Katherine Chancellor is going to look a little different in the coming weeks. EW has learned exclusively that Michael Learned — best known for her Emmy-winning role on The Waltons — will fill in for veteran actor Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) on a temporary basis.
Cooper needed time off for medical reasons — rest assured, she’s okay — but the producers needed to continue her storyline so Learned will pick up the slack until the veteran soap star can resume taping in November. Cooper, who turns 83 on Oct. 25, has played Katherine for 38 years.
“Michael Learned is an accomplished actress and we are grateful that she is able to fill in for Jeanne Cooper for this short time,” said Executive Producer and Head Writer Maria Arena Bell in a statement. “Jeanne is an integral part of our show and we look forward to her imminent return. We have great storyline coming up for Mrs. Chancellor.”
Learned, whose first day of taping is Wednesday, will appear on the CBS sudser beginning Nov. 10. She’s no stranger to the daytime scene: Just last year, she appeared on General Hospital, and before that, One Life to Live and All My Children.