Katherine Helmond, who co-starred in TV's Soap and Who's the Boss, died February 23rd from complications of Alzheimers. She was 89.
The Galveston, Texas native had spent nearly a quarter-century before the cameras when she landed the breakthrough role of Jessica Tate in Soap. Her ditzy Jessica was one of several out-of-the-box characters on the spoof of daytime dramas. It landed her Emmy nominations in all four of its seasons. The series also featured a little-known Billy Crystal as her nephew and TV's first openly gay character.
After its four-season run, Helmond moved on to Who's the Boss as Mona, the mother of ad woman Judith Light.
Diana Canova, who played Helmond's daughter on Soap, tells us exclusively: "I am beyond sad at losing Katherine. She was incredibly wise, so intensely generous in spirit and love and had a talent that was limitless. I will always cherish the time I spent working with her even though it never seemed like work, more like a master class in acting and in life."
Helmond later had recurring roles in Coach and Everybody Loves Raymond.