CBS says Jeanne Cooper, soap opera star of the network's "The Young and the Restless" for nearly 40 years, has died at the age of 84. Her son, "L.A. Law" actor Corbin Bernsen, also reported the death on his Twitter account.
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
Cooper played the unforgettable grande dame Katherine Chancellor since 1973.
In April, Bernsen tweeted about his mother's undisclosed illness, calling her fight an "uphill battle." Later he wrote of gradual improvement, saying she'd been taken off breathing equipment.
Cooper's role on "The Young and the Restless" earned her a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2008. Over the years she was nominated multiple times.
Flowers will be placed on Cooper's Hollywood Walk of Fame star Wednesday afternoon at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.
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," said Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, adding that the actress brought "indelible charm, class and talent to every episode."
Cooper joined the daytime serial six months after its March 1973 debut, staking claim to the title of longest-tenured cast member. The role earned her 11 Daytime Emmy nominations and a trophy for best actress in a drama series in 2008.
"God knows it's claimed a big part of my life," she told The Associated Press in March as CBS' "Young and the Restless" celebrated its milestone 40th anniversary.
As the years passed, Cooper brushed aside thoughts of saying goodbye to the show and its fictional Wisconsin town of Genoa City.
"What would I do? I'm no good at crocheting. My fingers would bleed," she told the AP as she turned 83.
Cooper, born in the California town of Taft in 1928, attended the College of the Pacific and performed in local theater productions before her professional career began with the 1953 film "The Redhead from Wyoming" starring Maureen O'Hara. Other film credits include 1968's "The Boston Strangler" with Tony Curtis and 1967's "Tony Rome" with Frank Sinatra.
She had a parallel career in TV, with shows including "The Adventures of Kit Carson" in 1953 and "The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse" in 1954 and "Bracken's World" in 1969-70.
In a recurring role on "L.A. Law," she played the mother to Bersen's character, Arnie, and received a 1987 Emmy nomination for best guest actress in a drama. Bernsen later joined his mother on her series, making several appearances as a priest, Father Todd.
But it was her role on "The Young and the Restless" that made her a TV star intimately familiar to viewers.
In 1984, Coooper's real-life facelift was televised on the show as her character underwent the surgery at the same time, and had no regrets about it.
"It opened up reconstructive surgery for so many people, youngsters getting things done," she said. "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."
"The Young and the Restless" has topped the daytime serial ratings for more than 24 years, in part because of the continuity provided by Cooper and its other long-time stars including Eric Braeden. It held its ground as the genre diminished in popularity and the majority of soaps vanished.
Cooper's 30-year marriage to Harry Bernsen ended in divorce. The couple have three children, Corbin, Caren and Collin, and eight grandchildren.