Marg Helgenberger 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 “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).
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. 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 2 additional years. In July 2010, her contract was again renewed for an 11th Season with CSI.Related Information: