... and she's got Y&R's Christian LeBlanc in tow!
Say what? Yup. Genoa City is paying a visit to Springfield. Well...kind of? Sort of? You be the judge.
When Jeanne Cooper (Katherine of Young and the Restless), heard about the cancellation of Guiding Light, she just knew that she had to do something.
"Oh absolutely! I had to pay respect to a show that has been around for 72 years," Cooper stressed. "I had tohonor the show, the cast, and the crew for all their hard work and the notion that also they will all soon be unemployed. It's just awful. After all this show is a cornerstone in TV. These people were are part of our lives, and are now riding off into the sunset."
Cooper phoned Barbara Bloom, (vice president of CBS daytime) and told her that she must be on the show. "I said, I must do this show. It's just something I have to do. It was like this idea hit me," Cooper said. "I told Barbara, I don't care if I sit on a park bench in a scene, I must do this." And Barbara marveled at the idea, as well as Ellen Wheeler, executive producer of Guiding Light.
In turn, Cooper presented this idea to Christian LeBlanc (Michael, of Young and the Restless), who flipped at the notion and off he and Cooper went to Springfield. (GL is shot in N.Y., Y&R in LA.)
Now here's the twist! When Cooper and LeBlanc appear on the show, it is not your ordinary cross-over. They will not be Katherine or Michael, nor will they be from Genoa City.
"Don't you just love it?" Cooper rejoiced. "I have to tell you this was so much fun. This is a real mystery that you must tune in to see. The context is great."
Cooper, remained mum on the characters and said that she is sworn to secrecy, but just jokingly said that she may be someone from 72 years ago. She added that this character is nothing like Katherine, but guarantees that anyone watching "will not be disappointed."
Soapdom wanted to know if these characters will impact the lives of the other characters in Springfield? "No. I can tell you this....we appear for one episode, but the storyline will continue."
Cooper chalked this up to a wonderful experience. A veteran of the business, she knows how these great actors loosing their jobs will have it hard. (Note: Crystal Chappell, (Olivia), returns to Days of our Lives, as Carly, a role she played 20 years ago).
"You know...it's rough. Barbara Bloom fought so hard for this show to remain, but it just didn't work," Cooper shared with Soadpom. Daytime TV is suffering, as is the entertainment business. It used to be that when you were in a recession or depression, entertainment thrived as an outlet. Now who can afford $40 for theater tickets? It's bad."
The atmosphere at Guiding Light is very upbeat, but yet somber. The stars are very sad, but they are trying to keep going. Liz Keifer (C. Blake Thorpe Marler) broke down in tears, Cooper said.
Cooper enjoyed the trip to New York, and on her way back to LA stopped in Mississippi for an engagement and then being the jet-setter that she is, along with LeBlanc (who has a friend on St. Jude's board) stopped in Memphis to visit the St. Jude's Hospital.
"What an uplifting experience. It's a glorious feeling. To see these little bald headed kids running around, and the atmosphere is just pleasant," Cooper said. "I will tell you that after visiting this place for the first time, I was touched. It changes you as a human being."
Cooper goes back to the founder, Danny Thomas, along with daughter, Marlo, adding that they were all Beverly Hills neighbors, and she always adored Danny. "At the hospital, it's like you feel his spirit there. What a place," she said. "You know... it's a vast research center. And when there will be a major cure for cancer, it will come from this place."
As for Cooper and her character of Katherine on Y&R, she is having a blast playing her. Many have rumored to hint that perhaps Katherine's long lost daughter was in Springfield and that was the reason for the visit.
"I love it! Those rumors. Actually we still don't know who my daughter is," Cooper said. "But I will tell you... rather than finding my long lost daughter, I'd rather have her dead, and find my long lost grandchild. That would be more interesting. Don't you think?"
Cooper hinted to the writers on that idea, hoping they will take her advice. She also hinted that she would love it to be Amber Moore (Adrienne Frantz). "I have to tell you working with Adrienne is great, and this would be wonderful. I love her."
Cooper is happy to see the way Y&R has branched into the 21st century, saying the writers are doing a spectacular job. "With Maria Arena Bell at the helm, she's always open to suggestion, and really has a vision. The whole gang is just talented and great."
She also reflected again saying how Daytime is hurting. Y&R is guaranteed for another two or three years, but you never know. "I always say...we remain positive and upbeat, but there is no certainty in life."
Cooper is busy putting together a line of a new fall collection of jewelry and perfume and has her own Website (see link below).
"I decided to go with the times. I used to do HSN (Home Shopping Network), but it was too time consuming. Along with my daughter, I now use the Internet, and I have the opportunity to reach a vast amount of people."
And who knows jewelry and perfume better than the flamboyant Cooper "I always have said that a beautiful piece of jewelry makes a woman feels like a million dollars."
She also over sees the operation and personally chooses the jewelry as well as fragrance for the perfume.
Soapdom wants to know, how do you embark on so many tasks?
"I keep up with the times" she giggled in reply. "I never dwell on what used to be. This is what keeps me going. I take chances. In life, it's like they say...you are only certain of two things, and they are taxes and death."
Visit Cooper online at jeannecooper.com
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