Sony Pictures Television

via Press Release


John Paschal/JPI Studios
John Paschal/JPI Studios

May 10, 2013, LOS ANGELES, CA … Internationally renowned actress , who played the vibrant and tough grand dame with a heart of gold, Katherine Chancellor on “”, died on May 8, 2013 after a brief illness.

She was born Wilma Jeanne Cooper in Taft, California on October 25, 1928, of English, Irish and Cherokee Indian descent, something she’s always been extremely proud of, to Albert Troy Cooper and Sildeth Evelyn Moore. After graduating high school in the rural oil field town, she attended the College of the Pacific and performed in the Civic Light Opera Company and Revue Theatre in Stockton, California before graduating from the famed Pasadena Playhouse School in Pasadena, California.

Her professional career began with the film “The Redhead from Wyoming” with Maureen O’Hara in 1953, followed by many classics such as “The Man from the Alamo” with Glenn Ford, “There Was a Crooked Man” with Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda, “The Boston Strangler” with Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda and George Kennedy, “Tony Rome” with Frank Sinatra and Jill St. John, “The All-American Boy” with Jon Voight, “The Glory Guys” with James Caan, “Kansas City Bomber” with Raquel Welch and “Let No Man Write My Epitaph” with Shelly Winters. More recently, Cooper starred in the feature films “Carpool Guy”, directed and starring her son Corbin Bernsen, as well as “Three Day Test” and “Over the Hedge”, also produced by Bernsen’s film company, Public Filmworks.

Additionally, Cooper became a recognizable name by starring in many early television shows such as “Playhouse 90”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Perry Mason”, “The Untouchables”, “The Virginian”, “Maverick”, “Bracken’s World”, “Ben Casey”, “Bonanza”, “The Big Valley”, and many others.

Cooper’s most notable stage credits include starring roles in “On the Town”, “The Miracle Worker”, “Plain and Fancy”, and the touring production of “Plaza Suite”. She also starred in the critically acclaimed “Love Letters” at the Canon Theatre in Beverly Hills.

In 1974 she joined the William J. and Lee Phillip Bell daytime drama “The Young and the Restless”, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary on CBS, in the iconic role of Katherine Chancellor. Cooper was the longest-running cast member on the series. In 1984, footage of Cooper’s real-life facelift was televised on “The Young and the Restless” as her character underwent the surgery at the same time. Additionally, she made public, through Y&R, her struggle with alcoholism. She liked to say that she was the first reality show on television.

During her 40 seasons with Y&R, Cooper garnered 10 Daytime Entertainment Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, winning in this category in 2008, and one Daytime Entertainment Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Additionally, she received the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Lifetime Achievement Award in May of 2004.

In 1962 she was nominated for a Prime-time Emmy Award for her role on “Ben Casey.” In 1987 she was nominated, again, for her recurring role on “L.A. Law,” playing the mother to her real-life son, Corbin Bernsen in the category of Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series. Bernsen subsequently joined his mother on “The Young and the Restless” making several guest appearances as the priest Father Todd.

Additionally, in 1989 Cooper received a Soap Opera Digest Award and the Soap Opera Digest’s Editor’s Award for her portrayal of Katherine Chancellor on Y&R. She was awarded two First American in the Arts Awards as Lead Actress in a Drama Series and in 2009 was the recipient of the coveted AMEE Award from the AFTRA Foundation. Cooper received her star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1993.

In 2012, Cooper published her memoir, “Not Young, Still Restless”, which she wrote with her dear friend Lindsay Harrison, which was a New York Times best-seller.

Cooper has been the spokesperson for “”, a company that helps people reclaim their lives by getting out from under the burden of debt. She also is extremely proud of “Spring Board Center” in Midland, Texas, a facility for drug and alcohol addiction that she co-founded.

Cooper was pre-deceased by her parents and brother, Jack Cooper. She is survived by her three children, Corbin, Collin and Caren, eight grandchildren as well as her sister Evelyn Rader, and her beloved animals, Bishop, Daisy, and Crackerjack. Services are pending.

  • She was a beautiful woman inside and out. Heaven has the most sweetest Angel there is now that she is there. RIP Duchess. I`ll love you forever. <3

  • This is a wonderful obituary, shows just what a wonderful person she was. May you rest in peace Jeanne Cooper, we will miss you dearly on Y&R, dont know what they are gonna do now.

    • i don’t see the show lasting.Jeanne was the STAR.The other actors and actresses are awesome too , don’t get me wrong BUT Jeanne Cooper was the show.

  • Joyce

    One thing for sure she had a full life. She is now resting. Love you Jeanne Cooper. You will be missed.

  • aleshamom4

    BREAKING HEARTS EVERYWHERE..she is now forever young, not restless..heaven sings..prayers..

  • Ewurababetsie

    This is sad and a blow to her family and all of us the fans, she was beautiful inside out. Katherine, Rest in peace. You will be missed.

  • Dragonflys

    Most people try to age gracefully but Jeanne Cooper was more beautiful with every day
    that passed. I will miss her terribly. Rest in Peace Jeanne.

  • awww.who will take her furry babies now?

  • how will they write her out of Genoa City? will they replace her on Y&R or they just write out here character of having died?

    • Almost prophetically in her last scene, she very fraily ascended the stairs to go lie down in her bedroom following the brain surgery to remove the tumor she had. It would be completely believable that a blood clot dislodged as she slept and she died of a massive infarct (complete blockage of blood flow) to her brain or lungs. I feel certain this is what will be written into the story line. I only wish “JILL” had told “KATHERINE” after “JILL” offered to help her up to the bed, that she (“JILL”) LOVED her. That would have been the most perfect last show imaginable to me.

      • Lala

        I agree with you Billy. I was totally on the edge of my seat saying, Jill say it say it, tell her you LOVE HER……….. ;-(

  • Sheila Pflug



  • Col

    Genoa City just won’t be the same without her! She was the true heart of the show!

    • Col

      God bless your family and friends at this difficult time, you are missed by all!

  • I have enjoyed Catherine on young and restless . There will never be anyone that can replace her. She will surely be missed. All my Prayers to her family, television family and friend s. God Bless You All

    • I totally agree with you. She was a lady, friend and a great actress. We will miss her terribly.

  • Y&R fan

    I have been an avid fan for 40 years. She will surely be missed..

  • Elaine Holmes

    Mrs. C was an inspiration in my life of who a woman should act even thugh she doesn’t have a dime in her pocket. She will be sorely missed for her spunk. GOD bless the family and thank you for sharing your mom with us for 40 years.

  • I’ve been a fan for 40 years. I was there at the beginning, with Donnelly Rhodes as her husband, who fell for Jill Foster. Over the years, there was heartache for Jill and Katherine, but the last few have been wonderful! They really loved each other, like mother and daughter! She will be truly missed! Goodnight, Jeanne!

  • Lisa Bekessy

    I’m so sad….a follower for almost 35 years….Y & R just won’t be the same. My condolences to the family and the Y & R Family.
    Lisa in Canada

  • Lala

    I will dearly miss my favorite actress Jeanne Cooper. I watched Young and the restless with my grandma since i was 8 years old. young and the restless was an inspiration for me to become an actress. I’m still watching Y&R. Will miss you Jeanne Cooper. I will pray for your family…..

  • Young canadian

    she was a fantastic actress, I grew up watching her on Y& R, god bless!

  • Juanita Chapa

    Condolences to her children and the Young & the Restless cast as they too were her family. She will be greatly missed and her legacy of her role will always be remembered.