The Soaps: Tune In Tomorrow

Cooper Dishes the Dirt With Relish

After 43 years playing the same character on the same show, many actors might have gotten bored and started phoning it in. Not Jeanne Cooper. The daytime legend, who portrays Katherine Chancellor on "The Young and the Restless," still brings her A-game to the show daily.

"It's my work ethic," says Cooper. "Every day I have to bring something new to the table."

Cooper tries to infuse Katherine with her personal philosophy. Namely, realizing that another day of life is a gift, and making sure to appreciate every unique piece of it.

"Like this morning," notes Cooper. "I was with my trainer outside by the pool, watching the sunrise. It was so beautiful. What you feel and how you think has a lot to do with how you perform that day. And every day is planning your tomorrow."

The above philosophy, coupled with the show's depiction of Katherine, has kept the senior character vibrant.

"Katherine's been active all her life. She's aware of everything around her," says Cooper, noting the character has "been naughty at times, sexually or psychologically. She's gone through so many things, mourned many people and has great memories. She does not stop her life because of an incident."

Cooper's much the same way, and she has even greater memories, which inspired the release of her autobiography, "Not Young, Still Restless."

"Everybody kept saying, 'You've got to write a book,'" recounts Cooper, who finally did "to shut them all up."

The book delves into a myriad of topics, including her memorable face-lift that was written into the show, her battle with alcoholism and her affairs with some Hollywood stars. Yet, she insists she didn't brace her children, Corbin, Collin and Caren Bernsen, ahead of time for any of the tome's spicier morsels.

"It was marvelous," she remembers, noting that her brood, all actors themselves, called to comment on the affairs part. "They said, 'Jeez, Mom. It just surprised us.' I was like, 'Well, you recognize me as another human being, now, and not just your mother.'"

Cooper spills some secrets about "Y&R" in her memoir, too, including some surprising feelings about certain co-stars.

"There are a couple of incidents where you find yourself thinking, 'Gee, I never really thought that. I really wouldn't detect from her acting that she would feel that way about a few people,'" says Cooper. Of course, she won't tell us exactly who those stories are about. "Buy the book," she adds with a chuckle.

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