Beloved stage and television actress Katherine Helmond, best known for her work on “Who’s the Boss?” and “Soap,” has died, her representatives said Friday.
She was 89.
Helmond, who had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, passed away Saturday in Los Angeles, according to Variety.
“She was the love of my life,” her husband, David Christian, said in a statement. “We spent 57 beautiful, wonderful, loving years together, which I will treasure forever.”
TV viewers first got to know Helmond as the ditzy but lovable Jessica Tate on the 1970s show “Soap,” which ran from fall 1977 until 1981. Helmond was nominated for four Emmys for her work on the show.
A whole new generation of fans watched her perform on “Who’s the Boss?” as the outgoing, but often outrageous, mother of star Tony Danza’s employer. Helmond was nominated for two Emmys for her role in the show, which ran from fall 1984 to spring 1992.
Katherine Helmond has passed away.
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. pic.twitter.com/HNIH0Ty6MN— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 1, 2019
“My beautiful, kind, funny, gracious, compassionate, rock,” Helmond’s “Who’s the Boss” granddaughter Alyssa Milano tweeted in tribute. “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 picked up her seventh Emmy nomination in 2002 for her work on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” playing the on-screen mom of Patricia Heaton.
“Katherine Helmond was such a class act and incredibly down to earth,” Heaton wrote on Twitter of her co-star Friday. “I looked up to her as a role model.”
Katherine Helmond was such a class act and incredibly down to earth. She was terrific as my mother on #EveryboyLovesRaymond and I looked up to her as a role model. #RIPKatherineHelmond https://t.co/Yiku05soq4— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) March 1, 2019
Helmond had said she relished the role of Mona Robinson, the older, sexually-liberated woman she played on “Who’s the Boss?”
“I thought Mona was terrific,” the actress once told People magazine about her “Boss” character. “She wasn’t a slut, but suddenly in her life she had the freedom to flirt and date. I hope I projected a positive image to older women.”
Before TV, Helmond enjoyed a successful stage career in New York and New England. She was nominated for a 1973 Tony Award for best actress for her role in “The Great God Brown.”