You can’t think about soap opera history or the history of The Young and the Restless without thinking of the Duchess of Daytime herself — Jeanne Cooper, who played Katherine Chancellor! Take this walk down memory lane and remember why she was such an incredible character.
Her marriage to Phillip Chancellor II had its problems, but Katherine (AKA “Kay”) didn’t want to lose him. Alas, that’s just what happened when Phillip fell in love with Kay’s companion Jill, whom she met at the Golden Comb, and got her pregnant. Phillip died in a car wreck with Kay at the wheel. Jill was devastated and their rivalry raged for decades!
Jousting With Jill
Phillip was gone, but Kay wasn’t done trying to make Jill pay for her betrayal. She went to court to strip Phillip of his inheritance. Later, Kay and Jill fought over Derek Thurston. Whether Kay wound up in an institution or on a deserted island, she never lost two things — her resolve to survive and her desire to make Jill suffer. After Jill wed John Abbott, Kay was determined to expose Jill’s infidelity.
Teaming Up Against Nina
As a teen, Jill’s son Phillip III returned to Genoa City and stayed with Katherine for a while. Opportunist Nina Webster set her sights on the wealthy young man, so Jill and Kay teamed up to bring Nina down! Kay, along with Phillip’s other loved ones, was devastated after he supposedly died from injuries suffered in a car accident/wreck.
Jill hired a homeless man named Brian Romalotti (whom Jill named “Rex Sterling”) to romance Kay. She fell in love with him herself, but Rex chose Kay and the two were married, much to Jill’s chagrin!
Kay’s life was turned upside down after evil Clint Radison kidnapped Kay and her loyal maid Esther, swapping in Kay’s look-alike Marge so she could steal the Chancellor millions. Marge double-crossed Clint, and Kay was rescued, reuniting with Rex. Sadly, Rex was killed by Esther’s fake husband who was trying to steal from Kay’s safe.
Jill helped Kay through a breast cancer scare, but their feud was on again after a hidden document stated that Jill had rights to the Chancellor mansion. A judge awarded Jill half of the mansion. She moved in so Kay moved out and met her long-lost granddaughter, Mackenzie, in a homeless shelter. After surviving Ralph, Mac’s abusive stepdad, Katherine, her son, Brock (Mac’s dad), and Mac were happy…for a while.
Liz Foster told Jill she was adopted. For a time, Kay and Jill believed they were mother and daughter, taking their dynamic to unparalleled heights. (It turned out that Kay had a boy — Tucker — not a daughter.) Marge came back into Kay’s life and when she was killed in a car accident, everyone thought that it was Kay who died.
A nice man named Murphy found Kay, suffering from amnesia, and brought her to his home. They fell in love and when Kay recovered her memories and came back to town, Jill (initially) thought Kay was Marge!
Next, Clint had Kay and Esther kidnapped — again! They were rescued by Amber and Gloria. Next, Phillip turned up alive, having faked his death to live as a gay man in Australia. Kay still had a fondness for Cane, who pretended to be the true Chancellor heir until the original recipe, his friend, returned.
It’s A Boy!
Kay found the long-lost baby she’d given up at birth — Tucker McCall. They hashed out unresolved feelings related to Kay giving Tucker up as a baby. Kay also discovered that a young man she’d known for years was actually her grandson — Devon Hamilton!
After battling a brief illness, Kay decided to step down from Chancellor, putting Cane in charge. She and Jill had a heart-to-heart talk and Katherine headed up the stairs. Jill offered assistance, but Kay refused, simply saying, “Goodnight.”
Later, Kay and Murphy went on a trip around the world, but in reality, Kay was hiding an illness from her loved ones. She passed away and her life was celebrated with a memorial in Genoa City. Today, Kay’s portrait hangs in the Chancellor living room. The Young and the Restless (YR) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes.