Beginning next week, Emmy winner Michael Learned (ex-Shirley, GENERAL HOSPITAL) — best known for her run as matriarch Olivia on THE WALTONS — will temporarily step in for Daytime Emmy winner Jeanne Cooper as Katherine on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS. (As previously reported, Cooper had to take a brief medical leave.)
“Michael’s doing a wonderful job, but Jeanne is Jeanne,” says co-star Jess Walton (Jill). “Michael knows that she’s just filling in for Jeanne. Nobody’s asking her to be her, anyway. It’s just a ‘the part is being played by temporarily’ situation. Michael’s wonderful, but Jeanne is irreplaceable.”
While Cooper’s Katherine is indeed one-of-a-kind, Walton says that Learned is doing an admirable job. “She’s very easy to work with. The woman knows what she’s doing, obviously,” she raves. “She’s a trouper.”
Walton has been in touch with Cooper by telephone, and reports that Genoa City’s grande dame is on the road to recovery. “The last time I spoke with her she was doing much better,” shares Walton, adding that she’s been giving Cooper periodic reports on Learned. “I told her that I’d call her and let her know how ‘Ma Walton’ is doing.”
Learned will make her Y&R debut on Thursday, November 10.