jeanne cooper katherine mashup 2
Credit: CBS, Sean Smith/JPI (2), Aaron Montgomery/JPI, Brian Lowe/JPI

No gem in the character’s collection ever shone more brightly than her portrayer.

In her final interview, conducted a little less than a year before her death on May 8, 2013, Jeanne Cooper offered up a simple reminder that few and far between are the actors who understand the genre as well as she did: “In daytime,” she said, “you have to grow in somebody’s heart.”

Certainly, that was what she had done over the course of her epic 40-year run as Katherine Chancellor, the jewel-encrusted doyenne of The Young and the Restless. The actress reeled us in with the fire in her eyes and the fury in her voice. She made us gasp by delivering lines so pointedly, they practically lanced our TVs. And she stunned us over and over again by revealing the vulnerability that lay beneath the bling and the bluster.

She was, in short, brilliant — up to and including her final performance on the CBS soundstage. (You can rewatch it here.)

If for viewers it was difficult to accept that they had lost Cooper, who succumbed to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at age 84, for her Young & Restless colleagues, it was almost impossible. Heck, it still is. “I miss her every day,” Kate Linder (Esther) told in 2021. “I half-expect to see her coming down the hall, or walking onto the set, and when I remember… well, it hits me all over again.”

More: Young & Restless Emmy winner’s Jeanne Cooper memories

But rather than dwell on what we’ve all lost, even on this somber occasion, let’s instead be grateful for what we had — decades of Cooper dazzling us like a jewelry box thrown open. To help jog your memory, click on the below photo gallery, a collection of highlights from the soap icon’s unparalleled run as Katherine.