Katherine Helmond who won a place in our hearts for her endearing portrayals of some of our favorite sitcom characters has died at age 89. She was reportedly suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
TMZ broke the news to heartbroken fans on Friday afternoon.
“Katherine Helmond, the Tony-winning actress who played the ditzy Tate matriarch on the groundbreaking 1970s comedy ‘Soap’ and starred on ‘Who’s the Boss?’ among many other roles, died February 23 of Alzheimer’s complications at her home in Los Angeles. She was 89. APA announced the news.”
I first discovered Katherine when she played the flighty Jessica Tate in the late-70s spoof of daytime dramas. She received four Emmy nominations for her work on the brilliant and daring ‘Soap.’
Her costars included Billy Crystal and Robert Guillaume and tackled many controversial (for the times) topics such as homosexuality, divorce, murder, and amnesia. The show ran for four years, 1977-1981.
Then, three years later, she created her second iconic sitcom role, as n the Judith Light, Tony Danza, Alyssa Milano vehicle, ‘Who’s the Boss.’ She was nominated twice for the Emmy for her portrayal of the vivacious yet wise ‘Mona.’
Helmond also made one bittersweet appearance on the ‘Soap’ spin-off, ‘Benson,’ in which she appeared as a ghost to Robert Guillaume’s character, her best friend on ‘Soap.’
“RIP, Katherine Helmond. SOAP ended with her character facing death, so when she turned up on BENSON, it was as a ghost-like figure only Benson could see. Good luck making it through this one dry-eyed:”
She wasn’t done yet, though. She also made guest appearances on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ as Debra’s mother, Lois.
Katherine’s career in show business spanned five decades, appearing on television, the big screen, and Broadway. In fact, she won a Tony Award in 1972 for “Best Supporting or Featured Actress for playing Margaret in the ‘The Great God Brown.’
In between starring gigs, Helmond kept busy appearing on just about every television show during the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s - from ‘Car 54 Where Are You?’ and ‘The Rookies,’ to ’The Love Boat,’ ‘Barnaby Jones,’ and ‘Fantasy Island.’ She also did a little voice work as Lizzie in all three Disney ‘Cars’ films.
Katherine is survived by her husband of 57 years, David Christian.
Friends, fans, and costars have posted tributes to Katherine on social media, making it even more clear just what an exceptional actress and human being she was. There’s no doubt she will be missed terribly!
“Katherine Helmond has passed away.
"My beautiful, kind, funny, gracious, compassionate, rock. You were an instrumental part of my life. You taught me to hold my head above the marsh! You taught me to do anything for a laugh! What an example you were!
"Rest In Peace, Katherine."
“My girl Jessica Tate 😢. Katherine Helmond is an icon. So grateful I found the show SOAP in college and made the DVDs part of my nightly ritual. Rest in Power.”
Please join us in praying for all those who are grieving today over the loss of the beloved Katherine Helmond.