Popular Y & R soap star dies at age 84 - WNCN: News, Weather

Popular Y & R soap star dies at age 84

Posted: Updated:
LOS ANGELES, CA (WFLA) -

Jeanne Cooper, the enduring soap opera star who played grande dame Katherine Chancellor for nearly four decades on "The Young and the Restless," has died. She was 84.

Cooper died Wednesday morning in her sleep, her son the actor Corbin Bernsen wrote on Facebook. The family confirmed the death to CBS, according to a network spokeswoman.

Bernsen tweeted April 12 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."

On Wednesday he wrote that she remained a fighter until the end: "She has been a blaze her entire life, that beacon, that boxer I spoke of earlier. She went the full twelve rounds and by unanimous decision... won!"

Cooper joined the daytime serial six months after its March 1973 debut, staking claim to the title of 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 CBS' "Young and the Restless" celebrated its milestone 40th anniversary.

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

"What would I do? I'm no good at crocheting. My fingers would bleed," she told the AP as she turned 83.

Cooper, born in the California town of Taft in 1928, 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 1968's "The Boston Strangler" with Tony Curtis and 1967's "Tony Rome" with Frank Sinatra.

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," she played the mother to Bersen'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, Coooper'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 Cooper and its other long-time stars including Eric Braeden. It held its ground as the genre diminished in popularity and the majority of soaps vanished.

Cooper's 30-year marriage to Harry Bernsen ended in divorce. The couple have three children, Corbin, Caren and Collin, and eight grandchildren.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:55 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:55:30 GMT
    Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 4:01 AM EDT2014-04-22 08:01:42 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • Tampa homeowner says Duke Energy is a bully for taking her oak tree

    Tampa homeowner says Duke Energy is a bully for taking her oak tree

    Monday, April 21 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-04-21 21:34:15 GMT
    Neda Dandache and her family love their backyard oasis, even though a gigantic Duke Energy transmission tower abuts their backyard. Oak trees block that view, for now, and give them shade.The trees have never been an issue, but now, Duke wants them gone. Dandache says Duke's forester told her they may cause a problem - seven years from now."
    Neda Dandache and her family love their backyard oasis, even though a gigantic Duke Energy transmission tower abuts their backyard. Oak trees block that view, for now, and give them shade.The trees have never been an issue, but now, Duke wants them gone. Dandache says Duke's forester told her they may cause a problem - seven years from now."
  • NewsMore>>

  • More powerful sonar likely next step in jet search

    More powerful sonar likely next step in jet search

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:14 AM EDT2014-04-23 09:14:33 GMT
    Australia's prime minister said Wednesday that failure to find any clue in the most likely crash site of the lost Malaysia Airlines jet would not spell the end of the search, as officials planned soon to bring...
    Australia's prime minister said Wednesday that failure to find any clue in the most likely crash site of the lost Malaysia Airlines jet would not spell the end of the search, as officials planned soon to bring in more...
  • TRAFFIC: Fatal crash on NB I-275 near Sligh Avenue

    TRAFFIC: Fatal crash on NB I-275 near Sligh Avenue

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:21 AM EDT2014-04-23 08:21:29 GMT
    The crash scene on NB I-275The crash scene on NB I-275
    Northbound Interstate 275 is shut down at East Sligh Avenue in Tampa Wednesday morning after a single car crash with a fatality, according to traffic officials.
    Northbound Interstate 275 is shut down at East Sligh Avenue in Tampa Wednesday morning after a single car crash with a fatality, according to traffic officials.
  • Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye'

    Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye'

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:54 AM EDT2014-04-23 07:54:07 GMT
    A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.
    A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 4:01 AM EDT2014-04-22 08:01:42 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Hope the dog: Burns are 90% healed

    Hope the dog: Burns are 90% healed

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:07:14 GMT
    Hope's burns are 90% healed. Hardee County Animal Rescue Facebook page photoHope's burns are 90% healed. Hardee County Animal Rescue Facebook page photo
    We have some good news to report about Hope, the little 1-year-old dog that won over the hearts of many after she was doused with kerosene and lit on fire.
    We have some good news to report about Hope, the little 1-year-old dog that won over the hearts of many after she was doused with kerosene and lit on fire.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.