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Michael Fairman: "In Honor Of Jeanne Cooper"

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I have had a very unique vantage point from many other people who have had the opportunity to cross paths with the legendary Jeanne Cooper.  At some points in my relationship with Jeanne, I was to be the journalist, always questioning her, awaiting her forthright, humorous, and take-no-prisoners answers to anything I threw at her.  And then at other points, I had the honor of being her dear friend.

I always knew the days I would come to the Y&R set and sit in her dressing room with her was going to be a good day.  Jeanne would always greet me with a smile and a joke, and when I would tell her, “I love you” at the end of our interviews or visits, she would say back. “And I love you, too.”  I knew she meant it.  I felt her love and friendship for many years … always!  She always had my back.  She never judged me.  Both Jeanne and I had many ups and downs in our lives, and when we would get the chance to talk, we shared them with each other.  But as I am trying to wrap my head around the devastating loss for Jeanne’s family, her Y&R family, her scene partners, her fans and her friends worldwide, I feel so fortunate to have learned so much about her, and how she feels about so many people whose lives were enriched by knowing her, too.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I know that she had a very soft spot in her heart for the boys on the show. (Well, they were men, actually!) In particular:  Doug Davidson, Greg Rikaart, and Christian LeBlanc … Oh, how she enjoyed each of you, and loved you.  She told me that so many countless times.  I knew she respected, enjoyed, and protected Katherine’s relationship with Jill, and her enduring relationship with Jess Walton.  And, I knew how much Jeanne’s children and her grandchildren meant to her, as they were often the topic of conversation. And, I knew when the chips were down that I could count on Jeanne.

In 1999, I hosted on-camera The Young and the Restless 25th anniversary party for Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment’s Soap City.com.  We were streaming live from the CBS soundstage 41.  Against the party atmosphere and the large Y&R logo backdrop, and the 25th anniversary Olympic sized medals I placed around each of the performer’s neck in honor of the milestone, I was told earlier that day that my contract was not being renewed after four years.  So that evening, I was addressing the online viewing public and the cast, while hosting this soiree’, only I had to figure a way to sign off as “Soap City Michael”.  I waited till Jeanne Cooper was with me.   I knew if Jeanne was holding my hand and next to me, I could get through it and just blurt it out that I am signing off.  A stunned and upset Jeanne called over Peter Bergman, Michelle Stafford, and Christian LeBlanc, none of whom knew what on earth was going on!  But with these people surrounding me, thanks to Jeanne, I got through it.

Photo Credit: MF SOAPS Inc

To say that she lived a fascinating life is an understatement.  Everyone got to learn more about it when Jeanne released her memoir, Not Young, Still Restless last year.  My final interview with Jeanne was this somewhat technically odd Skyped split-screen interview, with her while she was in New York on her press junket with Harper-Collins for her book, and me at home in Los Angeles.   I have to thank Harper-Collins for letting me do this chat with Jeanne and making it happen, so I will have it with me forever.  But through the magic of the Internet, and even with the look of it, and even with audio problems, I swear, it was the defining interview of my time with Jeanne.  It was there that Jeanne and I shared laughs, tears, and even talked about our friendship more publicly for the first time. (You can view our final interview together below.)

The world will never be the same without our Mrs. C.  … an amazing actress, a kind soul, a loyal friend, and a true legend deserving of that title many times over!  I hope Jeanne has some hilarious stories to share with me, when we conduct our first interview in heaven together.  Till then, I will hold you in my heart, Jeanne.

 

 

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Mo
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Mo

That is really lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Mona
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Mona

thank you for sharing this is absolutely beautiful!!

Michael
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Michael

Michael, thank you for sharing your deeply moving thoughts and memories of Jeanne. They were so beautiful.

RANDY
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RANDY

awe micheal beautifull words for a beautifull friend …

Derrick
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Derrick

Wonderful Michael!

Brenda
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Brenda

Thank you for that I always knew she was a very special woman she had so many loyal friends wow I believe i her heart hung on her sleve

heidi
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heidi

Thank you Michael!!! You are truly a good guy and we are so lucky to have you and your phenomenal site in our lives!!! That was a great interview… I remember it from when you originally posted it on the site but it was so touching to see it again after just losing Jeanne. What a lovely tribute! I am sorry for your loss of a dear friend. I love that you are friends with so many of our faves and that you are truly the biggest fan of the genre and of all the talented people that bring us… Read more »

Kim
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Kim

That was beautifully written Michael as you gave us a glimpse into your friendship with Jeanne. She wasn’t someone you interviewed but someone you could call friend and I know you will hold that with you forever. Jeanne will be sorely missed and Y&R will not be the same without her.

Cindy C
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Cindy C

Thank you,so wonderful to see you two together.

Carrie
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Carrie

This is probably a story that you never wanted to write, but thank you for sharing your story with us.

Blake
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Blake

That is beautiful Michael, thanks for sharing that story and the last interview with us! So sorry you lost a dear friend, but it’s not forever!

Tina F
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Tina F

Michael this is so wonderful of a story thank you for sharing I cannot even imagine the pain this caused you by writing It Thank you again for shring

Chad E
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Chad E

Thank you so much for sharing that fantastic interview, Michael! It was such a delight to watch. I have been reeling all week from Jeanne’s death. I just can’t believe she is gone. I’ve grown up watching Mrs. Chancellor, and to me she always was the soul of Y&R. What an amazing life she led, and what a stellar example she was of how to live on this earth and how to treat others. Truly one of a kind. I know you must be grieving the loss of your friend. I wish you peace and healing. Thanks again for sharing… Read more »

Doe
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Doe

Michael, how extrodinary. The love between you and Jeanne that goes back years, is so endearing. The friendship that you had with her is to be treasured in your heart. I know this was mutual and I loved the playfulness that went back and forth. You are fortunate,Michael. But so was she. Loved your dedication in honor of Jeanne, You are great!…..

Dennie
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Dennie

Michael, this was awesome. Such a grand friendship with a grand lady, Thank you for sharing the interview, she was truly a “Duchess”. She will be greatly missed.

Tracey
Guest
Tracey

Thank you so much for sharing your interview with Jeanne. I absolutely loved it. Watching the interview was very comforting for me because it is how I want to remember Ms. Cooper. As much as I am sad Jeanne is no longer with us, I am glad she is no longer suffering. I am thankful I just happened to meet her in a Las Vegas casino some 20 years ago. I hope you will keep this interview posted forever. God bless you Michael and sorry for your loss too.

alesha o l
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alesha o l

As if I haven’t cried enough;) God Bless you & your colleagues for being willing to share @ this time when you are mourning.. Mrs C, Jeanne is one that I hope greets me w my grandparents @ Heaven’s gateway!!b

Noelle
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Noelle

Thank you for airing this; it was fabulous !

Corina Lira
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Corina Lira

Thank you so much for this.. I have been born and raised in 1973 and watched Y&R to this day.. She will be missed so bad but never forgotten.. Thank you again for sharing the good times

mary
Guest
mary

I have seen other interviews with Jeanne Cooper but this one is extraordinary. There is love in this interview between you, Michael, and Jeanne. Your pace of questions, your patience in waiting for Jeanne’s responses and Jeanne’s candor and conscientiousness as she lovingly responds. It so apparently reveals the love you have for each another as well your commitments to both your profession and audience. Feeling blessed to witness and receive such an exquisite example of love and dedication <3

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AW and OLTL Alum, Robyn Griggs Dead at 49

In more heartbreaking soap news this weekend, Robyn Griggs had lost her battle with cancer.  The actress, best-known to daytime viewers as Stephanie on One Life to Live and Maggie on Another World, passed away at age 49.

The news came on Saturday via Griggs’ official Facebook posted, where in a statement it noted: “Hi everyone, With a heavy heart, I am saddened to announce Robyn’s passing. However, she is no longer suffering and would want us to remember that and the good memories. I will never forget how open she was to telling her story, and accepting of me helping her tell it. She wanted to help people and spread the word of her story to do it. I was honored to do so. RIP my friend, I love you and smile when I think of you.”

Photo: RGriggsFacebook

From 1991-1992, Griggs found her first soap success playing the part of One Life’s Stephanie Hobart.  Later, in 1993-1995, she played AW’s Maggie Cory.  Robyn was also a singer and signed a recording deal with RCA Records.

Robyn had been battling stage 4 Endocervical Adeno cancer.  Back on July 7th, Griggs had taken a turn for the worse, sharing on Facebook, “Unfortunately, I have 4 new tumors …2 new tumors on my liver, one on the abdominal muscle, and a large one on the right side lymph node.” On August 11th, her father shared Robyn was put into hospice care.

Share your remembrances and condolences for Robyn Griggs Riley and her loved ones in the comment section below.

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Breaking News

Anne Heche, ‘Another World’ Alum and TV and Film Star, Dead at 53

Following a catastrophic brain injury from crashing her car into a home last week and suffering severe burns, actress Anne Heche has been declared brain-dead at the age of 53.

In a statement from a rep for Heche’s friends and family, they expressed: “Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend.  Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact.”

Heche is legally dead according to California law, although her heart is still beating she has not been taken off life support in order to allow for organ donations to take place and to find the right recipients.

 

Photo: AHInstagram

Anne’s eldest son, Homer 20, said in a statement to PEOPLE on his mom’s passing:  “My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom. After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace Mom, I love you.”

The talented actress is best-known to soap opera fans for her Daytime Emmy-winning dual roles as twins, Vicky and Marley Hudson on Another World.  She had two sons, Homer with her ex Coley Laffoon and Atlas, 13, with actor James Tupper.

Throughout her career Heche appeared on TV shows and films includingL Men in Trees, If These Walls Could TalkDonnie BrascoI Know What You Did Last SummerSix Days, Seven Nights, and Gus Van Zant’s 1998 remake of Psycho. Back in 2020, Anne became a celebrity contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

Heche’s stormy relationship with Ellen DeGeneres made headlines throughout her career, and today, DeGeneres shared: “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”

Michael Fairman chatted with Anne back in 2020, in a memorable conversation for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel touching upon her career start on Another World, being a champion for the LGBTQ community, her relationship with DeGeneres, the ups and down in her career, and her demons and childhood past.

You can watch the conversation below.

Now, share your thoughts, condolences, and remembrances for Anne Heche via the comment section.

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Breaking News

Anne Heche ‘Not Expected to Survive’; Suffered Severe Brain Injury From Fiery Crash

In just heartbreaking news, Daytime Emmy-winner, Anne Heche (Ex-Vicky/Marley, Another World), is not expected to survive after days in the hospital following being severely burned in a fiery car crash when her vehicle struck a home in Mar Vista, California last Friday.

According to family and friends of the motion picture and television star in a statement, “Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition. She is not expected to survive. It has long been her choice to donate her organs and she is being kept on life support to determine if any are viable.”  Deadline notes, the actress will be taken off life-support.

The statement went on to say, “We want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers for Anne’s recovery and thank the dedicated staff and wonderful nurses that cared for Anne at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital.  More than her extraordinary talent, she saw spreading kindness and joy as her life’s work — especially moving the needle for acceptance of who you love. She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and dearly missed for her light.”

There are plans for Heche to get an Honor Walk, which is a hero’s goodbye donor patients receive by hospital staff as they are wheeled into the operating room in their final journey.

Heche will be featured on Lifetime’s Girl in Room 13, set to premiere this fall in September. Lifetime’s Executive VP  and head of programming, Amy Winter, revealed earlier this week at the TCA press tour, “As many of you know, Anne remains in critical condition and all of us here at Lifetime are deeply concerned for her and everyone affected. This project is important to Anne, along with each and every one of us. We all sought to make a film that would bring attention to this appalling issue of human sex trafficking.”

In addition, TMZ had reported that following toxicology reports, Cocaine was found in Heche’s system following the crash. They also found fentanyl. However,  sources say fentanyl can often be used as a pain medication in hospitals, so there is no confirmation that it was in Anne’s system at the time of the crash.

Anne was an amazing actress with such a tortured life.  We send thoughts and prayers to all her loved ones during this difficult time.  Share your thoughts on the latest update on Anne in the comment section below.

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GH’s Nicholas Alexander Chavez (Spencer) talks with Michael Fairman immediately following his Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Younger Performer in Drama Series. Leave A Comment
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