After the devastating loss of Emmy award winning daytime television actress Jeanne Cooper, many fans of The Young and the Restless are wondering how the show plans honor the actress who brought life to the character of Katherine Chancellor for nearly 40 years. Cooper passed away on May 8th at the age of 84.
CBS is already planning to pay special tribute to Cooper with a 60-minute episode of The Young and the Restless (airing on Tuesday, May 28th) featuring the 25 or so characters that were closest to her on the show. In a recent interview with The Young and the Restless executive producer Jill Farren Phelps, Cooper’s importance to the show and plans for her farewell were discussed further. “There was never anyone like Jeanne Cooper.” said Phelps. “She is the heart of this show and it's just devastating. There are a lot of tears, still. Jeanne was a loud and wonderful voice in these halls, and for that voice to be silenced — on the show and in life — is shocking. So hard to believe.”
The 60-minute CBS tribute will bring together 25 of the actors who are closest to Jeanne to sit in the Chancellor mansion and reminisce about her life and her influence over them, says Phelps. “We'll serve tea and let everyone talk and cry and laughs and share and we'll find the best photos and clips we can get our hands on and edit it all together into a beautiful celebration episode. This is all for Jeanne.”
As for the fate of Cooper’s character, Katherine Chancellor, Phelps said that her storyline will be dealt with at a later date. “We will deal with the death of Kay Chancellor. We've already written the show into July, so it will take some time before we can address her departure on air. In the meantime, there will be references in the script that Katherine and her husband Murphy are off somewhere on a trip.”
Phelps said that everyone on the show felt that it was important to give closure to Cooper’s character, and to send her off in the best possible way. “We decided, for the sake of the audience and the characters, that it was important to have closure with Kay. And, contrary to rumors, we never gave a thought to recasting the role — not for a minute! Y&R was forced to do it when Jeanne was out ill for a bit a couple of years ago, when she was replaced by Michael Learned. But that was a temporary situation. You cannot replace the irreplaceable. The greatest way to honor Jeanne is to make Kay's exit as dramatic and meaningful as possible.”