Soap opera star Jeanne Cooper, best known for her nearly 40-year stint as Katherine Chancellor on CBS's "The Young and the Restless," died Wednesday at the age of 84.
Her son, actor Corbin Bernsen ("L.A. Law," "Psych"), 58, confirmed the news on his Twitter and Facebook pages. Cooper had been hospitalized in recent weeks battling an undisclosed illness.
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.— Corbin Bernsen (@corbinbernsen) May 8, 2013
"Wasn't sure how I would have to say these words so I opt for simplicity at least to begin..." Bernsen wrote on Facebook.
"My mother passed away this morning just a short time ago, peaceful with my sister by her side, in her sleep. I was going to visit this afternoon, thought I had time. Reminder to self - time is a precious thing. I too am at peace however. I said my goodbyes several times over during the last few weeks. I'll go one last time now for a gentle kiss a final farewell for this lifetime."
CBS offered their condolences in a statement from entertainment president Nina Tassler: "Jeanne Cooper will be remembered as a daytime television legend and as a friend who will truly be missed by all of us here at the network. She was the longest-running cast member on daytime's #1 show, bringing indelible charm, class, and talent to every episode. On behalf of everyone at CBS, we send our condolences to Jeanne's family, as well as the legions of fans she has amassed during her record 39 years on 'The Young and The Restless,' and throughout her career."
Jeanne Cooper looks back at her four decades on "The Young and the Restless":
Cooper began her role on the long-running soap in 1973, just seven months after it began. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1993. In 2004, she received a lifetime achievement award from the Daytime Emmys, and won her first Daytime Emmy in 2008. She also earned two Primetime Emmy nominations, including one for playing Bernsen's mother on "L.A. Law" in 1987.
In 1984, Cooper's "Y&R" character Katherine underwent a facelift, and Cooper's simultaneously occurring real-life facelift was televised. She called it one of the proudest moments in her career. "It opened up reconstructive surgery for so many people, youngsters getting things done," she told the Associated Press in an interview last year. "To this day, people will come up to me and say, 'Thank you so much for doing that. My mom or I had something done, and not just cosmetic surgery.' That was an incredible experience in my life."
Cooper was born in Taft, California, in 1928 and attended College of the Pacific before graduating from Pasadena Playhouse School for acting. She went on to star in several films, including "The Boston Strangler" with Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, and George Kennedy; "Tony Rome" with Frank Sinatra; and "The All-American Boy" with Jon Voight.
In addition to her son Corbin, she is survived by two other children: son Collin, 54, and daughter Caren, 53, as well as eight grandchildren.