Katherine Helmond, Soap & Who’s The Boss Actress, Passed Away At 89



Katherine Helmond, Soap & Who’s The Boss Actress, Passed Away At 89

Katherine Helmond, who portrayed the sassy Tate matriarch on the breakthrough 1970s sitcom Soap and subsequently featured on Who’s the Boss?, among other roles, passed on February 28 at her residence in Los Angeles of Alzheimer’s complications. She was 89. The news was announced by APA.


Who was Katherine Helmond?

Katherine Helmond is best remembered for her appearances as Jessica Tate on ABC’s 1977-81 ensemble primetime soap opera sitcom Soap and as the glamorous, intelligent, and flirtatious Mona Robinson on ABC’s 1977-81 ensemble primetime soap opera sitcom Soap. She played alongside Tony Danza, Judith Light, and Alyssa Milano in ABC’s Who’s the Boss? from 1984 through 1992, proving that romance and excitement are not lost on older ladies.

In 1988-89, she garnered four Best Actress Emmy Award nominations for Soap and two nominations for Who’s the Boss? Helmond won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for Soap in 1981, another for Supporting Actress in Who’s the Boss in 1989, and a third for the latter in 1986.

In two episodes of ABC’s Soap spinoff series Benson, featuring Robert Guillaume, Helmond recreated her Jessica Tate role, which she subsequently described as a “childlike” lady who drifted through life.


What was Katherine Helmond like?

“I was in love with her, she was such an influence on me. From being a single guy with a hit show in Hollywood, through my marriage and having kids — she was with me. No matter what problem I had, I could go to her. Very few people could match her.” Danza shares about his “soulmate.”

Remembering Who’s the Boss at the Beginning? “We luckily got Jessica from Soap. Oh my God, we hit the lottery. She was a consummate professional — never made a mistake and always got a laugh. She was the sexy older lady who could keep up with the young people. She just had a way about her.”

Katherine Helmond discussed achieving such audience reaction in a 2008 interview with the Television Academy Foundation. “Laughter is such a marvelous thing really, it’s such a healing thing, that’s one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed doing comedy, it was great fun for me because I knew that my character was good, I knew the show was good, and it was giving to pleasure to a lot of people.

Katherine Helmond’s favorite Who’s the Boss? the episode is the one in which her Mona character attends a graduation party with a college-age male, according to her. The conversation is available in its entirety below.

What role is Katherine Helmond best remembered for?

Katherine Helmond was also noted for her appearances as Doris Sherman on ABC’s Coach (1995-97), alongside Craig T. Nelson and Jerry Van Dyke, and as Debra Barone’s mother Lois Whelan on CBS’s smash sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, opposite Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton (1996-2004). In 2002, she was nominated for Guest Actress Emmy for the performance, giving her a total of seven in her career.

Guest appearances on A&E’s The Glades and HBO’s True Blood’s Caroline Bellefleur are among Katherine Helmond’s most recent television appearances.

In all three Disney/Pixar Cars movies, she also voices Lizzie, the first Radiator Springs resident who was married to the town’s founder and owns the town’s curio shop. She starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s penultimate film, Family Plot, as well as Garry Marshall’s Overboard, Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, Brazil, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

The star performed in four Broadway productions, getting a Tony nomination for her performance as Margaret in Eugene O’Neill’s The Great God Brown revival in 1972.

Private Lives (1969), Don Juan (1972), and Mixed Emotions (1993) are among her other Broadway credits. The Vagina Monologues and The Trip to Bountiful were her Off-Broadway credits.

Katherine Helmond’s personal life

Katherine Helmond was born in Galveston, Texas, on July 5, 1929, and showed an early interest in acting. Before making her stage debut in Shakespeare’s As You Like It in 1955, she appeared in a number of school productions. She spent seven years playing with Hartford Stage Company in Hartford, Connecticut, and Trinity Repertory Theater in Providence, Rhode Island.

Katherine Helmond decided to follow the production to Los Angeles, where she was found by talent agencies and landed her first television part, guest-starring in an episode of Gunsmoke, after winning the Drama Critics Award for her Off-Broadway performance in John Guare’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play The House of Blue Leaves.

At the Hampton Playhouse Summer Stock Theater, where he was the set designer and she was the female lead, she met her husband of 57 years, David Christian. They married in 1962 and stayed together till her death.

Danza said he last spoke with Helmond about a month ago and played the ukelele for her while singing ‘I Go to Pieces’ “Christian nicknamed myself the Jessica Whisperer”I’m going to miss her badly,

Katherine Helmond is survived by her husband, Alice Parry, her half-sister, and several nephews and nieces. A memorial gathering for family and friends is being arranged to honor her life and accomplishments.

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