Recently my world changed.
Jeanne Cooper, the actress who played Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless, recently died. Now I know that probably sounds ridiculous to many of you to hear that my personal life could change because an actor on TV passed away. But consider this – Jeanne Cooper played her iconic role for almost 40 years! And I’ve been watching for over 30. Every week day! It’s one of the longest relationships of my life other than the ones I have with family members. And unlike family members, Jeanne and Katherine never got angry with me or disappointed me or hurt me. Our relationship was special. And now it’s over.
For those of you who’ve never experienced the wonderful world of daytime drama you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. You don’t understand what a special relationship a longtime viewer can have with a soap opera actor. But imagine welcoming someone into your home every day at the same time year after year and you can start to understand. These actors transcend their characters and they become real. I am not a casual viewer of Y&R, I’m not even a longtime viewer of the show, I’m emotionally invested! Crazy, I know, but that’s what happens when you watch a show with your mother, your grandmother, your brother, your sister-in-law, and your extended family. The show and its characters become a point of conversation, a common ground, and I can’t tell you how many times we chatted about Katherine and the rest of the citizens of Genoa City, Wisconsin (Y&R’s locale) when we couldn’t find anything else to talk about. In many ways, it has bridged the generation gap and made my family feel more like a family than when we spoke about our own differences.
So I bid Jeanne Cooper and Katherine Chancellor a fond farewell! I will miss both ladies tremendously and I hope they both know how deeply they touched their audience and how deeply they will be missed.
And if you haven’t seen her final scene that aired earlier this month, check it out here. It’s very short and she shares the scene oh-so-appropriately with her longtime frenemy Jill. Keep in mind that the last line of the scene, when Katherine says good-night to Jill, was ad-libbed. Almost as if Jeanne knew that she was speaking her final words as Katherine.
Luckily, her fans will continue speaking about this legend for years to come.