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"A Friend I Can Depend On"


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Sooner or later everyone says it..."Tell me about Mrs. Chancellor." Wherever I go I am asked, "What is Kay Chancellor like?" Everywhere - even when I visited my hometown, Erie, Pennsylvania, for my high school class reunion, my classmates wanted to more about Jeanne Cooper before any other member of THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS cast. At the restaurant in the Los Angeles Music Center where I frequently eat before a concert, one of the wairtresses always makes her way to my table to ask, "When are you going to bring Mrs. Chancellor here?" My friend's children ask for her autograph; my Mother's nurse, during a recent illness, asked for Jeanne's picture.

Well, it's not all that surprising, when you consider that in one way or another, Liz Foster has been working for Mrs. Chancellor for years - first in the Chancellor factory, and now in her home - which means that I have had the singular pleasure of working quite often with Jeanne, and getting to know her as a thorough-going professional and to enjoy her as an especially valued friend.

To be Kay Chancellor's maid is difficult, to be Jeanne Cooper's maid would be impossible. The lady is much too busy serving to ever be served.

A trip to THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS set would reveal only a fraction of Jeanne's generosity. To begin with, you would not have to check the schedule to see if Jeanne is working that day. A look at the coffee counter in the Production Booth would tell you - if there are trays of freshly sliced coffee cake beside the coffee urns, Jeanne is in the studio. Sometimes she bakes it herself the night before, but if she has had to prepare for a particularly heavy show, she will leave her home early to stop at the bakery. And she has never missed a day.

Do you want to know the birthdate of any cast or staff member? Ask Jeanne, she'll know, because she remembers them all - with a gift or a card. Anyone ill? Ask Jeanne again. She visits them all - in home or in hospital. And more than one cast member has been bundled off to Jeanne's spare bedroom to spend a night or two recovering from a broken heart or dream.

Mrs. Chancellor is too delicate to rinse out her own lingerie, but Jeanne Cooper pours cement, lays brick sidewalks - and built a house with K.T. Stevens (Vanessa Prentiss). That's what I said - a house!

Perhaps Jeanne's great generosity and loyalty come from her strong sense of family. Her relationship with her three children, Collin, Corbin and Caren, is enviable - open, honest and mutually supportive. Jeanne shared a letter from her son Corbin with me once, a letter that she said, "made it all worthwhile." It was a loving tribute from a young man who had come to respect and accept her, not only as his mother, but as an artist and a woman as well - a testimonial freely given. Her conversation is laced with family names and references: her brother in Alaska, her stepfather, cousins, nieces, nephews - always in touch, always concerned.

Jeanne works terrible hard, she always has. She is quick to remind you that she grew up on a farm and, as anyone knows, that means hard work. She began her professional life as a contract player at Universal Pictures in the last years of the studio training system, which consisted of classes, classes, classes, and work, work, work...on no sleep and less money. Although Jeanne has never spoken of it, one can pretty well figure out that there were quite a few opportunities refused so that she could stay in Los Angeles with her children and work at making a home for them.

Once her children were grown or away at school, Jeanne still couldn't work at only one job. THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS wasn't enough for her, so she joined with Emily McLaughlin (GENERAL HOSPITAL) to form a coalition of actresses engaged in daytime dramas, dubbed "Ladies of the Day," currently represented in a touring company of Neil Simon's PLAZA SUITE in which Jeanne and Emily have performed from San Francisco to Rochester and Miami. Now she is looking forward to a proposed production of CALIFORNIA SUITE.

On and on she goes - interviews, nighttime shows, BARNABY JONES, THE SAN PEDRO BUMS, personally answering mountains of fan mail. How does she do it? Where does she get the energy? I wish to Heaven I knew! She just does - out of a code of responsibility and discipline that boggles the mind. I'm simply grateful that she does it and shares it - because it has enriched all our lives.

I have an acid test for friendship. It goes like this: Imagine that you will have to fight for your life and you can bring only one person to help. Who among your family or friends would you choose, who could be depended upon to help rather than need help - in short, who would you take to the right? I'd take Jeanne Cooper!

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Very interesting. How sweet! Of course, who knows how much of this one is to believe, but it doesn't matter! lol

Thanks so much for posting.

Thanks for reading it!

I know some is a bit overdone (coffee cake!) but I can believe she was probably very generous with the cast; I'm sure that's easier on a half-hour soap. Since I always liked the scenes between Katherine and Liz and since we usually only hear about the tensions between cast members I thought this was a nice little article for people who watched back in the day.

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