Emmy-nominee Katherine Helmond, star of beloved sitcom SOAP, has passed away at the age of 89. The actress died of complications from Alzheimer’s at her home in Los Angeles on February 23, according to multiple reports.
Helmond starred as matriarch Jessica Tate on SOAP, created by Susan Harris (The Golden Girls). The sitcom poked fun at daytime soaps, but the show was filled with many serious and poignant moments, too.
Helmond’s also known for her role as fun-loving Mona, Judith Light’s TV mom on the long-running sitcom Who’s The Boss? which starred Light, Tony Danza, Alyssa Milano and Danny Pintauro. Who’s The Boss? ran from 1984-1992.
In a statement, published in Variety, Light said that “Katherine Helmond was a remarkable human being and an extraordinary artist; generous, gracious, charming, and profoundly funny. She taught me so much about life and inspired me indelibly by watching her work. Katherine was a gift to our business and to the world, and will be deeply missed.”
More recently, Helmond recurred as Lois Whelan, the mother of Patricia Heaton’s Debra on Everybody Loves Raymond.
Helmond was born in Galveston, Island in Texas on July 5, 1929. Her mother and father split a few years after she was born. In addition to her work on the screen, Helmond also appeared on the stage. She won a Tony Award for her performance in 1973 in The Great God Brown by Eugene O’Neill.
After performing on stage on the east coast, Helmond moved to Los Angeles and worked regularly in television.
She is survived by her husband, David Christian, a set designer. They met at the Hampton Playhouse Summer Stock Theater and were married for 57 years.
Soap Hub sends deep condolences to Christian, Helmond’s other family, friends, and loved ones.