Jeanne Cooper’s Character Will Be Killed Off ‘The Young & The Restless’

Katherine “Kay” Chancellor, the character Jeanne Cooper played for 40 years before her death last week, will be killed off of The Young and The Restless.

Cooper died on May 8 after being hospitalized on and off since April from an undisclosed illness. She was 84 years old. Her son, Corbin Bernsen (Henry Spencer on Psych) confirmed her death on Twitter, writing, “Mom passed this morning. She was in peace and without fear. U all have been incredible in your love. In her name share it 2 day with others.”

Cooper began playing Katherine, the “Dame of Genoa City,” in 1973. She originally signed a three-year contract, but she ended up staying on the series for four decades. Her character underwent a face-lift, using footage from Cooper’s real-life procedure.

Executive producer Jill Farren Phelps told TV Guide that episodes had already been taped for airing into the summer, but that Chancellor will eventually die.

“We’ve already written the show into July, so it will take some time before we can address her departure on air,” Phelps said. “In the meantime, there will be references in the script that Katherine and her husband Murphy are off somewhere on a trip.”

Phelps went on to say that fans, as well as the other characters on The Young and The Restless, would be given closure in regards to Katherine’s departure.

“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 (in 2011),” Phelps said. “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.”

CBS plans to honor Jeanne Cooper with a 60-minute tribute airing on the Tuesday, May 28 episode of The Young and The Restless. About 25 actors will gather at the Chancellor mansion to reminisce about Cooper as themselves. Chancellor’s death will be addressed at a later date.

How do you think The Young and The Restless should kill of Jeanne Cooper’s character?

[Photo credit: Helga Esteb /]