Wilma Jeanne Cooper (born October 25, 1928 in Taft, California) is an Emmy Award-nominated actress of Cherokee descent, best known for her role as Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless.
She was not on the series when the show debuted, but was cast later in 1973. She is currently the longest-tenured actor on The Young and the Restless.
Cooper began her career in the 1950s.
Her first starring role was in 1953's western The Redhead from Wyoming. She also appeared as a player in films with stars like Maureen O'Hara, Glenn Ford, Tony Curtis, and Henry Fonda.
Cooper was a fixture on episodic TV throughout the '60s and '70s.
Cooper's character has broken ground in daytime TV; Katherine has been involved in what was strongly insinuated to be a lesbian relationship, endured bouts with alcoholism, and the loss of many men in her life (two husbands, a child and a grandchild).
Katherine (and Cooper) had a facelift on national TV. Cooper had pitched the idea of having a live facelift to CBS executives, who agreed to write the facelift into the show for Katherine Chancellor.
For many years, the story of Katherine's bitter rivalry with character Jill Foster Abbott has been a mainstay of the show; in real life, Cooper and Jess Walton are close friends. It was revealed in 2003 that Jill is Katherine's daughter born out of wedlock.
Cooper was married for 23 years to TV producer Harry Bernsen, and is mother to three children, including actor Corbin Bernsen, of L.A. Law fame (she guest-starred twice as his character's mother on the series), and mother-in-law of British actress Amanda Pays.
She has received 7 Daytime Emmy nominations, 2 Primetime Emmy nominations and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmys in 2004.