as Katherine’s long lost sister who in a huge surprise, according to Katherine’s will has inhereted everything. They would have to decide a back story but it could work. This wou;d keep Katherine’s memory alive.

    Comment by M. Brewster – May 9, 2013 10:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by CAROLYN LEE – May 9, 2013 11:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have been watching Y & R over 40 years. I am going to miss Jeanne Cooper, Mrs. C., also. I am torn in regard to replacing her. Did Betty White play her role a couple years ago? Not that she could take her place.

    Comment by Gloria Bryce – May 9, 2013 11:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • No, Betty White did not play her role a couple of years ago. It was Michael Learned, formerly of the Waltons as Olivia Walton.

      Comment by Mary – May 24, 2013 06:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mrs C you wil be greatly missed I have watched the Y @ R for thoses 40 years and seen the other shows that were mentioned . You are now withe GOD beautiful LADY

    Comment by Carol G – May 9, 2013 01:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by VICKEY ZIMMERMAN – May 9, 2013 01:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Do not replace Jeanne Cooper, she was the “Show”…you need to have a funeral for her on the Young and the Restless so the people there
    can say their farewell to her…Sure gonna miss that Lady…I looked forward to watching her every day…

    Comment by Jeannie Poitra – May 9, 2013 01:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s wonderful to see the sheer volume of posts here on this article. Much respect for this wonderful actress. Rest well, Dutchess! <3

    Comment by flstf – May 9, 2013 03:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeanie,
    You so mirrored the elegant image of my late grandmother. She 2 was a beautiful, classy woman. She had spunk,and fiestineess. I dont know if i can continue watching the show.
    I know this sounds stupid, but i feel as though i have once again lost a piece of myself…..there will NEVER b another like her. NOBODY, not even mrs. Walton will b able 2 replace her.
    The show will never b the same……forever in our hearts…R.I.H….

    Comment by cappella – May 9, 2013 04:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Rest in peace you dear sweet wonderful lady! I hope the producers do NOT recast the role! There was only ONE actress who could bring Catherine Chancellor to life. My thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family.

    Comment by rob bruce – May 9, 2013 05:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have been a fan of Y & R since it first aired. Mrs. C. was that magical fairy godmother that we all dream of. I can’t imagine another person in that role. No one has her particular spunk. My condolences to Jeanne Cooper’s family. Just know that she has many fans who will miss her dearly.

    Comment by MG – May 10, 2013 06:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • DO NOT RECAST! Her and Murphy should go off fishing for eternity. Although I heard they already started filming with someone else when they thought it would just be a temporary absence.

    Comment by Kimberly Bridges – May 10, 2013 11:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • rip ms.cooper and thanks for all the great perfomaces

    Comment by bill – May 10, 2013 01:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Have read most of the posts here and have not seen ONE negative post! THANK GOD!! Unfortunately when a lot of famous actors and actresses die, people can only post disrespectful diatribes. Miss Cooper was a classy and well-respected actress who deserves all of this praise! I hope the producers and cast of the Y+R air a tribute show to her. She has MORE than earned these accolades!!

    Comment by rob bruce – May 10, 2013 04:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What sad news…….my condolences first off to her family, friends and her castmates on Y & R…..The show will not be the same without her and I am hoping her memory will live on in the show as in life without a replacement….I agree a memorial with her co-workers from the show and her fans would be appropriate………RIP Jeanne Cooper you will never be forgotten

    Comment by Mary – May 10, 2013 07:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I read her book because I was so fascinated with her demeanor, strength, perserverance and unconditional love! I have watched for 50 years starting with my grandmother. I will miss her terribly. I will continue to watch Y&R but I hope they don’t replace her, because no one could!

    Comment by E. smith – May 10, 2013 10:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I read her book because I was fascinated with her unconditional love, perserverance, strength and frankness! I have been watching her for 50 years! I will miss her very much! She cannot be replaced!

    Comment by E. smith – May 10, 2013 10:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m really going to miss you

    Comment by James G kraus – May 11, 2013 10:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So sorry to hear of Jeanne Cooper’s passing. I’ve watched Y&R since the early 80′s and Mrs. C IS ONE my FAVORITE characters. I totally agree with many of the other comments: there is NO REPLACEMENT for Catherine Chancellor. She is an EXTRA-ORDINARY, ONCE IN A LIFETIME PERSONALITY. A beautiful person, inside and out. Just finished reading her book a couple months ago, and LOVE her even more. Prayers and hugs to her family. R.I.P. Jeanne.

    Comment by karrie – May 13, 2013 06:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • good bye Ms.C

    Comment by audrey may – May 13, 2013 07:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • good-bye Ms.C
    you will be missed.

    Comment by audrey may – May 13, 2013 07:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have watched young and restless since i was a teenager when it was 30 min on at 11am. I thought she was amazing and irreplaceable please let it be.. Will so miss her!!!

    Comment by Nancy Sparks – May 13, 2013 07:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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