“The Young and the Restless” Matriarch Jeanne Cooper had seen it all, in character, from long-lost relatives to four husbands, a few lesbian flirtations, endless bouts with alcoholism, and a bitter feud with Jill Foster Abbot; but after decades of that, she’s finally come to rest, dying at 84. She died of an infection she’s been fighting all year.
“Mom passed this morning,” her son, Corbin Bernsen, said on Twitter today. “She was in peace and without fear.”
A costar of the show, Lauralee Bell, spoke well of the star. “Jeanne was the matriarch of the show in every sense of the word. When you did work you were proud of, you’d hope for approval or a ‘good job’ from Jeanne as a child would from a parent. When things got too tense, she’d break the tension with her amazing wit. She would teach the younger actors without ever talking down to them. In fact, she would raise them up. She always had my back and my parents (and our whole family) always had hers.”
She had initially been hired in for a three-year contract, playing a colorful drunk who had affairs with young men, including the best friend of her husband; she was a hit, and stayed on indefinitely.
Cooper was married to television producer Harry Bernsen Jr. in 1954 and divorced 23 years later. They have three children, Corbin, Collin, and Caren, who are all actors.