Who is Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless?

The legend of Katherine Chancellor lives on today on Y&R.
The talented Jeanne Cooper brought life to Katherine Chancellor for 40 years. Pic credit: CBS

The Young and the Restless is kicking off theme week with episodes dedicated to beloved Genoa City resident, Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper).

CBS is launching theme weeks of their two daytime dramas due to production still being shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. Both shows have been halted since mid-March and ran out of new episodes last week.

The network has put plan B in place, and it is a one that should keep viewers interested in tuning in daily. As the network prepares to air five days of classic Y&R episodes dedicated to Katherine, it is time to have a refresher on the legendary woman.

Katherine and Jill’s long-standing feud

There is no way to describe Katherine other than legendary. The reason the character was so beloved and treasured by viewers is thanks to epic performances by Jeanne Cooper. She made Katherine a villain, vulnerable, a fan-favorite, and so much more for nearly four decades.

Katherine first showed up in Genoa City in 1973. It was rumored the character was introduced to help with The Young and the Restless’ struggling ratings. A majority of Katherine’s history revolved around her long-standing feud with Jill (Jess Walton), who had an affair with Katherine’s husband, Phillip.

The affair produced Jill and Phillip’s son, Phillip Chancellor III. Jill and Katherine fought over Phillip III for years, as well as his son, Phillip “Chance” Chancellor IV after Phillip III was killed. They also spent years sabotaging each other’s relationships with men. Rex Sterling was another man the two women fought over.

At one point, evidence proved that Jill and Katherine were mother and daughter. However, fans were not happy with the new relationship between the feuding women. It was later revealed the two ladies were not mother and daughter. They remained on civil terms until Katherine’s death in 2013.

Katherine’s friends, children, and alcohol addiction

Katherine battled alcoholism her entire life. Some of the most iconic Y&R episodes surrounded not only her drinking but also the interventions to get her help. Two of Katherine’s close friends, Neil (Kristoff St. John) and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), also struggle with alcohol addiction. The three bonded over their disease.

Along with being a force of nature in her personal life, Katherine was also a business mogul. She ran Chancellor Industries for years with the help of Victor (Eric Braeden), who was initially brought to town to help her with the company. Neil also used his business skills to help his pal with the company.

Katherine’s one true friend throughout her life was her maid Esther (‎Kate Linder). The two women were thick as thieves. There was no one more devoted to Katherine than Esther. They leaned on each other during the bad times and celebrated the good times together.

The Dame of Genoa City, as Katherine was often called, had two sons. Brock, who has a daughter Mackenzie Browning. She is also mother to con man Tucker, who was introduced in 2009 as her long-lost son. Tucker has one son, Devon (Bryton James).

A shout out to Jeanne Cooper

The character of Katherine helped change the landscape of The Young and the Restless. However, without the talented and iconic Jeanne Cooper, there would be no Katherine. It was her portrayal of the character that made both of them beloved and legendary.

Jeanne made history when she and Katherine had a facelift on television. She also earned several awards for her portrayal of the character.

There is no question that Jeanne is Katherine. The two go hand in hand, but there are a few actresses who played the character too. Beverly Garland, Gisele MacKenzie, and Michael Learned all filled in for Jeanne at various points when she needed time off.

Jeanne Cooper died on May 8, 2013. Her final scenes as Katherine aired on May 3, 2013. A tribute episode to the actress that included cast interviews and epic moments aired May 28, 2013. Months later, the CBS show had Katherine die off-screen, giving the character and actress a proper on-screen good-bye.

Katherine Chancellor was one in a million. She is a character that defined Y&R for decades, and her memory is still alive on the soap opera today.

The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS.

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