Actress Katherine Helmond has died at the age of 89, according to Variety.
The actress passed away on February 23 due to complications from Alzheimer’s Disease while at home in Los Angeles.
She starred on the hit series Who’s The Boss? from 1984 until 1992 as well as roles in Coach, Everybody Loves Raymond, Overboard, Coach, Soap, Brazil, the Cars franchise and Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot.
Her former Who’s The Boss? co-star Alyssa Milano took to Twitter after the announcement of her passing.
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. pic.twitter.com/HNIH0Ty6MN
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 1, 2019
Katherine Helmond was born Katherine Marie Helmond on July 5, 1929, in Galveston, Texas, the only child of Thelma (née Malone; May 13, 1910 – October 10, 1981) and Joseph P. Helmond (March 11, 1904 – January 31, 1983). She was raised by her mother and grandmother, both devout Roman Catholics. She attended a Catholic primary school and appeared in numerous school plays.
For a semester she attended Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC and appeared in their film (Unusual Films Production) Wine of Morning.
Helmond had supporting roles in films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot (1976) and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985). She also voiced Lizzie in the three Cars films by Disney/Pixar.
After her stage debut in As You Like It, Helmond began working in New York in 1955. She later ran a summer theatre in the Catskills for three seasons and taught acting in university theatre programs. She made her television debut in 1962, but would not achieve a high profile until the 1970s. She also acted on stage, earning a Tony nomination for her performance on Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s The Great God Brown (1973). Other Broadway productions include Private Lives, Don Juan and Mixed Emotions.
Helmond appeared in such feature films as Family Plot (1976) and Brazil (1985), in which she played the mother of Jonathan Pryce’s character. She went on to direct four episodes of the television series Benson as well as one episode of Who’s the Boss? (1984). She picked up Emmy nominations for her role as Mona Robinson in Who’s the Boss and as Lois Whelan in Everybody Loves Raymond. She also received acclaim for her stage performance in Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.
Helmond appeared in The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975) as Emma Borden, the title character’s sister. She appeared in an episode of the short-lived 1976 CBS adventure series, Spencer’s Pilots, starring Gene Evans. Helmond gained prominence as Jessica Tate, the ditzy matriarch of the Tate family in Soap (1977–1981) on ABC. From 1984 to 1992, she played the role of Mona Robinson on the ABC sitcom Who’s the Boss?. The show was a ratings success, running for eight seasons and finishing in the Nielsen ‘Top 10’ four straight years. In 1993, she appeared in one episode of the British version of Who’s the Boss?, The Upper Hand.
From 1995 to 1997, she starred in the ABC sitcom Coach as Doris Sherman, eccentric owner of the fictional Orlando Breakers professional football team. From 1996 to 2004, she had a recurring role on Everybody Loves Raymond as Lois Whelan (Ray Barone’s mother-in-law). On July 25, 2010, she guest-starred on A&E’s The Glades. She also guest starred as Caroline Bellefleur on HBO’s True Blood.
She was nominated for Broadway’s 1973 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for Eugene O’Neill’s The Great God Brown. She was nominated for an Emmy for her role on Soap four times in a row (1978–1981) as Best Actress in a Comedy Series. In 1988 and 1989, she was nominated as Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on Who’s the Boss?. In 2002, she was nominated as Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Everybody Loves Raymond.
In 1957, Helmond married George N. Martin. After their divorce, she married her second husband, David Christian, in 1962, and they remained married until her death, residing in Los Angeles, New York City, Long Island, and London. She and her husband had a history as students of Zen.
Helmond died February 23, 2019, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease at her home in Los Angeles. Her death was announced a week later.