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Marg Helgenberger

Marg Helgenberger

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Also Known As: Mary Margaret Helgenberger Died:
Born: November 16, 1958 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Fremont, Nebraska, USA Profession: actor, meat packing plant worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A comely, red-haired leading lady with an open-faced, forceful manner, Marg Helgenberger began on the small screen as the feisty rookie police officer Siobhan Ryan on ABC's Irish-flavored daytime soap, "Ryan's Hope." After some primetime guest spots, she landed a regular role supporting Margot Kidder and James Reid on the short-lived CBS series about two former con artists, "Shell Game" (1987). She fared better with her second series, winning an Emmy for the provocative Vietnam War drama, "China Beach" (1988-91). As K.C., a prostitute who attaches herself to a M.A.S.H. unit in Vietnam, Helgenberger brought forthright feminist insights to her brash, hard-bitten character. Though she would have a recurring role as George Clooney's love interest on NBC's popular medical drama "ER" in 1996, she had to wait for her return as a series regular until the Las Vegas-set "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ). Cast as senior forensics investigator Catherine Willows, who tries to balance work and motherhood, the actress enjoyed a meaty role that earned her an Emmy nomination in its first season. After making her feature debut as an all-night answering service operator in the mediocre anthology thriller...

A comely, red-haired leading lady with an open-faced, forceful manner, Marg Helgenberger began on the small screen as the feisty rookie police officer Siobhan Ryan on ABC's Irish-flavored daytime soap, "Ryan's Hope." After some primetime guest spots, she landed a regular role supporting Margot Kidder and James Reid on the short-lived CBS series about two former con artists, "Shell Game" (1987). She fared better with her second series, winning an Emmy for the provocative Vietnam War drama, "China Beach" (1988-91). As K.C., a prostitute who attaches herself to a M.A.S.H. unit in Vietnam, Helgenberger brought forthright feminist insights to her brash, hard-bitten character. Though she would have a recurring role as George Clooney's love interest on NBC's popular medical drama "ER" in 1996, she had to wait for her return as a series regular until the Las Vegas-set "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ). Cast as senior forensics investigator Catherine Willows, who tries to balance work and motherhood, the actress enjoyed a meaty role that earned her an Emmy nomination in its first season.

After making her feature debut as an all-night answering service operator in the mediocre anthology thriller "After Midnight," Helgenberger had a small role in Steven Spielberg's engaging fantasy "Always" (both 1989). But her bread-and-butter through the 90s were TV-movies and miniseries, many of which were made for the Lifetime Channel: "Death Dreams" (1991), "A Friend in Need" segment of "The Hidden Room" series (1991), "Lie Down with the Lions" (1994), "Giving Up the Ghost" (1998), and "Keys to Her Past" (1999) to name a few. Though "Stephen King's The Tommyknockers" (ABC, 1993) was not one of the better made-for-TV King adaptations, "Peacemaker" (PBS, 1991) was a thoughtful drama of life in the nuclear 1950s, and the CBS drama "In Sickness and in Health" (1992) offered her the plum role of Mickey, the lusty caretaker who befriends her charge (Lesley Ann Warren) suffering from multiple sclerosis, only to betray that trust by sleeping with her husband (Tom Skerritt). Her leading role in "The Cowboy Way" (1994) offered Helgenberger some feature exposure, as did "Species" (1995) and its regrettable 1998 sequel "Species II," "My Fellow American" (1996) and "Fire Down Below" (1997), but nothing about her work in these films would erase perceptions of her as a TV actress.

With Tom Hanks' "I'll Be Waiting" (1993) segment of the "Fallen Angels" series, Helgenberger began an association with Showtime which would include Peter Weller's "Partners" (1994, from the "Directed By" series), "Conundrum" (1996), "Elmore Leonard's Gold Coast" (1997), "Thanks of a Grateful Nation" (1998) and "Happy Face Murders" (1999). Excellent as the sex-starved widow of "Gold Coast," in which she rejoined Weller, she delivered arguably her best performance as the sister of a veteran felled by Gulf War Syndrome in the critically-acclaimed "Thanks of a Grateful Nation." She was equally terrific in NBC's "Murder Live!" (1997) as shallow talk-show host Pia Postman and "Perfect Town, Perfect Murder" (2000), a thoughtful CBS miniseries look into the killing of JonBenet Ramsey. That year also found her in her biggest feature success to date, playing the woman whose medical condition leads Julia Roberts to uncover evidence of corporate wrongdoing in Steven Soderbergh's "Erin Brockovich." She appeared next in the critically acclaimed comedy-drama by PaulWeitz, "In Good Company" (2004), in which she played the pregnant wife of a recently demoted executive (Dennis Quad).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Columbus Day (2009)
2.
 Mr. Brooks (2007)
3.
 In Good Company (2004) Ann Foreman
4.
 Erin Brockovich (2000) Donna Jensen
5.
 Keys to Her Past (1999) Maureen "Kick" Kickasola
6.
 Lethal Vows (1999) Ellen Farris
7.
 Happy Face Murders (1999) Jennifer Powell
8.
 Giving Up the Ghost (1998) Anne Hobson
9.
 Species II (1998) Doctor Laura Baker
10.
 Fire Down Below (1997) Sarah Kellogg
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in North Bend, NE; worked part-time in a meat packing plant
:
Made first TV appearance as a nightly local news weather girl in her hometown Nebraska (billed as Margi McCarty)
1981:
Performed in a campus production of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew"
1982:
Landed first professional acting role, playing rookie cop Siobhan Ryan on the daytime drama "Ryan's Hope" (ABC)
1987:
Played the regular role of Natalie Thayer in the short-lived CBS comedy-drama, "Shell Game"
1988:
First prominent role was as Karen Charlene "K.C." Koloski, a heroin-addicted prostitute on the ABC war drama "China Beach"; nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1991, 1992)
1989:
Made feature film debut in one segment of the horror anthology "After Midnight"
1989:
Had a small role in Steven Spielberg's romantic comedy-drama "Always"
1990:
Made TV-movie debut, "Blind Vengeance" (USA Network)
1991:
Acted in Michael Bortman's adaptation of Robert Boswell's novel "Crooked Hearts"
1993:
Portrayed a novelist living in a haunted forest in the ABC miniseries, "The Tommyknockers"
1993:
Acted opposite Bruno Kirby in "I'll Be Waiting," a Tom Hanks directed segment of Showtime's "Fallen Angels"
1994:
Played Woody Harrelson's love interest in "The Cowboy Way"
1995:
Portrayed molecular biologist Laura Baker in "Species"
1996:
Appeared as James Garner's book editor in "My Fellow Americans"
1996:
Had a recurring role as George Clooney's love interest on NBC's medical drama "ER"
1997:
Portrayed sex-starved widow to David Caruso's small-time crook in Showtime¿s "Elmore Leonard's Gold Coast"
1997:
Played Pia Postman, the shallow, vain, heavily made-up talk show host in the NBC TV-movie "Murder Live!"
1998:
Reprised role as Dr. Baker in the sequel bomb "Species II"
1998:
Played Steven Weber's irate sister in Showtime's miniseries about the elusive Gulf War Syndrome, "Thanks of a Grateful Nation"
2000:
Portrayed Patsy Ramsey in the CBS miniseries about the killing of Jon Benet Ramsey "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town"
2000:
Cast in a featured role opposite Julia Roberts in the Oscar-winning film "Erin Brockovich"
2000:
Returned to series television as Catherine Willows on the CBS drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"; earned Best Actress Golden Globe (2002) and Emmy (2003) nominations
2004:
Starred opposite Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson in the comedy "In Good Company"
2007:
Cast as Kevin Costner's wife in the thriller "Mr. Brooks"
2008:
Acted opposite Val Kilmer in the heist thriller "Columbus Day"
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Education

Kearney State College: Kearney , Nebraska -
Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois - 1982
Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois - 1982

Notes

Her first name is pronounced with a hard "G".

"China Beach" co-star Concetta Tomei on Helgenberger: "There's no BS about Marg. She's fiesty, direct and down home." --quoted in People, July 1, 1991.

About working on the set of "ER": "The smell of testosterone is very heavy on that set. There's a lot of one-upmanship and that put-each-other-down thing that guys do, but it's fun. George [Clooney] likes to have a good time. I think that's his M.O. in life."

As for Clooney's housemate, a 150-lb. pig named Max: "He got him when he was living with Kelly Preston. When we lived next door to Jason Patric, he and [then gal pal] Julia Roberts got a pig, too. When they broke up, Jason kept the pig. When George and Kelly broke up, he kept the pig. The guy always ends up with the pig. I wonder what that means?" --Marg Helgenberger to People, May 6, 1996.

On her approach portraying Patsy Ramsey (mother of slain six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet) in the miniseries "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town": "I just cleared the slate and thought of her as a mother and went from there." --Helgengerber quoted in People, January 22, 2001.

Though she plays a crime scene investigator who comes across often gruesome scenes on "CSI", Helgenberger admits: "I'm relatively squeamish in civilian life. I've been very fortunate not to have to deal with such things in my immediate family. When we're filming autopsy scenes, I actually feel sad. Behind each of these death's there's usually a back story of unhappiness and loss. We use a guidebook the Las Vegas police put together that's incredibly graphic. Looking at the pictures can make me turn white. If I'm going over the script at home, my husband will ask, 'Are you all right?'" --to Parade, April 22, 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Alan Rosenberg. Actor. Born on October 4, 1951; met when both were acting on the daytime soap opera "Ryan's Hope" (ABC); became reacquainted in 1986 after his divorce from actor Robin Bartlett; married in 1989.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Hugh Helgenberger. Meat inspector. Died in 1986 of multiple sclerosis.
mother:
Kay Helgenberger. Nurse. Born c. 1936.
sister:
Ann Helgenberger. Jazz musician. Born c. 1956.
brother:
Curt Helgenberger. Meat inspector, horse trainer. Born c. 1961; trains quarter horses.
son:
Hugh Howard Rosenberg. Born on October 21, 1990.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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