R.I.P. Jeanne Cooper

Obit-Jeanne_Cooper_Jeanne-Cooper_image_982wJeanne Cooper, the enduring soap opera star who played grande dame Katherine Chancellor for nearly four decades on “The Young and the Restless,” died May 8. She was 84.

The actor Corbin Bernsen, her son, announced her death on Facebook. She was in a Los Angeles area hospital, said Bernsen’s spokesman, Charles Sherman, who said the cause of death was not immediately available.

Ms. Cooper joined the daytime serial six months after its March 1973 debut, becoming its longest-tenured cast member. The role earned her 11 Daytime Emmy nominations and a trophy for best actress in a drama series in 2008.

“God knows it’s claimed a big part of my life,” she told the Associated Press in March as “The Young and the Restless” celebrated its milestone 40th anniversary.

As the years passed, Ms. Cooper brushed aside thoughts of saying goodbye to the show and its fictional Wisconsin town of Genoa City.

“What would I do?” she told the AP as she turned 83 in October. “I’m no good at crocheting. My fingers would bleed,”

On April 12, Bernsen tweeted that his mother faced an “uphill battle” for an undisclosed illness. In subsequent days, he wrote of her gradual improvement and said that she’d been taken off breathing equipment.

In a Facebook posting April 17, Bernsen said his mother cursed several times, “showing me that she’s becoming her old self, not thrilled about the situation, and ready to get out of the hospital and shake up the world.”

Wilma Jeanne Cooper was born Oct. 25, 1928, in Taft, Calif. She attended the College of the Pacific and performed in local theater productions before her professional career began with the 1953 film “The Redhead From Wyoming,” starring Maureen O’Hara. Other film credits include “The Boston Strangler” with Tony Curtis (1968) and “Tony Rome” with Frank Sinatra in 1967.

She had a parallel career in TV, with shows including “The Adventures of Kit Carson” in 1953 and “The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse” in 1954 and “Bracken’s World” in 1969-70.

In a recurring role on “L.A. Law,” Ms. Cooper played the mother of Bernsen’s character, Arnie, and received a 1987 Emmy nomination for best guest actress in a drama.

Bernsen later joined his mother on her series, making several appearances as a priest, Father Todd.

But it was her role on “The Young and the Restless” that made her a TV star intimately familiar to viewers.

In 1984, Ms. Cooper’s real-life facelift was televised on the show as her character underwent the surgery at the same time and had no regrets about it.

“It opened up reconstructive surgery for so many people, youngsters getting things done,” she said. “To this day, people will come up to me and say, ‘Thank you so much for doing that. My mom or I had something done, and not just cosmetic surgery.’ That was an incredible experience in my life.”

“The Young and the Restless” has topped the daytime serial ratings for more than 24 years, in part because of the continuity provided by Ms. Cooper and its other longtime stars, including Eric Braeden.

Ms. Cooper’s 30-year marriage to Harry Bernsen ended in divorce.

In addition to Corbin Bernsen, survivors include two other chilren, Caren Bernsen and Collin Bernsen; and eight grandchildren.

— Associated Press


  1. diana black says:

    You will truly be missed love seeing her in the older movies as well as Y&R

  2. Charlene says:

    RIP dear lady, I grew up watching you and watched you all of my adult life, you will be missed!

  3. Corbin I am so sorry about your mother. She was a great lady. I have watched her since Y&R started. She will be greatly missed. You are in my prayers. God Bless.

  4. natalie says:

    my heart is broken..i have watched Y & R since the beginning ..I can say that there will never be anyone with such grace and dignity as Jeanne Cooper..our Mrs. C..i can say that i love you and i will miss you more than i can say..sounds strange i know since i dont even know you..but it doesnt matter…in my heart i do know you..thats all that matters to me… R.I.P. Mrs. C <3

  5. Latonya Patterson says:

    God Bless your family. We all loved Mrs. C. May her soul rest in peace.

  6. SHEILA RAY says:

    my heart is breaking….i loved her too :(

  7. Susie says:

    Truly the “DUCHESS” of the soaps. She’ll be missed. R.I.P It won’t be the same @ 12:30 on channel 2 anymore

  8. Lorraine Schmidt says:

    Jeanne will be sorrowfully missed on Y & R. She can NEVER be replaced. I hope Y & R execs give her a proper send off on the show, that viewers will remember for years to come. Good-bye Jeanne <3 God Speed.

  9. TAMMY HAYNES says:


  10. Menyon Johnson says:

    34 years I’ve been on this earth, from the earlier years in my life someone always talked about Mrs. C. You really enlightened y&r with your grace. I loved the chemistry you and Victor had. You will be truly missed, we thought you would always be on y&r.There will be hard to replace you. We will never forget you. R.I.P MRS.COOPER. ♥♥♥♥

  11. Tammy says:

    Jeanne Cooper, I just want to say thank you. To her family, my condolences, and thank you for sharing your mother with us.

  12. Ken Kissinger says:

    RIP Katherine Chancellor! Mrs. C will be sadly missed by all Y&R fans!

  13. Elena Urda says:

    I am so sorry! She was truly a lovely woman, full of warmth and kindness and wisdom. She taught me loyalty through her character in Y&R. R.I.P. , genuine lady Jeanne Cooper!

  14. tabby says:

    I remember Y&R has been in our home since I have been a baby. I recall standing in my playpen my Mom would have it on. Now I’m 36 and my children watch the show as well. My heart is broken to know that Mrs C. will no longer be apart of the show. Sounds crazy but when you let someone in your home for so many years you get attached to them. I know I never got to meet her but she had words of wisdom.She was just a soft spoken lady with class. God broke the mold when he made Mrs C. My heart goes out to the family. Don’t look at this as goodbye but until. I see you again. Thank you for sharing a wonder loving lady with us. I know Y&R will say goodbye the classy way. Only the best for Mrs. Cooper.

  15. mj says:

    Sorry to hear of her passing. She will be missed. She certainly was a character. I think the reason she was such a good actress was because her true personality was injected to every role that she played. I loved her most when she played the mother to her actual son. The chemistry that bounced back and forth was amazing.

  16. Kathy Thomas says:

    I grew up with you, In the Movies and in the soaps.you will truely be missed. your the Queen of soaps and you can never be replace. Love you


  17. RITA JONES says:


  18. dee walker says:

    i will miss her, ive watched sence it started

  19. Becky Bennett says:

    She was one of the greatest actresses on that show! I have watched that show faithfully since it came on TV. I cannot imagine the show without her! She will be greatly missed! I feel like she is one of my friends even though I never met her! My heart and prayers go out to her family! God bless you all!!

  20. Sharon Lirot says:

    Soorry to here about your lose, R.I.P

  21. Avis Robinson says:

    I will truly missed you, Mrs. C. To the Family and Y&R, May memories ease your sorrow, May time bring you peace. And the, Comfort of the Lord, be with you.

  22. Ona says:

    From basically the day I was born I watched Jeanne Cooper on “The Young and The Restless” as my Mom was a big fan and I never quit watching. I always loved watching her. She will be GREATLY missed. She felt like a part of my life like family.
    God bless you and your family in these tough times of saying goodbye to you!!!

  23. Rose D. says:

    I have watched Y&R since it started 40 yrs ago. When you watch something for so long, every day it becomes a part of your life & family. I remember walking around the house talking on the phone to a friend about one of Katherine’s cat fights with Jill and my husband said to me QMG! is Katherine alright? and my kids asked who mommy? Who’s Katherine? I have so many fond memories of the show, I know that Y & R will never, ever be the same again without her. She was the Matriarch of Daytime TV. She was Elegant, Sophisticated, Brilliant and filled with Wisdom. A very hard act to follow…. I hope that the Bell Family has an appropriate ending to Katherine Chancellor’s story line. She should not be replaced after 39 1/2 years of being Mrs. C, no one could ever fill her shoes <3 R <3 I <3 P <3 Jeanne Cooper <3 Forever Loved & Missed <3

  24. Renee Evers says:

    I have followed Jeanne Cooper’s career for many years. . This woman has left a lot to her followers, she had a strong mind, she was intelligent, she was honest and her ethics showed through no matter what her dialogue said or her character did
    on her strong role in the Young and the Restless. . No one could change nor dilute this woman’s charisma and I followed her with all my heart throughout the years, admiringly. . . . I suspected that she might be sick but I never wanted her to leave her life, her family, her career and her loyal followers. . Here’s to you, dear lady, you left us but you gave us a spirit, strength and unfailing acting and commitment, that really no one can ever, ever take from us. . Brava!!! Angel., we salute you!! Renee Evers . .

  25. RIP Mrs. C
    U will be missed no one will every take your
    place or role
    love ya mwah
    Aletta Brazile
    Schenectady ny

  26. Linda says:

    Corbin and family you are all in our prayers, we all will miss watching your mother on Young & Restless she was an amazing woman. I have watched her for many years. she will be missed. would have loved to see her in person. God Bless you Jenne. You will be missed and you are loved by many. Rest in Peace.

  27. Ellen Elsner says:

    I grew up watching Mrs. C on the Young and the Restless.. May you RIP.. Sure going to miss you,for you were like my family also..

  28. Dora Spady says:

    My heart was sadden to hear that Mrs. C. had passed. I grow up watching her on The Young and the Restless. The show will never be the same without her and I hope that they just write her out instead of trying to replace her. No one can replace Mrs. C or play her part like she did; they did it before and I was not please with that person acting at all. My prayers go out to the family and may God bless each of them. RIP MRS. C.

  29. Nanette says:

    I prayed for her recovery when Corbin told us of her illness, continued to pray until May 8th, and then it was time to pray for her dear family. I loved Jeanne in her earlier movies and adored her in Young and Restless from her lst day on the soap. We all loved her and admired her so much. Young and Restless will never be the same, Our Catherine has gone home with the Lord, RIP, thanks for all the memories

  30. Yvonne Smith says:

    I was so very sadden when I heard Mrs. C. had passed.I have watched her from the beginning of her coming on the show.She was a great actor and a classy lady.I felt like I have lost a family member.Will always remember her and the values she stood by.

  31. Iam so sorry for the loss of Catherine the show will never be the same R.I.P you will allways be in my prayers.

  32. Ellen Wright says:

    She was an absolutely lovely lady with class and dignity. I can’t begin to tell you how much I will miss seeing her everyday at 11:00. Thank you, Ms. “C”, for all the wonderful memories!!! God bless her family.

  33. Tammy says:

    Rest in peace Dutchess….you will be sorely missed….thank you for all of the wonderful days of entertaining us and we will love you always….

  34. janet says:

    I have watched Y&R for 40 years and will not be the same without her. The show will suffer from this. I will miss you Mrs C. what a classy lady

  35. Ronnie Creasy says:

    My Thoughts & Prayers go out to the family of Jeanne Cooper. I’ve been a y&r fan for many years. my fondest memory was when I spoke to Jeanne on the telephone when she was in tampa florida. she was very soft spoken. we only spoke for a brief moment but I will always remember her voice and our conversation. R.I.P. JEANNE COOPER.

  36. sandy blevins says:

    R.I.P jeanne i will miss you on the show i never ever miss an episode prayers to both your familys i know the y and r staff will miss you as much as your real family!

  37. Cathy says:

    So sorry for your lost Corbin I watched Y&r since forever she’s an alsome actress n I miss seening her on the show I hope the young n restless gives her a wonderful farewell on the show she be sadly missed

  38. mary foor says:

    Why haven’t they posted in Memory of yet on the show? I loved her and will cry when they say their good byes to her on the show :( ……. R.I.P Jeannie <3 U

  39. Patty Blum says:

    Have watched Y & R since it started. Catherine was the finest example…feisty, fair and always fabulous.

    Jeanne was exactly who should have been playing Catherine….she had the same attributes. her book was absolutely fantastic! If you haven’t read it…do it now!

    RIP, dear Jeanne, you are loved by all.

  40. Linda says:

    I’m so sorry..I’ve been watching Y&R for as long as I can remember..she was the absolute best actress ever..I loved how she was the rock for a lot of people on the show..and to me that meant something..she stood with dignity and character..and was thought of highly..a lot of people would say “it’s just a soap”..but one thing I have to say about Y&R and Mrs C, they put everyday real life into the story line and Mrs C always said a prayer..she will be greatly missed and there will never be anyone to fill those shoes on Y&R..the family and her Y&R family are in my thoughts and prayers..

  41. wilhina says:

    I use to watch this show with MomI was a young girl.

  42. wilhemina says:

    I use 2 watch y & r with my Mom as a young girl. I will truly miss the Dutchess. RIP Jeanne Cooper. You will truly be loved & missed. My prayer for the Cooper family is that God will wrap u n the comfort of his arms. Let the good memories of Jeannie help to comfort u. Love & peace to u.

  43. RUTH says:


  44. Loved being entertained by Jeanne Cooper every day She was an amazing actress and Lady.I to watched her with my Mother Now my Daughter & Grand-daughter & I all watch together. She will truly be missed My condolences to her Children & Grandchildren,Family & Friends Always & Forever The Duchess of Y & R & so much more.

  45. Phyllis Lopez says:

    I am so sad to hear about Jeanne Cooper she was my favorite actress on the
    Y&R…. I could always count on her being the best character on that show…. She was the one and only Mrs. C.
    She will be missed. My sympathy to her Family, so sorry for your loss

  46. Kate Lewis says:

    Its not gonna be so easy watching The Young and the Restless with out the best actress on it. I loved Jeanne Cooper the most of all of the wonderful ladies in it. She was like a grandma to all the viewers who watched that show. I will miss her role as Katherine. May all the other ladies on The Young and Restless like Melody Thomas Scott, Etc. keep this show as funny , sad, serious and interesting as the late Jeanne Cooper may she rest in the arms of the Lord forever more and watch over us on earth while she is in Heaven. Hopefully they would put The Young and The Restless on DVD so her legacy will last a lifetime and not be lost. Love and Hugs to the Cooper Family and to her Extended Adopted Family past and present Actors and Actresses on one of the most popular soap operas on CBS The Young and the Restless. Thanks Jeannne for all of your fine acting on the show. Golly gee you will be deeply missed but, never forgotten. With lots of Love oxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Your friend/top fan of yours ,Kate Lewis
    P.s. I hope that someone will reply back to me especially her son John .

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