HOLLYWOOD — Jeanne Cooper, best known for her role as Katherine Chancellor on “The Young and The Restless,” left us May 8, at the age of 84. I met her on her second day on the set of “Y&R.” I was at her house so much I got to know her children, Corbin, Collin and Caren, very well. I took the first photos of Corbin and Collin Bernsen when they started their acting careers, which took Corbin to “L.A. Law,” among other places, and Collin into films. Once, when a situation arose with me that required a large sum of money to fix, Jeanne and “General Hospital’s” Emily McLaughlin lent me the money to remedy it. They were true friends.
Before “The Young and The Restless,” Jeanne starred in episodic television and films. She played opposite Frank Sinatra in “Tony Rome” (1967), Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda in “The Boston Strangler” (l968) and Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda in “There Was a Crooked Man” (l970). Her two prime-time Emmy nominations were for “Ben Casey” (1962) and her recurring role on “L.A. Law” (1987), opposite her son Corbin. After eight nominations, she finally won an Emmy in 2008 for “Y&R”.
On May 28, “Y&R” paid tribute to her with a show of highlights spanning nearly four decades. Jeanne, a quiet drinker, allowed Bill Bell, the power behind “Y&R,” to write her addiction into the show, as she and Katherine fought for their sobriety. She wanted to have a facelift for some time, so I suggested she approach Bill Bell about having the facelift on the show. “But to make it work,” I told her, “You REALLY have to have the facelift on the air.” She agreed, and he agreed. The ratings went through the roof, and the show made TV history.
Jeanne was the first to show up at my book signing for “It’s All About Dorothy.” She bought five books. I would’ve given them to her, but she said, “I wanted to support you and give them away at charity auctions, so others can enjoy it.”
The last time I saw her was at her recent book signing for “Not Young, Still Restless,” her funny and revealing memoir.
I remember once we were going to Chippendales, in a limo, for a soap night with some of “The Ladies of the Day(time),” a group we created so soap ladies could meet each other over lunch. On the ride there she asked me to marry her. I quipped, “I can’t think of a better way to ruin a beautiful friendship!” We remained the best of friends to the end. We will not see her like again!
© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.