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Katherine Helmond, beloved star of 'Who's the Boss?' and 'Soap,' dead at 89

Helmond had a storied career that goes beyond her famous roles on the popular comedies.
Katherine Helmond had a long career punctuated by seven Emmy nominations.ABC via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Katherine Helmond, the actress known for her work on such popular shows as “Who’s the Boss?” and “Soap,” died last Saturday at the age of 89 from complications from Alzheimer’s disease, her talent agency has announced.

Helmond was a small-screen dynamo, winning raves for her role as the dimwitted Jessica Tate on ABC’s soap opera satire, “Soap.” The show aired from 1977-1981, and Helmond earned an Emmy nomination for each of the four seasons.

"Soap" cast
Helmond won two Golden Globes during her career, including one for her role on "Soap."ABC via Getty Images

The actress would go on to secure a new level of fame and popularity for her portrayal of outspoken and man-hungry Mona on another ABC comedy, “Who’s the Boss?" She often played the foil to her more uptight daughter, played by Judith Light, on the show, which aired from 1984-1992.

Helmond starred alongside Danny Pintauro, Judith Light, Alyssa Milano and Tony Danza on "Who's the Boss?"Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Helmond’s work on “Who’s the Boss?” earned her another pair of Emmy nominations.

She would go on to nab yet another Emmy nod in 2002 for her role as Lois, the mother of Patricia Heaton's Debra, on “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Alyssa Milano, who starred on “Who's the Boss?” alongside Helmond, expressed her sorrow after learning of Helmond's death.

“Katherine Helmond has passed away,” Milano wrote. “My beautiful, kind, funny, gracious, compassionate, rock. 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! Rest In Peace, Katherine.”

Tony Danza also took to Twitter to reflect on his time with Helmond on the sitcom.

Helmond had scores of other credits as well. She enjoyed a recurring role as Doris Sherman on “Coach,” played Goldie Hawn's mother in “Overboard,” voiced Lizzie in the “Cars” movies and starred in a trio of Terry Gilliam movies: “Time Bandits,” “Brazil” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

Among those Helmond left behind is her husband of 57 years, David Christian.

“She was the love of my life,” he said in a statement. “We spent 57 beautiful, wonderful, loving years together, which I will treasure forever. I’ve been with Katherine, since I was 19 years old. The night she died, I saw that the moon was exactly half-full, just as I am now ... half of what I’ve been my entire adult life.”