Jeanne Cooper, the extraordinarily prolific actress best known as Katherine Chancellor on The Young and The Restless passed away today in Los Angeles from an undisclosed illness.
Her son actor Corbin Bernsen (Psych) announced her death on Twitter and later wrote on his Facebook page, “While her light finally gave into the wind that gives flight to all our journeys, there will always be a glimmer left behind by what she stood for."
Cooper’s stage, film and TV career extended over 60 years. She appeared opposite such actors as Tony Curtis (in The Boston Strangler) and Frank Sinatra (in Tony Rome). And always more than held her own.
She was a fixture on television from the medium’s infancy, on shows like Highway Patrol and Perry Mason. In her younger years, the native Californian often appeared in Western roles on shows like The Virginian and Gunsmoke.
Jeanne (pronounced Genie) Cooper will always be best known as Katherine Chancellor, the forbidding matriarch on TV’s top soap, The Young and the Restless. It was a role she held for 40 years, since shortly after the serial debuted in 1973. Her daytime tenure is unprecedented.
As is her influence. Cooper bravely used her own experiences to inform the role, including her long struggle with alcoholism.
Here’s a video of Cooper winning her first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in 2008. Ironically it came four years after she had already been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tlevision Academy.
Stick around for her acceptance speech. She was 79 at the time and still a beautifully brassy broad.