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Katherine Helmond Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (65) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 5 July 1929Galveston, Texas, USA
Birth NameKatherine Marie Helmond
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Katherine Marie Helmond was born on July 5, 1929, in Galveston, Texas. She was raised by her mother, Thelma Malone, and her grandmother; they were Irish Catholics. Young Katherine attended Catholic school, and appeared in numerous school plays and pageants. She took a job at a local theater while still in high school, hammering and sawing the scenery, cleaning the bathrooms and pulling the curtain.

Since her stage debut in "As You Like It", she worked in New York theatres during the 1950s and 1960s. She operated a summer theatre in the Catskills for three seasons and also taught acting in university theatre programs. She made her TV debut in 1962 but had to wait another 10 years until her breakthrough came in the 1970s. She stayed busy on TV as well as on stage and earned a Tony nomination for "The Great God Brown" (1973) on Broadway. She honed her acting abilities with Alfred Hitchcock in Family Plot (1976) and in numerous TV series, notably in ABC's cult sitcom Soap (1977), for which she had four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe. On the big screen she starred in Brazil (1985) as Jonathan Pryce's mother who is addicted to plastic surgery and snooping in her son's messed-up life.

In 1983 she studied at the Directing Workshop of the American Film Institute and then directed four episodes of the series Benson (1979) as well as episodes of Who's the Boss? (1984). She also picked up Emmy nominations for her role as Mona Robinson, a liberated grandmother in "Who's the Boss?", and as Lois in Everybody Loves Raymond (1996). Although Helmond has been a bona-fide TV star since her "Soap" days, she continued working on stage in the 2000s and was acclaimed for her performances in "The Vagina Monologues".

Katherine Helmond was married twice. She has no children. Although she was raised in a Catholic family, she turned to Buddhism in later years. She shares her time between her home in Los Angeles and homes in New York and London.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (2)

David Christian (1962 - present)
George Martin (1957 - 1962) (divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Deep, sultry voice
Natural red hair
Frequently playing glamourous mother, who didn't give a darn about them.

Trivia (65)

Of Irish Catholic extraction on the side of her late mother, Thelma Malone.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1973 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for "The Great God Brown."
Best known by the public for her starring role as Jessica Tate on Soap (1977) and for her role as Mona Robinson on Who's the Boss? (1984).
Acting mentor and friends of: Diana Canova, Billy Crystal and Ted Wass.
Is close friends with Robert Mandan, who frequently goes to plays with her.
Had a lot of fun, doing Soap (1977); while staying up late at night doing scenes.
She was the highest-paid entertainer on Soap (1977).
Was involved in every writing of the script of Soap (1977), which also involved every camera angles and shots.
Her father, Joseph Patrick Helmond was a firefighter, and her mother, Thelma Malone Helmond, was a housewife.
Was called 'Little Patty,' by her father.
When Helmond was asked to read for the lead role of Jessica Tate on Soap (1977), the casting director said, "Can she be funny?" Helmond had never seen her character to be funny, when the casting director said her character was funny.
Began acting at an early age.
Is one of the two actors to appear in every episode of Soap (1977).
Was named after both of her aunts.
Attended the 80th Birthday Party of Robert Guillaume, in 2007.
Graduated from Ball High School in Galveston, Texas, in 1947.
Had always wanted to become an actress.
She was told by Susan Harris, when in 1981, that Season 4 of Soap (1977) would be its last year, knowing how far the sitcom would go, after she knew Soap (1977) was suppose to last only five seasons, especially when ABC was interested in renewing the season for 1 more year, all the cliffhangers in the final season would've been resolved, but got scrapped.
On Soap (1977), her character, Jessica Tate, was the idea of her friend of her mother's, who wasn't her aunt, in real-life.
Started acting at a Catholic school.
Her mother was so concerned about young Katherine's chance to go to Hollywood, to become an actress.
Before she was a successful actress, she used to work at a Community Theater in Galveston, Texas.
Has 2 sisters.
Was born to a working-class family.
Owned homes in both New York City and in Los Angeles.
She won the lead role of Jessica Tate on Soap (1977), because of her experience in comedy in summer stock.
She attended the Broadway play, "And I Always Will," with her ex-Soap (1977) co-star, Diana Canova, in Redding, Connecticut.
For a time, she lived in New York City, New York.
Her birthplace, Galveston, Texas, is 50 miles south of Houston, Texas.
She's close friends with Tony Danza. She frequently talks on the phone with him.
Is a Republican.
Began her show Soap (1977) at age 48.
She was a shy child.
At one point, prior to her birth, she thought about changing her name, because her real name was formal; but she chose not to.
Between Soap (1977) and Who's the Boss? (1984), she had roles on television for 15 consecutive seasons.
Her father, Joseph Helmond, died on January 31, 1983, who lived to be 78.
Before she was a successful actress and director, she used to work at the Houston Playhouse in Houston, Texas.
As Helmond got older, she was fortunate enough to send her 2 sisters to college, because as she realized; it was an asset for both men and women to go to school and learn as much as they could.
A woman from Houston Playhouse saw Helmond in a play and told her to become a professional actress, fortunately for her, she became one.
Her favorite show to date was Soap (1977).
Was referred by Tony Danza as a 'big sister.'.
Her mother, Thelma Helmond, passed away on October 10, 1981, who lived to be 71.
Has preferred to work on the stage, because of the actors's medium.
She was raised by both her mother and grandmother.
When she reprised her role as Jessica Tate on Benson (1979), she received a lot of mail about her character being placed in a firing squad.
Has no children.
Briefly attended Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
Played the same character, Jessica Tate, on 2 series: Soap (1977) and it's spin-off series Benson (1979).
One of Tony Danza's daughters was named after her.
Began acting on television when she was 33.
Remained good friends with Diana Canova, Billy Crystal and Ted Wass, after the cancellation of Soap (1977).
Her mother, Thelma Helmond, passed away just 6 months after the cancellation of Soap (1977).
At age 34, Helmond moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1963, to continue pursuing her acting career.
The older of 2 sisters.
She and her husband, David Christian, have a history of students of zen.
Helmond was not the only Soap (1977) member to be a Texan, the show's announcer Rod Roddy was also a Texan.
Had absolutely no training of acting, outside of attending a Catholic school.
When she was acting in plays, she didn't have any mentors; she'd watched everybody else, including the director, because the director was responsible for the total and Helmond was a piece of it, hence, she listened to the director.
Had an extended family, consisting of aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and grandparents, in Galveston.
She had a friend of her husband; David Christian; who became a manager of actors; who in turn; came through her husband, who talked Helmond in going to California. She was hesitant; at first; who didn't know anybody.
She did not have an agent; when she pursuing her acting career; she also did not have any of her pictures taken; at all. She used a sheet of paper and delivered it to agents until she got one.
Surrogate grandmother of Alyssa Milano and Danny Pintauro.
Wore a red bikini on "Who's The Boss" when she was about 60 years old.
Surrogate mother of her Soap (1977) co-stars, Diana Canova, Billy Crystal and Ted Wass.

Personal Quotes (1)

The choice of roles as I grow older gets more and more limited, so if I pin myself to one kind of part I would get in trouble. So, these oddball ladies came along for me to do--I guess Terry Gilliam helped in this respect. I have found them more interesting, flashier and I get more mileage out of them. Many times, when a director reads a script and wants somebody who says "Far out", then they let me do what I want with it and that's usually more interesting for an actor.

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