Actress Katherine Helmond of TV’s ‘Soap,’ ‘Who’s the Boss?’ dies at 89

Actress Katherine Helmond, a seven-time Emmy Award nominee who played lusty matriarchs on the hit television sitcoms Soap and Who’s the Boss from the 1970s into the 1990s, died last month at the age of 89, her talent agency said on Friday.

Helmond, who also delivered a memorable turn as a vain woman obsessed with plastic surgery in director Terry Gilliam’s dystopian film Brazil (1985), died February 23 at her Los Angeles home due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

 

“My beautiful, kind, funny, gracious, compassionate, rock,” Alyssa Milano, who starred alongside Helmond in Who’s the Boss, said on Twitter. “You were an instrumental part of my life. You taught me to hold my head above the marsh! You taught me to do anything for a laugh! What an example you were!”

Helmond was in her 40s and had already been nominated for a Tony Award for her work on Broadway before landing a starring role on Soap, a prime-time parody of daytime soap operas that ran on the ABC network for four seasons from 1977 to 1981.

She then starred on Who’s the Boss? on ABC with Milano, Tony Danza and Judith Light from 1984 to 1992, followed by recurring roles on sitcoms Coach starring Craig T. Nelson from 1995 to 1997 and Everybody Loves Raymond with Ray Romano from 1996 to 2004.