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THE JEANNE COOPER INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

Jeann CooperBy Michael Fairman

Listen to the audio:

[display_podcast]TV SOAP:

Where were you when the 5.4 Southern California earthquake hit?

JEANNE:

I was sitting in the courthouse on the witness stand in Santa Monica. Seriously, it’s a long story. It was absolutely amazing! The court clerk dove underneath the desk, the two councils and the plaintiff got under their desk, and the judge got under his desk, and I am sitting there, and I go, “It’s just an earthquake, you guys!” Well, the court recorder started laughing and said, “Are you still testifying?” I said, “No. I am just looking at the great leveler… fear!” I looked at the ceiling to make sure nothing was coming down. After the shaking, everyone was crawling out from underneath the tables, and the judge was walking back up to his chair and said, “I think we will recess for about an hour and half.” It’s amazing how frightened people can be during earthquakes, especially when you see damages, when we see the quakes around the world, and when 1,000 get killed. That’s an earthquake!


TV SOAP:

I want to go back to the night of the Emmys. You’re sitting in the audience. Your name is called, and then what happened?

JEANNE:

The name I heard barely, but I was thinking, “That is the way my name sounds?” I am not kidding. First of all, I was not going to go to the Emmys. I’ve gone, gone, gone. It’s always a 110 degrees heat, and I have gone many times. Like Meryl Streep, you just sit there and somebody else’s name is called and you go, “OK, they won.” So, I did not bother to look for anything to wear, and then Gino Colombo, my dear friend, told me about this gown and was insistent I go look at it. So I did, and it was pretty and cool and different. I tried it on, and looked at it and went, “OK, I will go.”


TV SOAP:

So, when your name is called you hear, kind of, “Jeanne Cooper”…..?

JEANNE:

My knees were so weak. I could not move, and my son, Colin who sat in front of me, and my son, Corbin Bernsen who sat in back of me, were all excited to be there with me. All of a sudden there is a seat filler in Colin’s seat and I was going to say to him, “Help me!” I turned to look for Colin, but I saw Doug Davidson (Paul) and I flew to him, and hugged and kissed him, and I was looking at Crystal Chappell (Olivia, “GL”) and she was rooting for me all the way. It was so sweet and kind. There was Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Peter Bergman (Jack) at the table screaming and happy, and everyone was on their feet. Gina Tognoni (Dinah, “GL”) who had just won Supporting Actress was sitting at the table directly across from us. I said, “Help me up the bloody stairs!” And she said, “Yes, m’am!”

TV SOAP:

To set the record straight, this was your 10th nomination.

JEANNE:

I was nominated ten times in daytime, and two times in primetime.

TV SOAP:

This year, all the soap experts felt that you had your best two back-to-back episodes you have ever had in competition. Did you feel that way?

JEANNE:

Absolutely! Everyone who saw it said the same thing. After awhile everything seems to run together. But, basically these showed two elements of Katherine, and several people who voted said, “They were the best they had seen!”


TV SOAP:

Then I remembered in the pressroom, you acknowledging that you did this for “everybody who wanted this for me,” which I thought was so touching and so moving. Is that how you still feel about it at this point?

JEANNE:

Absolutely! Everybody who wanted it for me, and the press always wanted it for me for such a long time. So, the gratification was disbelief, and one thing that was totally amazing was Susan Lucci (Erica, “AMC”) was there…. and she had the greatest smile on her face. I said to her, “I am the only one who knows exactly how you felt!”

TV SOAP:

I kept thinking to myself the same thing… does anyone realize or know that you had been nominated this many times? With Susan, there were 19 times, but I said to my constituents she has been up ten times. They said, “No!”

JEANNE:

Most people thought I had won 5 or 6 times, like Tony Geary (Luke, “GH”)…. and Tony Geary who is a good friend of mine, said in the winners circle in the press room, “OK. Let’s show ‘em what the vets are like, baby!” He was so cute and I adore him! Everybody was so pleased for me. That’s what was touching. So many people had wanted this for me for so long, and frankly, I just did not really think I would get it. I will say that I was the coolest one in the heat at the Emmys though, in my dress.

TV SOAP:

In the pressroom, what did your son, Corbin, say to you upon your winning the Outstanding Lead Actress award?

JEANNE:

Corbin had tears in his eyes. He said, “I lived to see it,” and I said, “You lived to see it? I lived to see it!” Corbin flew in for the ceremonies, and that was a complete surprise. There was a pat on my shoulder, and I turned around and I said, “Hi. Corbin!” His brother was going to be my escort that night, and he said, “I am going to fly in and be her other escort!”

TV SOAP:

Where is the Emmy?

JEANNE:

I went and put it next to my Lifetime Achievement award, and now I felt I had come full circle. I got so many flowers, candy and gifts throughout the house, and coming from as far as Canada and England. The response was marvelous. The gift giving was a bit awkward, but people wanted to personalize something. I think everyone reacted, like, “Jesus! She finally made it!” Career wise, it probably was one of the most rewarding evenings, because it wasn’t just going there and planning it.

TV SOAP:

How was the annual Lead Actress nominee luncheon? Did you have a good time?

JEANNE:

It was fun. Michelle Stafford always makes those things fun, which means she is always nominated. (She laughs) It’s the third luncheon we have gone together, and Maura West (Carly, “ATWT”) and Nicole Forrester (Cassie, “GL”) were so delightful, too. I actually thought the Emmy might go to Nicole.

TV SOAP:

Did you like the roundtable Emmy table seating, as a throwback to the telecasts of year’s past?

JEANNE:

I loved the surrounding of the tables, and I have said forever, “Can’t we have a humongous luncheon at the Waldorf like it used to be?” It was glamorous and fun and it said, “This is a daytime event,” and at nighttime you are dressed to the hilt and hot in the jungles! It just has no chic to it, as far as I am concerned!


TV SOAP:

With “Y&R”, what do you think we can expect to see from Katherine in the coming months? And, do you have new writers on board now?

JEANNE:

Oh-ho…restoring the tapestry of the show! Katherine has big storyline coming up in two weeks that will carry on ‘till the end of the year… easily… Thank God! It is front-burner stuff! It will deal with Jill and Katherine, and many offshoots of that relationship.

TV SOAP:

In the past, you have been vocal in your opinion, and unhappy that Jill was made your daughter, and were hoping for a reversal. Will that be addressed?

JEANNE:

That will be approached. There is another character coming back that everybody loves and has been missed for a long time, so I am looking forward to that.

TV SOAP:

Will you get a romance?

JEANNE:

No, but I probably will at some point. But the thing of it is, it’s a character coming back that I love and the audience loved, and was dispensed with! In fact, the man that participated in that storyline called me from New York (an actor, who participated in that storyline). You know who I am talking about? Isn’t that exciting?

TV SOAP:

So, that will happen in a couple months?

JEANNE:

I think so, because Katherine needs a real friend.

TV SOAP:

Is Katherine still writing her autobiography, or was that dropped for good?

JEANNE:

They are so busy with “Restless Style” that I don’t know what happened to Katherine’s book. What do you think has been wrong with the numbers on the show for a while? The audience knows about work-place stuff. But we are also changing gears now, so things will be back on the upswing.

TV SOAP:

Have you seen a difference in the scripts with Hogan Sheffer and the new team at the helm?

JEANNE:

This last week, absolutely! The tapestry of what “Y&R” used to be is there, but hands are tied and false egos are involved. You are pulling for artistic achievement, but you have to protect the numbers and that’s what corporate does. We almost have a full page of writers now who are dealing with a few issues. I think, through the corporate side and the production side, they will make sure everything is right on board and we will be full steam ahead.

TV SOAP:

What would you still love to see happen to Katherine, that you have never gotten the opportunity to play?

JEANNE:

I always wanted Katherine to go into politics… sort of like the Anne Richards of Texas, who was the Governor of Texas and who was very blatant. She was so fantastic! She was one of the most dynamic and forward in her thinking. I think politically, Katherine would be great, but that became a Jack Abbott story on our show.

TV SOAP:

Was the sudden departure of Raya Meddine (Sabrina) a bit of a shock to the cast, or to you, as it had been made out to be by Internet rumors and reports? Do you think it’s just to get Victor and Nikki back together?

JEANNE:

I think Victor and Nikki days are over, because there are a lot of people who are star-crossed lovers, and as they become older, the general reaction is “They will never be parted.” You will always want Victor and Nikki back together, and they probably will from time to time, but you cannot at this point have Victor going off and impregnating another woman. The audience at home, at some point, will not like what happens. The wives will turn to their husbands and say, “Can’t you ever settle down?” And that’s who Victor is, unless you make him settle down. I don’t know if Eric Braeden (Victor) is willing to give up that part of the character at this point. He always wants that challenge, which is part of life and he does it very, very, well. And so does Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki). They are superb and accepting of these types of situations.

TV SOAP:

If you were to say a few words to describe working with Melody Thomas Scott, what would they be? In storyline, Nikki and Katherine are best friends. Is Nikki about to go off the deep end?

JEANNE:

Melody is delicious, and extremely talented. We have things coming up in tapings tomorrow that you have not seen this girl do in years. It’s called: “Study All Night Long” because it will blow you right through the roof. I wish I could tell you what she is doing, but I can’t. I have her on the telephone line, and I have Nicholas on the phone, and it’s boom, boom, boom, with all directions towards Nikki! It just reeks of the Bill Bell (creator and former head writer of “Y&R”) and it’s written by Janice Ferrari, who of course, was one of the prime writers for the show back in his heyday.

TV SOAP:

What about a few words to describe Dan Goddard (Cane), your on-screen grandson?

JEANNE:

He is such an “Aussie”. He is a pure delight, and absolute candy. He is kind and a deadly serious actor, and wanting to know more. He is very curious about everything, and it’s always a pleasure to do scenes with him. To do scenes, where he is all prepared and you attack it in a different vein, and he looks at you, and his talent really comes out because he rises to the occasion, which is great!


Jess WaltonTV SOAP:

And finally, a few words about Jess Walton (Jill)? “She is _ _ _”

JEANNE:

Delightful… neurotic… talented and neurotic… and talented and fun… and neurotic and talented! And, she has two new dogs!

TV SOAP:

And my last question is, when you won the Emmy what did Jess say to you?

JEANNE:

Jess said before I left, “Tonight is going to be your night, and I am not going to be there!” So, if Jess had come, I wouldn’t have won! (She laughs)

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Now below, check out the interview with Kimberlin and Tanner.   For more celebrity interviews make sure to subscribe and check out the Michael Fairman Channel here.

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Below check out the interview with Eileen, Peter, Charles, Zach and Rob and make sure to subscribe to the Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity conversations.

Now, share your favorite moments from Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem, and this video interview, via the comment section here.

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