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20 May 10th, 2013 Michael Fairman: “In Honor Of Jeanne Cooper”

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I have had a very unique vantage point from many other people who have had the opportunity to cross paths with the legendary Jeanne Cooper.  At some points in my relationship with Jeanne, I was to be the journalist, always questioning her, awaiting her forthright, humorous, and take-no-prisoners answers to anything I threw at her.  And then at other points, I had the honor of being her dear friend.

I always knew the days I would come to the Y&R set and sit in her dressing room with her was going to be a good day.  Jeanne would always greet me with a smile and a joke, and when I would tell her, “I love you” at the end of our interviews or visits, she would say back. “And I love you, too.”  I knew she meant it.  I felt her love and friendship for many years … always!  She always had my back.  She never judged me.  Both Jeanne and I had many ups and downs in our lives, and when we would get the chance to talk, we shared them with each other.  But as I am trying to wrap my head around the devastating loss for Jeanne’s family, her Y&R family, her scene partners, her fans and her friends worldwide, I feel so fortunate to have learned so much about her, and how she feels about so many people whose lives were enriched by knowing her, too.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I know that she had a very soft spot in her heart for the boys on the show. (Well, they were men, actually!) In particular:  Doug Davidson, Greg Rikaart, and Christian LeBlanc … Oh, how she enjoyed each of you, and loved you.  She told me that so many countless times.  I knew she respected, enjoyed, and protected Katherine’s relationship with Jill, and her enduring relationship with Jess Walton.  And, I knew how much Jeanne’s children and her grandchildren meant to her, as they were often the topic of conversation. And, I knew when the chips were down that I could count on Jeanne.

In 1999, I hosted on-camera The Young and the Restless 25th anniversary party for Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment’s Soap  We were streaming live from the CBS soundstage 41.  Against the party atmosphere and the large Y&R logo backdrop, and the 25th anniversary Olympic sized medals I placed around each of the performer’s neck in honor of the milestone, I was told earlier that day that my contract was not being renewed after four years.  So that evening, I was addressing the online viewing public and the cast, while hosting this soiree’, only I had to figure a way to sign off as “Soap City Michael”.  I waited till Jeanne Cooper was with me.   I knew if Jeanne was holding my hand and next to me, I could get through it and just blurt it out that I am signing off.  A stunned and upset Jeanne called over Peter Bergman, Michelle Stafford, and Christian LeBlanc, none of whom knew what on earth was going on!  But with these people surrounding me, thanks to Jeanne, I got through it.

Photo Credit: MF SOAPS Inc

To say that she lived a fascinating life is an understatement.  Everyone got to learn more about it when Jeanne released her memoir, Not Young, Still Restless last year.  My final interview with Jeanne was this somewhat technically odd Skyped split-screen interview, with her while she was in New York on her press junket with Harper-Collins for her book, and me at home in Los Angeles.   I have to thank Harper-Collins for letting me do this chat with Jeanne and making it happen, so I will have it with me forever.  But through the magic of the Internet, and even with the look of it, and even with audio problems, I swear, it was the defining interview of my time with Jeanne.  It was there that Jeanne and I shared laughs, tears, and even talked about our friendship more publicly for the first time. (You can view our final interview together below.)

The world will never be the same without our Mrs. C.  … an amazing actress, a kind soul, a loyal friend, and a true legend deserving of that title many times over!  I hope Jeanne has some hilarious stories to share with me, when we conduct our first interview in heaven together.  Till then, I will hold you in my heart, Jeanne.



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  1. Mo says:

    That is really lovely. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Mona says:

    thank you for sharing this is absolutely beautiful!!


  3. Michael says:

    Michael, thank you for sharing your deeply moving thoughts and memories of Jeanne. They were so beautiful.


  4. RANDY says:

    awe micheal beautifull words for a beautifull friend …


  5. Derrick says:

    Wonderful Michael!


  6. Brenda says:

    Thank you for that I always knew she was a very special woman she had so many loyal friends wow I believe i her heart hung on her sleve


  7. heidi says:

    Thank you Michael!!! You are truly a good guy and we are so lucky to have you and your phenomenal site in our lives!!!

    That was a great interview… I remember it from when you originally posted it on the site but it was so touching to see it again after just losing Jeanne. What a lovely tribute! I am sorry for your loss of a dear friend. I love that you are friends with so many of our faves and that you are truly the biggest fan of the genre and of all the talented people that bring us our favorite characters and stories! Thanks again Michael! Jeanne was also very lucky to have you as her friend.

    My thoughts remain with Jeanne’s family and friends. She was so talented and she sounds like such a wonderful person.


  8. Kim says:

    That was beautifully written Michael as you gave us a glimpse into your friendship with Jeanne. She wasn’t someone you interviewed but someone you could call friend and I know you will hold that with you forever. Jeanne will be sorely missed and Y&R will not be the same without her.


  9. Cindy C says:

    Thank you,so wonderful to see you two together.


  10. Carrie says:

    This is probably a story that you never wanted to write, but thank you for sharing your story with us.


  11. Blake says:

    That is beautiful Michael, thanks for sharing that story and the last interview with us! So sorry you lost a dear friend, but it’s not forever!


  12. Tina F says:

    Michael this is so wonderful of a story thank you for sharing I cannot even imagine the pain this caused you by writing It Thank you again for shring


  13. Chad E says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that fantastic interview, Michael! It was such a delight to watch. I have been reeling all week from Jeanne’s death. I just can’t believe she is gone. I’ve grown up watching Mrs. Chancellor, and to me she always was the soul of Y&R. What an amazing life she led, and what a stellar example she was of how to live on this earth and how to treat others. Truly one of a kind. I know you must be grieving the loss of your friend. I wish you peace and healing. Thanks again for sharing this.


  14. Doe says:

    Michael, how extrodinary. The love between you and Jeanne that goes back years, is so endearing. The friendship that you had with her is to be treasured in your heart. I know this was mutual and I loved the playfulness that went back and forth. You are fortunate,Michael. But so was she. Loved your dedication in honor of Jeanne, You are great!…..


  15. Dennie says:

    Michael, this was awesome. Such a grand friendship with a grand lady, Thank you for sharing the interview, she was truly a “Duchess”. She will be greatly missed.


  16. Tracey says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your interview with Jeanne. I absolutely loved it. Watching the interview was very comforting for me because it is how I want to remember Ms. Cooper. As much as I am sad Jeanne is no longer with us, I am glad she is no longer suffering. I am thankful I just happened to meet her in a Las Vegas casino some 20 years ago. I hope you will keep this interview posted forever. God bless you Michael and sorry for your loss too.


  17. alesha o l says:

    As if I haven’t cried enough;) God Bless you & your colleagues for being willing to share @ this time when you are mourning.. Mrs C, Jeanne is one that I hope greets me w my grandparents @ Heaven’s gateway!!b


  18. Noelle says:

    Thank you for airing this; it was fabulous !


  19. Corina Lira says:

    Thank you so much for this.. I have been born and raised in 1973 and watched Y&R to this day.. She will be missed so bad but never forgotten.. Thank you again for sharing the good times


  20. mary says:

    I have seen other interviews with Jeanne Cooper but this one is extraordinary. There is love in this interview between you, Michael, and Jeanne. Your pace of questions, your patience in waiting for Jeanne’s responses and Jeanne’s candor and conscientiousness as she lovingly responds. It so apparently reveals the love you have for each another as well your commitments to both your profession and audience. Feeling blessed to witness and receive such an exquisite example of love and dedication <3


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