Wilma Jeanne Cooper, who portrayed Katherine Chancellor for almost 40 years on the CBS daytime drama “The Young and the Restless,” passed away May 8, 2013 at 9:50am. Cooper’s son Corbin Bernsen shared with fans through his Facebook page on May 22 that his mother’s official cause of death was “primarily advanced COPD.”
Wilma Jeanne Cooper was born in Taft, California, on October 25, 1928 and began her career in feature films under contract at Universal in the 1950s. After studies at the Pasadena Playhouse, Cooper made her stage debut in local musical productions.
On the small screen, in the late '50s and early '60s, Cooper made guest appearances on many of the top shows such as "Playhouse 90" (CBS, 1956-1961) and "The Twilight Zone" (CBS, 1959-1964). She got her first Emmy nomination for her acting in an episode of the medical drama "Ben Casey" (ABC, 1961-66) in 1962.
Cooper became adored by many soap-opera addicts for her long-running role as the wealthy, tough-as-nails but generally goodhearted grand dame Katherine Chancellor on "The Young and the Restless" (CBS, 1973- ).
For her work on "The Young and the Restless," Cooper received back-to-back Daytime Emmy nominations as Outstanding Leading Actress in a Drama Series in 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1992, finally winning a lifetime achievement award in 2004 and an Outstanding Lead Actress award in 2008.
According to We Love Soaps news, The Young and the Restless is honoring the memory of the late Jeanne Cooper by airing a special two-part memorial service for her beloved character, Katherine Chancellor, on Tuesday, Sept. 3 and Wednesday. Sept. 4. Cooper’s real-life son, actor Corbin Bernsen, returns to the show as Father Todd, who presides over the service.