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Y&R's Jeanne Cooper On Why She Won't Play Katherine With Alzheimer's!

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Daytime legend Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor) of  The Young and the Restless was MIA for awhile, and fans grew even more concerned when Katherine did not show up to her BFF’s Nikki Newman’s 9Melody Thomas Scott) wedding to Victor on Monday’s episode of the number one soap!

However according to TV Guide Magazine’s Michael Logan in a new interview with Jeanne, the 84-year-old Daytime Emmy winner was sidelined with the flu which caused her to miss work for awhile, but all is now fine!

Jeanne chatted with TVG about Y&R’s 40th, the gaggle of new hotties in Genoa City, and the mysterious condition that seems to have Katherine forgetting things, which Jeanne clearly in the interview points out … is  not Alzheimer’s Disease, nor would she ever play it.   Here is an excerpt below!

Jeanne on how she was not happy with the strange onset of symptoms Katherine experienced, and that if it did turn out that they gave Mrs. C. Alzheimer’s she would quit the show:  “The writers want you to think it’s Alzheimer’s and it’s driving the audience crazy.  It’ll turn out to be a benign something or other. But if it was Alzheimer’s, I wouldn’t have played it … Nobody wants to see that. Y&R is an hour of escape and relief for people. That’s what’s kept it on the air 40 years! The audience wants Katherine vibrant. They want to see her kicking ass. I’ve worked hard for that. There was a barrage of concern as soon as Katherine started forgetting things and misplacing things. Then I got one script where she was supposed to be seen reading a pamphlet about Alzheimer’s. (Head writer) Josh Griffith came rushing into my dressing room all breathless, saying, “Don’t worry, it’s not what you think! It only looks like Katherine has Alzheimer’s.” I said, “I’m not worried. You don’t think I’d do an Alzheimer’s story, do you? You’d have to get somebody else.”

What do you think is wrong with Mrs Chancellor?  Do you agree with Jeanne’s thoughts on the fans not wanting to see Katherine deal with the struggles of Alzheimer’s? Weigh-in!

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Read the whole interview and see what she says about the new actors coming on I love this woman. JFP won’t push her around like she did Anna Lee/Lila. Go Jeanne!

I hope everyone knows I was talking about Lila Q. on GH.

I am very well aware of the firing of Anna Lee. That was a very mean spirited thing to do to such a gracious lady as Anna Lee. FYI-That producer is also supposedly responsible for the firing of Laura Koffman (Cassie of OLTL) when she was on maternity leave.

I am so tired of the MS story and hope they stop all the depressing sickness stuff. The soaps are supposed to be about love romance and sex and mystery

I hope they don’t I don’t like the MS story with Nikki. I love Mrs C. I don’t want to see her suffer. I wish the show could write like Dallas and Revenge. Those keep me so on the edge of my chair full of really naughty stuff. No more sickness on the show ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

MS is very real & people spend too much time assuming it’s a death sentence! Love how Victor is supporting Nikki & not allowing it to interfere in their relationship. Hoping JFP & crew write it accurately.

Happy Jeanne Cooper nixed the Alzheimer’s s/l

Good for her! Way to go Mrs JC! But I don’t want to see any tumor story or any stuff like that! We want to be excited about the soaps . love in the afternoon not down and depressing. ENOUGH of the MS with Nikki now this really!

I am glad she is staying her ground because there are certain characters you don’t mess with, and Katherine Chancellor is one of them– as a viewer I want to see Katherine kick ass until her dying breathe. As a viewer I wouldn’t want to watch Katherine go like that. I am not against an Alzheimer storyline on a soap, if done properly with the right character, but it is bit of cliche to have senior actors play it- there are large number of healthy, vibrant seniors out there– JC is one of them– long may she reign.

Her response to never playing someone with Alzheimer’s reminds me of the famous “grandma clause” where Eileen Fulton prohibited the writers from making her a grandmother.

While I do understand where Jeanne is coming from with that kind of a storyline as there really aren’t many places you can go with the disease except down, I just see the contrast between her feelings and that of Peggy McKay on DAYS who took the news that her character would have the disease with such grace and such a positive stride- like an opportunity rather than a story with one inevitable outcome. Has DAYS done the illness justice? They started to and then went an idiotic “special treatment” route. What they should have said is that this is a progressive disease, have Caroline be diagnosed with an MCI (mild cognitive impairment, which is not quite yet Alzheimer’s, and could be years before it gets to that point) and aimed to properly represent someone who has dementia does not become an invalid after a few weeks, or even after being diagnosed; someone who can live a full and healthy life dementia or not. BUT at least the show and actress were brave enough to go there, which I really give kudos to because it really isn’t an easy illness to portray or play out long term. They didn’t go the predictable or “comfortable” route of a brain tumor.

But that’s DAYS.

As I said, I don’t begrudge Jeanne and I can absolutely see from an acting standpoint, and a woman as vibrant, sassy and sharp as she is, who wants to remain acting in the job she’s held for a gazillion years, would rather abandon ship altogether than have to pretend like she has a permanent brain deteriorating condition. But from a creative standpoint, I obviously think this was a tired, boring, uninspired and frankly, cowardly way to go. I also think that with Nikki’s MS, Jack’s addiction and Sharon’s bi-polar disorder, there are way too many medical related storylines happening right now that to me speaks to a lack of direction that, forgive the pun, seems a little bit schizophrenic. These, in the soap world, are called plot points- drama for the sake of creating drama, rather than having an organic and natural progression of story flourish into another story.

Oh well, it is what it is. I’m not even really a fan of Y&R but as someone who has a personal a professional interest in this kind of an illness, it would have been nice to see on screen.

People are different. JC just happens to believe that would not be good for the show or for her. Caroline on Days, just went with it and it was alright with her. But people are different. I admire Jeanne for speaking up. she’s been on quite a long time and deserves the last word.

You can only slow the progression with medication it is downhill and JC is nobody’s dummy she knows JFP’s track record. Also their are a lot of people on this board who are big OLTL fans why don’t you ask E Slezak, Robin Strasser & Hillary Smith what they truly think of the woman she zeros in on older women on the show and makes them useless. She did everything possible to sideline Victoria Wyndham on AW. She is pushing Chelsa & Avery down our throats and they have been with the show less then 2 years. By the way did Murphy Katherine’s husband fall down a rat hole?

I agree with K/kay ! Why are they pushing Chelsea and Avery down our throats. id love to see Dru come back and back to sharon and Adam and is Summer Jacks kid

Love this woman! TPTB can’t tell Jeanne that she is giving the fans what they want only they don’t know what they want. 😉

I am glad it’s not Alzheimer’s. I was hoping it wasn’t. That has been done too much.

You go girl…you need to kiss ass on screen and behind it as well!

Another example of soap opera’s copying another soap opera. Didn’t Days of Our Lives just do a storyline with “Caroline Brady” (Peggy McCay) having Alzheimer disease?

Which my understanding they made a mockery of the disease. Or was I misinformed?

You were misinformed, honey.

Ok thanks since I have not watched it in forever they were full of it!

She did however misplace Bo right? Just having fun poor PR disappear into the dark.

I don’t want Katherine to have the disease either.


Every show could use a Jeane Cooper…and i dont mean just daytime soaps!

She’s a tough cookie!

I’m not sure if this happens but could it be that Lyme Disease has was the Lyme Disease that caused a memory loss the last time.

I admire her spunk & JC tells it straight bec I for one do not care to watch that. It is not why I watch soaps – at. all. I want romance, escape, adventure, amusement, and sex – not sickness, death, etc. Enough of that in real life. Move on.

I would have to agree…..Mrs.C has been through many things over the years and has survived.
There is currently no survival from Alzheimer’s – you may be able to slow its progression with medication but the outcome is inevitable.
I wouldn’t want Jeanne to play this story – she has been a part of Y&R since its debut and since such a story line has a “lifespan” …I think Jeanne should be the one to decide “her” retirement date.

Good for her for sticking to her convictions! She could play it beautifully and very skillfully… but I too enjoy seeing Catherine tough and with it and toe to toe with the guys!

I think its a medication she’s taking. It really happens and it would be a good public awareness announcement.

I agree with you Katherine 100% Nobody wants to see their favorite actresses being sick. Having our family members go through the same things and some we have lost. To see that open up an old memories of ours would be painful. I don’t want Nikki to go through MS either. If anyone has experienced the same illness it would be very hard to watch.

Good for her for realizing there are other stories besides Alzheimers for actors her age to play.

this just reiterates how I felt about Melody thomas Scott having MS….

with all due respect to the Soap’ies:

Jeanne Cooper “Fights” for her character… and has that “clout”….

The audience want’s Katherine vibrant….

which is what I want for Nikki.

always coddling and belittling her as it were (Victor… that machismo, phoning in, super”power”)…. Nikki is alluring… whereas….

Ms. Jeanne Cooper… I applaud you… Your celebration of Women! Kudos!

You make me laugh. along with the legions of “FANS” every where. in all sects of our lives.

you’re a Hollywood Treasure…. the definition of what a professional Actor is all about.

best memories….

1. Brenda Dickson…. what a revelation to witness tour de force acting… and a marvel to know you.

2. Quinn Redeker… Romance… when you were most in LOVE. Gone TOO soon.

3. The Chancellor Estate…. Geez! you commandeered that Manse with aplomb….

4. Phillip Chancellor IV. He’s got your heart.

Patrick agree with you on every comment but one as she said in an interview with Mr. Fairman Rex Sterling was the love of her life. I miss QR big mistake to kill him off.

Watch out, JFP. JC has more clout and you are not going to get rid of her like to did to Anna Lee and then John Ingle. JC will kick your ass!

I Agree I don’t wan’t the writers Useing Alzheimer’s For Kay They Played it too Much On All the other Soaps And It Didn’t Play Out So Well.. I Hope Kay’s All Better There where Lot Of People In Canada With The Flu This year The Hospitals Where Over Crowded , And people Are getting Sick All Over again It’s A HARD One To Get Over This Year.
So Kay -From ,TORONTO- Her,e” Get Better Soon” We wan’t To see yea – Back GIRL At Action Fighting With JILL We Miss That lolol. We See it In Your EyE’s How Much You Love Playing The Roll As Kay C But I Agree The Sickness Part’s have Gotta Stop Who Need’s To Deppressed all the Time and Feeling Down And Where’s “MURPHY” we Don’t see him Much Any More ? He’s in One Day Gone the Next Kay yea Need Some Romance Girl. You Need it – I Think The Writer’s Should Shake This ILLness Off. And, Have A Romance With Katherine & Murphy They Been Playing All Around The other Actors Kay Need’s Some Happyness To So Mr. Fighter Pilot Time To Fly Kay Off To Some Where Special She Needs it. So Yea hear That Y&R WRITER’S Get Out Those Billionare Travel Plan’s Kay Need’s It And Bring Her friends In For A Surprise From The Dinner That Made her Feel Great , Thease are Stories -you should be working on.What’s Most Important To Her . Do Any Of you Writer Ever –Take The Time And Really Really Listen To The Fans . I Seen the Writers Sitting At That Big Table Not to Long Ago “SNAP” Outta It. You Wanna Be Number One On TOP again Listen to whats Most Importtant From The Heart you’re Fan’s Know Best.

Gotta love her. She’s one classy lady and still has a set of brass balls. LOL!

Mrs C is one classy woman, I wait on the show to see which
Outfit she will wear , love mrs C

Ms. Cooper is one tough cookie, and I appreciate it. She’s a class act and I love how she stands up for herself, her show and her character. She knows Katherine better than anyone else there. So she knows what would work for Mrs. C and what would not. I’m happy it isn’t Alzheimers, either. I think that would be too sad to see.

I love her!

I’m so glad it’s not Alzheimers. TV is escapism. We don’t want Mrs. C to have that. I want her back in business.

I am so glad to learn Katherine does not have any type of dementia!! I deal with it 24/7 with my husband and do not want to see it on one of my favorite shows where I go for escape and entertainment!! And after 40 years of watching we do not want to see a favorite “person” go through this type of heart wrenching disease,——-that would not be entertainment!

Many of us that have followed this show, have become seniors and truly have the fears of many illnesses we may have as we age. I don’t think I, being one of those, don’t think it is good to have us worry so much about :Maybe I have that. 🙁 Would not be a good show for all the women to come down with something wrong with them. Show them strong and needed in the family, but not as weaklings, Nikki with MS and now Katherine with an illness she is so ashammed of telling anyone, it is frightning. People do crazy things when they fear a dreadful life. 🙁 Katherine is much needed in the show as a super strong, smart, and beautiful woman. Thanks

I’m glad that Mrs. C. won’t have Alzheimers. I love her role so much. She and Eric Braeden make the show for me. I’ve been watching since 1998 (the year I retired). I record the days when I am unable to watch. I wouldn’t want to miss anything. Keep up the good work, Mrs. Cooper.

no we cannot have jeanne leave the show!!!!!!or it will not be worth watching .i love everything about her.

Ms. C is one classy/brilliant LADY…she is one of the soap stars that make the show worth while watching every day. Ms. C if I am blessed to live a wonderful life like yours everyday means so much. I love you and my prayers are with you everyday. Now get out of that hospital because GOD isn’t through with you yet. You got a lot more teaching to do…..

God help us JFP w how she is going w this now w our beloved Mrs C..bless you Jeanne praying so hard….

I am so over Catherine Chancellor + Jill Abbott going @ each other. It’s stupid for her to pass over Jill and give Chancellor CEO position to Cain! Makes no sense + I change the Chanel now! Poor Jill.

RIP Jeanne. You will be missed by all of us.


I will miss Jean Copper so much I have watched and loved her for over 30 years . I have such respect for
Her acting skill and hard work . She was my favorite on the show. I would have loved to have met her in
person. God bless her family.

The Young and Restless will never be the same without Kay. I will miss her dearly, I have watched her since the show started. All my best to her family.

I have watched Young And The Restless from day one. I will miss Jeanne very much the show won’t be the same with out her. I fill much sour for her family.

I will definitely miss Jeanne Cooper on Y&R. I almost felt like I knew her, having watched the show for 28 years. She was such a strong presence. Her scenes with Jill were priceless, and, at times, comical. I will also miss the heartwarming scenes with her husband Murphy (very few of them). She definitely was not a one-dimensional character. She could be ruthless as well as loving and caring; in other words, human. As far as I am concerned, this marks the end of an era for Y&R. To me, the show will never be the same again. Her death will leave a great void in daytime television. I honestly did not pick up on the vibe when she turned and said “good night” to Jill because she had said that she felt ten years younger, and that she plannned to be around for quite a while yet. I was so happy because I thought that she was returning to her vibrant and feisty self, and was so sad when I heard last week that she died.

I’m glad that she didn’t play that role. God Rest her soul Rest With God Grand Dame Jeanne Cooper. You are sadly missed :'(:'(:'(

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