Cooper Played Grande Dame Katherine Chancellor For Nearly Four Decades

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)-– Soap opera star Jeanne Cooper has died. She was 84.

For nearly 40 years, Cooper was a mainstay on the CBS soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” She joined the cast six months after the program went on the air in 1973, as grand dame and family matriarch Katherine Chancellor, CBS 2’s Dana Tyler reported Wednesday.

Cooper’s role on “The Young and the Restless” earned her repeated Daytime Emmy Award nominations and a trophy for best actress in a drama series in 2008.

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Cooper said the show was successful because soap viewers could relate to the storylines.

“Love, marriage, hate, divorce – simple,” she said.

Cooper’s role as Mrs. Chancellor set her apart from other soap stars. Her character endured several bouts of alcoholism, outlived four husbands, and had countless on-screen fights – many with Jill, played by actress Jess Walton.

“‘If you weren’t a drunk, I’d offer you a toast,’ and that started the battle with Jill and Katherine,” Cooper said.

And in the 1980s, Cooper underwent a real-life facelift that was written into her character. She said it was “definitely” well worth it.

Cooper’s son, former “L.A. Law” star Corbin Bernsen, broke the news of his mother’s passing on Twitter.

“Mom passed this morning. She was in peace and without fear. U all have been incredible in your love. In her name share it 2 day with others,” he tweeted.

Eric Braeden, who plays Victor Newman on “The Young and the Restless,” worked with Cooper for more than 30 years.

Upon learning of her death, he tweeted: “I am deeply saddened by Jeanne’s passing! She had struggled enormously to the very end! She loved her fans, & we all loved working with her!”

Cooper looked back fondly on her career recently.

“In 40 years, I spent half of my life with ‘The Young and The Restless,’ but I know a lot of people who have spent their lifetimes right along with me,” she said. “That makes me very proud, very proud.”

Cooper’s acting career began in the 1950s. She appeared in films with Maureen O’Hara, Glenn Ford, Tony Curtis, and Henry Fonda.

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