Katherine Chancellor
Jeanne Cooper as Katherine Chancellor
The Young and the Restless
Portrayed by Jeanne Cooper
Created by William J. Bell
Duration 1973—
First appearance November 1973
Gender Female
Alias Marge Cotrooke
Date of birth October 25, 1928 (1928-10-25) (age 88)[1]
Residence 12 Foothill Road
Genoa City, Wisconsin

Katherine Chancellor Murphy (née Shepherd; formerly Reynolds, Thurston, and Sterling) is a fictional character on the CBS daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless portrayed since 1973 by veteran actress Jeanne Cooper.



Katherine Shepard is born on October 25, 1928 in Genoa City.[1] In high school, Katherine befriends Gary Reynolds, John Abbott and his future wife, Dina, Neil Fenmore, Joanna Manning, Stuart Brooks and Suzanne Lynch. Most of these early friendships lasted through the years. Katherine's first husband was the wealthy Gary Reynolds and they had a son, Brock. However, the marriage was rocky as Kay was an alcoholic and had affairs with the stable boys. When Gary and Brock are overseas, Katherine has an affair with Gary's best friend, local judge, Arthur Hendricks. Katherine gave birth to a child, and handed it over to her friend, Charlotte Ramsey to put the child up for adoption. After Gary's death, Katherine marries wealthy industrialist, Phillip Chancellor.


The character of Katherine Chancellor was introduced in the fall of 1973, several months after The Young and the Restless premiered that March. Show co-creator, William J. Bell, was disappointed with the weak ratings, and thus hired veteran actress, Jeanne Cooper, as a quick fix to add some controversy to the program.[2] Singer Gisele MacKenzie briefly substituted for Cooper for six episodes in 1986.[3] In October 2011, it was announced that Cooper had taken a medical leave. Starting November 1, 2011, the role was temporarily portrayed by actress Michael Learned.[4] Cooper has since returned to the role starting December 23, 2011.[5] Cooper along with co-star Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin) appeared on the final episode of Guiding Light.[6]

In 2005, Cooper was awarded with the Daytime Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.[7] In 2008, after several years of being nominated, Cooper received the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress.[7] In 1989, Cooper won Soap Opera Digest's Editor's Award along with the award for Outstanding Lead Actress.[7]


Katherine is the matriarch of Genoa City, and a core character within the series. As one the main characters on the top daytime soap opera, Katherine has been an alcoholic, spent years feuding with the same woman, whom she was later led to believe was her daughter, hid the fact that she switched said woman's child at birth, all while running the multinational conglomerate, Chancellor Industries. Katherine is ranked at #10 on Top Ten Female Characters of Daytime Television list for her iconic history.[8]

Much of her history on the series revolves around her long-running conflict with her former paid companion, Jill Foster Abbott (portrayed originally by Brenda Dickson and, since 1987, by Jess Walton). Their feud is one of the longest rivalries on any American soap opera.[9]



As of November 1973, Katherine who is a severe alcoholic has fired her personal secretary and hires the young, opportunistic, Jill Foster as a replacement.[10] Kay is very good to Jill who loves her new luxurious lifestyle. Jill supports Katherine during her drunken mood swings due to her being trapped in a loveless marriage. In the spring of 1974, Kay welcomes her son, Brock Reynolds back home.[11] Katherine realizes that Brock is attracted to Jill while she becomes suspicious of Jill & Phillip's growing closeness. After witnessing Jill and Phillip kissing, Kay has an elaborate bugging system installed at the mansion to keep tabs on the two. When Jill turns up pregnant, Kay offers to pay Brock in exchange for him seducing Jill. Brock agrees believing it will bring an end to the tension between Jill and his mother. However, she is horrified when she learns that two have actually married and moved in together. But Kay soon realizes that with the two married, she has a chance to rebuild her own marriage. Katherine joins Alcoholics Anonymous and quits drinking while allowing Phillip to believe Jill was having Brock's child. Phillip divorces Katherine after learning the truth and only for him and a drunken Kay to be involved in a car accident in August 1975.[12] Phillip dies shortly after marrying Jill.






  1. ^ a b Who's Who in Genoa City: Katherine Chancellor. Soap Central. Retrieved on 2012-03-18.
  2. ^ Template:Cite episode
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ UPDATE: Cooper Will Be Back At Y&R By Christmas!. Soaps in Depth (2011-11-10). Retrieved on 2012-03-18.
  6. ^ Katherine Chancellor and Michael Baldwin Head To Springfield. Soaps in Depth (2009-08-05). Retrieved on 2012-03-18.
  7. ^ a b c About Y&R: About the Actors: Jeanne Cooper. Soap Central. Retrieved on 2012-03-18.
  8. ^ Vonda Menard (2009-06-02). Top Ten Female Characters of Daytime Television. Yahoo! Voices. Retrieved on 2012-03-18.
  9. ^ Y&R: Famous Plots - Kay/Jill Feud. Retrieved on 2009-06-12.
  10. ^ CATCH UP ON WHAT YOU MISSED: 1973: Page 2. 'The Young and the Restless'. Sony Pictures Television (1973). Retrieved on 2012-07-29.
  11. ^ CATCH UP ON WHAT YOU MISSED: 1974: Page 2. 'The Young and the Restless'. Sony Pictures Television (1973). Retrieved on 2012-07-29.
  12. ^ CATCH UP ON WHAT YOU MISSED: 1975: Page 2. 'The Young and the Restless'. Sony Pictures Television (1975). Retrieved on 2012-07-29.

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