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Katherine Helmond, who rose to early fame on controversial 1970s ABC sitcom “Soap,” died on February 23 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, her talent agency APA told CNN Friday. She was 89.
“She was the love of my life. We spent 57 beautiful, wonderful, loving years together, which I will treasure forever,” her husband, David Christian, said in a statement. “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.”
Born July 5, 1929 in Galveston, Texas, Helmond made her stage revue in “As You Like It” in the 1950s and appeared in such feature films as “Family Plot” and “Brazil.” In 1973, she earned a Tony Award for her performance in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Great God Brown.”
Following her Golden Globe winning role as Jessica Tate on “Soap” she enjoyed an eight season stint on ABC 1984 to 1992 sitcom “Who’s The Boss?” opposite Tony Danza and Judith Light. Her character, man-hungry Mona Robinson, was the subject of a backdoor pilot that never went to series.
In later years, Helmond appeared in the final two seasons (1995-97) of ABC sitcom “Coach,” and she had a recurring role on CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond” as Patricia Heaton’s TV Mom Lois Whelan.
A memorial for family and friends is currently being planned for the near future, her agency said.