Marg Helgenberger

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Marg Helgenberger

Marg Helgenberger, November 2007
BornMary Marg Helgenberger
(1958-11-16) November 16, 1958 (age 54)
Fremont, Nebraska, U.S.
Other namesMary Helgenberger
Years active1975–present
Spouse(s)Alan Rosenberg (1989–2010; div.; 1 child)
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Marg Helgenberger

Marg Helgenberger, November 2007
BornMary Marg Helgenberger
(1958-11-16) November 16, 1958 (age 54)
Fremont, Nebraska, U.S.
Other namesMary Helgenberger
Years active1975–present
Spouse(s)Alan Rosenberg (1989–2010; div.; 1 child)

Mary Marg Helgenberger[1] (born November 16, 1958) is an American film and television actress known for her roles as Catherine Willows in the CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and as K.C. Koloski in the ABC drama China Beach, which earned her the 1990 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.


Early life

Marg (pronounced with a hard "G") Helgenberger was born in Fremont, Nebraska and raised in North Bend, Nebraska. She graduated from North Bend Central High School. She is the daughter of Mary Kay (née Bolte), a nurse, and Hugh Helgenberger, a meat inspector.[2][3] Helgenberger is of Irish and German descent[4] and had a Roman Catholic upbringing.[5] Marg has one older sister named Ann and a younger brother named Curt. Helgenberger played the French horn in her high school marching band. Until she went to college, Helgenberger aspired to be a nurse, as had her mother. Marg attended Kearney State College (now the University of Nebraska at Kearney) in Kearney, Nebraska, then attended Northwestern University's School of Speech in Evanston, Illinois (now the School of Communication) and earned a B.S. degree in speech and drama.[6]


Helgenberger at the 1990 Emmy Awards

Helgenberger began as a nightly weather girl at KHGI-TV in Kearney, Nebraska, while attending college (her name was changed by the producer to Margi McCarty). During the summer she also worked as a deboner at her father's meat packing plant. After portraying the role of Blanche Dubois in a university production of A Streetcar Named Desire, she developed an interest in acting.

While performing in a summer 1981 NU campus productions of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, in which she played Kate, Marg was spotted by a scout for the TV soap opera Ryan's Hope. Soon after completing college, Marg landed her first professional role on the long-running ABC Daytime soap opera, playing amateur cop Siobhan Ryan Novak (1982–1986), a role previously played by Sarah Felder and Ann Gillespie. Helgenberger departed Ryan's Hope in January 1986 and was replaced in the role of Siobhan by Carrell Myers and Barbara Blackburn.

Helgenberger guest starred in an episode of ABC's mystery/detective series based on Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels, Spenser: For Hire, NBC's legal drama Matlock and ABC's drama thirtysomething. She also played a regular role as Natalie Thayer, opposite Margot Kidder and James Read, on CBS’ six-episode drama comedy series Shell Game (1987).

Karen Charlene "K.C." Koloski, a heroin-addicted prostitute on the ABC war drama series China Beach, was Marg’s first prominent role. Her performance from 1988 to 1991 won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1990.

In 1989, Helgenberger made her feature film debut in a leading role as an all-night answering service operator in one segment of the Wheat brothers’ horror anthology After Midnight. She followed it up with a role in Steven Spielberg's romantic comedy-drama Always (starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, and John Goodman), a modern version of the original 1943 Victor Fleming film A Guy Named Joe.

During the early to mid 1990s, Marg played roles in Michael Bortman's adaptation of Robert Boswell's novel, Crooked Hearts (1991; with Peter Berg, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Noah Wyle and Peter Coyote), Gregg Champion's action comedy The Cowboy Way (1994), in which she played Woody Harrelson's love interest, and had a small role as Capt. Alison Sinclair in Michael Bay's action comedy film starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, Bad Boys (1995). She also played Dr. Laura Baker, a molecular biologist, in Roger Donaldson's sci-fi thriller, Species (1995), and reprised the role in the sequel, Species II (1998).

During that time, Helgenberger had roles in such television films as Blind Vengeance, Lifetime’s Death Dreams, PBS’ historical documentary Not on the Frontline (as a narrator) and CBS’ In Sickness and in Health. She was also seen opposite Bruno Kirby in I'll Be Waiting, a segment of Showtime's Fallen Angels helmed by Tom Hanks, and as a novelist on the ABC miniseries Stephen King's The Tommyknockers opposite Jimmy Smits. She was also seen in the CBS miniseries When Love Kills: The Seduction of John Hearn and made her first collaboration with director Peter Weller in Showtime's Partners. After playing a recurring role as George Clooney's love interest on NBC's medical drama ER, Marg became David Caruso's sex-starved widow on Showtime’s Elmore Leonard's Gold Coast, helmed by Weller, and starred as a woman involved with Steven Seagal in the 1997 action film Fire Down Below. She also starred as a talk show host on Murder Live and portrayed the furious sibling to Steven Weber's character on Showtime's miniseries about the elusive Gulf War Syndrome, Thanks of a Grateful Nation. She also starred opposite Ann-Margret in Showtime's Happy Face Murders.

In 2000, Helgenberger made a guest appearance in the Valentine's Day episode of Frasier, in which Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) finally wears down his dad Martin's resistance and gets the older man to accompany him to the opera. Actually, this invitation is but a smokescreen, so that Frasier can "accidentally" run into his newest dream girl Emily (Helgenberger).

Helgenberger co-starred in the role of Catherine Willows, a former show girl employed as a blood spatter analyst on the CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Her performance as the female lead has earned her two Emmy Award and two Golden Globe nominations. In 2005, she and her fellow cast members won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

When CSI first started filming, Helgenberger visited the Clark County Coroner’s Office to learn about role, even viewing autopsies in progress. Helgenberger got the chance to act with her husband, Alan Rosenberg, again when he guest starred on CSI, Season 5 ("Weeping Willows") and Season 7 ("Leaving Las Vegas").

During her stint on the hit show, Helgenberger supported Julia Roberts in the film Erin Brockovich and portrayed Patsy Ramsey in the CBS miniseries about the mysterious murder of 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant JonBenét Ramsey in Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. She also starred as Dennis Quaid’s wife and Scarlett Johansson’s mother in writer-director Paul Weitz's romantic drama comedy In Good Company (2004) and appeared on Pond's Smooth Perfection Skin Cream 2005 print ad.

In 2005, Universal Studios submitted Helgenberger in the best supporting actress category to the Oscars for her performance as Ann Foreman in the 2004 movie In Good Company. In 2007, she was featured in the movies Conan: Red Nails (as the voice of Princess Tascela) and Mr. Brooks. In Mr. Brooks her character's daughter is played by Danielle Panabaker, the sister of Kay Panabaker, who plays Catherine Willow's daughter on CSI.

In mid 2006, Helgenberger’s hometown of North Bend, Nebraska, population 1213, renamed the street on which Helgenberger had her childhood home "Helgenberger Avenue."

In animation, she lent her voice as Greek goddess Hera on DC Universe straight-to-video feature Wonder Woman.[7]

Helgenberger is the unrequited love interest of the bespectacled amphibian Buddy in Mark Heath's Spot the Frog comic strip.

In 2008, she renewed her CSI contract with CBS for two additional years.[8] In July 2010, her contract was renewed for an eleventh season with CSI.[9] Following William Petersen's departure from CSI, Helgenberger became one of the two highest paid actors in any of the CSI shows (Vegas, Miami, NY), earning $375,000 per episode, the same as David Caruso, and $25,000 more per episode than Laurence Fishburne.[10] Helgenberger only appeared in the first twelve episodes of the twelfth season of CSI, as she wants to return to the stage. The producers said they left the door open for Helgenberger if she wants to return. Helgenberger left the show on January 25, during a two-part episode ("Ms. Willows Regrets" and "Willows in the Wind"). The last one was the most watched episode of the season with 14.26 million viewers.[11]

Media spotlight

Helgenberger continues to be included in lists of Hollywood's Most Beautiful. In 2002, she was listed on People magazine’s "50 Most Beautiful People",[12] she was included in Esquire magazine’s “5 More Women We Love” in 2002,[13] she ranks No. 16 on VH1's 40 Hottest Women over 40,[14] number 15 of The 25 Most Attractive (Famous) Women in America in 2004, in 2004 she ranked number 35, 30, 29, 20, 17, 12 and 9 on The Glamour Girls Hot 100 due to her movie In Good Company and her TV Guide cover. She was on the list for about 10 weeks and spent 1 week on the top ten. She is the 4th oldest woman to be in the top ten.

Her character on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Catherine Willows, along with the character of Gil Grissom, was named number 82 in "Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters".[15] On March 2006, Catherine Willows was named number 6 on The Star's Top Ten Hottests TV Characters.

In 2007, she was named one of the most pleasant celebrities on E! online's Answer B!tch Q&A page.[16] In March 2007, Helgenberger was named one of the sexiest TV stars of 2007 by TV Guide magazine.[17] Entertainment Weekly included her in the list of "The EW 100 Stars We Love Right Now" in 2007.[18]

In April 2008, Helgenberger was chosen as an endorser of the Got Milk? campaign.[19]

In December 2009, Forbes magazine placed Helgenberger third amongst prime-time's top-earning women with estimated earnings of $9.5 million dollars, after Tyra Banks and Katherine Heigl.[20]

Helgenberger received the 2,458th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 23, 2012 for her television work.[21][22]

Personal life

In 1984, Helgenberger met Alan Rosenberg, a guest actor on Ryan's Hope. The two became friends and started dating in 1986. They married in 1989 and have one son, Hugh Howard Rosenberg (born 1990), named after Helgenberger's late father. On December 1, 2008, the couple announced that they were separating, and on March 25, 2009, she filed for divorce.[23][24] Their divorce was finalized in February 2010.[25]

As a result of Helgenberger's mother's 27-year battle against breast cancer, Helgenberger and Rosenberg became involved in the fight against breast cancer. Marg helped her mother fight breast cancer.They have hosted a benefit called Marg and Alan's Celebrity Weekend annually in Omaha since 1999.


Guest appearances

Awards and nominations

Blockbuster Entertainment Award

Emmy Award

Golden Globe Award

Satellite Awards

People's Choice Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

TV Guide Awards

Viewers For Quality Television Awards


  1. ^ Playboy > 20 Questions Marg Helgenberger[dead link]
  2. ^ Marg Helgenberger Biography (1958–). Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  3. ^ Marg Helgenberger Biography – Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  4. ^ Watson, Bret. (1996-05-17) HELGENBERGER HELPER | E/R | Television News | TV | Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  5. ^ Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  6. ^ A&E Biography: MARG HELGENBERGER: DON’T CALL ME MARGBiography (TV series) TV Episode Premiere Date: April 2, 2003 PRODUCED BY: CBS News Productions for A&E Network
  7. ^ Wonder Woman. Comics Continuum (2008-12-18). Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  8. ^ Helgenberger renews 'CSI' contract, USA Today, 2008.
  9. ^ "Marg Helgenberger Renews CSI Contract".
  10. ^ How Much Do Your Favorite TV Stars Get Paid?. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  11. ^ Seidman, Robert (January 26, 2012). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'American Idol,' 'Criminal Minds,' 'CSI' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  12. ^ > 50 Most Beautiful 2002 Vol. 15 No. 18. People (2002-05-13). Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  13. ^ > 5 Women We Love. Esquire (2002-10-01). Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  14. ^ > 40 Hottest Over 40. VH1. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  15. ^ Bravo > 100 Greatest TV Characters.
  16. ^ E!News Online> Who are the most pleasant, and unpleasant, celebs?. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  17. ^ > TV Guide's Sexiest Stars. TV Squad. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  18. ^ Entertainment Weekly > The EW 100 Stars We Love Right Now. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  19. ^ Milk Mustache Celebrities > Marg Helgenberger
  20. ^ Rose, Lacey (December 10, 2009). "In Pictures: Prime-Time's 10 Top-Earning Women". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  21. ^ News Updates | Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  22. ^ "Marg Helgenberger Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame". January 23, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  23. ^ Lee, Ken. (2009-03-25) CSI Star Marg Helgenberger Files for Divorce. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  24. ^ Fleeman, Mike (2008-12-02). "Marg Helgenberger and husband separate after 19 years". People Magazine.,,20243537,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  25. ^ Rebecca Davies (December 28, 2009). "'CSI' star's divorce final by February". Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  26. ^ The Tommyknockers (TV 1993).

External links