Jeanne Cooper, one of the legends of daytime television who played Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless for 40 years, passed away this morning. She was 84 years old. Her son, Corbin Bernsen, an actor from L.A. Law, told the world of her passing on his Twitter account. She was hospitalized in April.
Cooper began her career as a character actress in the ’50s, but her star really shined when she joined Y&R a few months after it launched in 1973. She played the fabulously wealthy, sassy grand dame Katherine, whose battles with alcohlism were legendary. Cooper knew something about the disease and suffered with it for a good part of her life. That wasn’t the only time her medical history was written into the show. In the ’80s she had a face lift and so did her character. She also had to take a medical leave in 2011 after a bout of the flu and her character was recast for a bit. However she returned shortly thereafter and played Katherine nearly up until her death.
Cooper was married to TV producer Harry Bernsen Jr but divorced in 1977. She is survived by her three children Corbin, Collin, and Caren Bensen. She was nominated for 13 Emmys, mostly for Y&R, but she earned one for playing Corbin’s mother on L.A. Law and another for the series Ben Casey. She only received an Emmy once, in 2008. She was one of the few true soap stars still left and daytime drama fans will surely miss her.