Marg Helgenberger

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Marg Helgenberger
Helgenberger at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International
Mary Marg Helgenberger

(1958-11-16) November 16, 1958 (age 65)
Other namesMary Helgenberger
Alma materNorthwestern University (B.S.)
Years active1977–present
Known forChina Beach • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation • CSI: Vegas
  • (m. 1989; div. 2010)
  • Charlie Haugk
    (m. 2022)

Mary Marg Helgenberger (born November 16, 1958) is an American actress. She began her career in the early 1980s and first came to attention for playing the role of Siobhan Ryan on the daytime soap opera Ryan's Hope from 1982 to 1986. She is best known for her role as Catherine Willows in the CBS police procedural drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000–13) and the subsequent TV movie Immortality (2015). She reprised the role in season 2 of the sequel CSI: Vegas, which premiered on September 29, 2022.[1] Helgenberger is also known for playing the role of K.C. Koloski in the ABC drama China Beach (1988–91), which earned her the 1990 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She is also known for roles in the TV series Under the Dome and Intelligence, and the films Species (1995), Species II (1998), Erin Brockovich (2000), and Mr. Brooks (2007).

Early life[edit]

Helgenberger was born November 16, 1958, in Fremont, Nebraska, to Mary Kay (née Bolte), a nurse, and Hugh Helgenberger, a meat inspector.[2] She was raised in North Bend, Nebraska, where she graduated from North Bend Central High School. Helgenberger is of Irish and German descent[3] and had a Roman Catholic upbringing.[4] She has one older sister named Ann and a younger brother named Curt. Helgenberger played the French horn in her high school marching band. Until she went to college, Helgenberger aspired to be a nurse like her mother, but attended Kearney State College (now the University of Nebraska at Kearney) in Kearney, Nebraska, then attended Northwestern University's School of Speech in Evanston, Illinois, (now the School of Communication) and earned a B.S. degree in speech and drama.[5]


Helgenberger at the 1990 Emmy Awards

Helgenberger began as a nightly weathergirl at KHGI-TV, the ABC affiliate in Kearney, while attending college (her name was changed by the producer to Margi McCarty. McCarty was her grandmother's maiden name). During the summer, she also worked as a deboner at her father's meatpacking plant. After portraying the role of Blanche Dubois in a university production of A Streetcar Named Desire, she developed an interest in acting.

While performing in a summer 1981 NU campus production of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, where she played Kate, Helgenberger was spotted by a scout for the TV soap opera Ryan's Hope. Soon after completing college, Helgenberger landed her first professional role on the long-running ABC Daytime soap opera in March 1982, playing amateur cop Siobhan Ryan Novak DuBujak, a role previously played by Ann Gillespie. After nearly four years, Helgenberger left the show in January 1986 to pursue new opportunities.

Helgenberger guest-starred in episodes of the ABC series Spenser: For Hire, NBC's Matlock, and ABC's thirtysomething. She also played a regular role as Natalie Thayer, opposite Margot Kidder and James Read, on the six-episode drama comedy series Shell Game (1987).

She then starred as Karen Charlene "K.C." Koloski, a prostitute turned entrepreneur, on the ABC war drama series China Beach from 1988 to 1991. The role earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1990.

In 1989, Helgenberger made her feature-film debut in a leading role as an all-night answering-service operator in one segment of the Wheat brothers' horror anthology After Midnight. She followed it up with a role in Steven Spielberg's romantic comedy-drama Always (starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, and John Goodman), a modern version of the original 1943 Victor Fleming film A Guy Named Joe.

During the early to mid-1990s, Helgenberger played the love interest to Woody Harrelson's character in The Cowboy Way (1994), and had a small role as Capt. Alison Sinclair in Michael Bay's action comedy film Bad Boys (1995). She also played Dr. Laura Baker, a molecular biologist, in Roger Donaldson's science-fiction thriller, Species (1995), and reprised the role in a sequel, Species II (1998).

Helgenberger had roles in the television films Not on the Frontline and In Sickness and in Health. She played opposite Bruno Kirby in I'll Be Waiting, and as a novelist on the miniseries Stephen King's The Tommyknockers opposite Jimmy Smits. After playing a recurring role as George Clooney's love interest on NBC's medical drama ER, Helgenberger appeared as David Caruso's sex-starved widow on Showtime's Elmore Leonard's Gold Coast. She starred with Steven Seagal in the 1997 action film Fire Down Below and portrayed the furious sibling to Steven Weber's character on the miniseries about the elusive Gulf War syndrome, Thanks of a Grateful Nation. She also starred opposite Ann-Margret in Showtime's Happy Face Murders.

In 2000, Helgenberger made a guest appearance in the Valentine's Day episode of Frasier, in which Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) finally wears down his dad Martin's resistance and gets the older man to accompany him to the opera. Actually, this invitation is but a smokescreen, so that Frasier can "accidentally" run into his newest dream girl Emily (Helgenberger).

Starting in October 2000, Helgenberger starred in the role of Catherine Willows, a former show girl employed as a blood-spatter analyst, on the hit CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Her performance as the female lead has earned her two Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe nominations. In 2005, she and her fellow cast members won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. When CSI first started filming, Helgenberger visited the Clark County Coroner's Office to learn about her role, even viewing autopsies in progress. Helgenberger got the chance to act with her husband, Alan Rosenberg, when he guest-starred on CSI, season five ("Weeping Willows") and season seven ("Leaving Las Vegas").

During her time on the show, Helgenberger acted in the feature film Erin Brockovich and portrayed Patsy Ramsey on the miniseries about the mysterious murder of six-year-old beauty-pageant contestant JonBenét Ramsey in Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. She also starred as Dennis Quaid's wife and Scarlett Johansson's mother in writer-director Paul Weitz's romantic drama comedy In Good Company (2004).

In 2006, Helgenberger's hometown of North Bend, Nebraska, renamed the street on which Helgenberger had her childhood home "Helgenberger Avenue".

In 2007, she was in the film Mr. Brooks with Kevin Costner in which her character's daughter is played by Danielle Panabaker, the sister of Kay Panabaker, who plays her fictional daughter on CSI.

In April 2008, Helgenberger was chosen as an endorser of the Got Milk? campaign.[6]

In December 2009, Forbes magazine placed Helgenberger third among primetime's top-earning women, with estimated earnings of $9.5 million, after Tyra Banks and Katherine Heigl.[7]

Helgenberger received the 2,458th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 23, 2012, for her television work.[8][9]

She lent her voice as Greek goddess Hera to the straight-to-video animated film Wonder Woman.[10]

Following William Petersen's departure from CSI, Helgenberger became one of the two highest paid actors in any of the CSI franchises, earning $375,000 per episode, the same as David Caruso, and $25,000 more per episode than Laurence Fishburne.[11]

Helgenberger only appeared in the first 12 episodes of the 12th season of CSI, as she wanted to return to the stage. The producers said they left the door open for Helgenberger if she wanted to return. Helgenberger left the show on January 25, 2012, during a two-part episode ("Ms. Willows Regrets" and "Willows in the Wind"). The last one was the most-watched episode of the season with 14.26 million viewers.[12]

Helgenberger also starred as Lilian Strand in the series Intelligence alongside Josh Holloway and Meghan Ory.[13] Additionally, she briefly returned to CSI as Catherine for the 300th episode.[14] In February 2015, she joined the third season of Under the Dome.[15]

In May–June 2014, Helgenberger acted onstage in a production of the 2011 play The Other Place by Sharr White, put on by the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.[16] In September–October 2016, she appeared at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., in a revival of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes.[17]

In 2022, Helgenberger became a series regular on CSI: Vegas, joining the show in its second season and reprising her long-running role of Catherine Willows.

Personal life[edit]

In 1984, Helgenberger met Alan Rosenberg, a guest actor on Ryan's Hope. The two became friends and started dating in 1986. They married in 1989 and have one son, Hugh Howard Rosenberg (b. 1990), named after Helgenberger's late father. On December 1, 2008, the couple announced that they were separating, and on March 25, 2009, she filed for divorce.[18][19] Their divorce was finalized in February 2010.[20]

As a result of Helgenberger's mother's 27-year battle against breast cancer, Helgenberger and Rosenberg became involved in breast-cancer-related charity and have hosted a benefit called Marg and Alan's Celebrity Weekend annually in Omaha since 1999.[21]

In April 2022, Helgenberger married her partner, Charlie Haugk, whom she had been in a relationship with since the fall of 2019. This is Helgenberger's second marriage.[22] Haugk is a professional actor and stunt performer, with credits for acting and stunt-work on action-superhero movies including Predator 2 (1990), Black Panther (2018), and Wonder Woman 1984.


Helgenberger at a ceremony for Jerry Bruckheimer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in June 2013


Year Title Role Notes
1982 Tootsie Suzanne
1989 After Midnight Alex
Always Rachel
Peacemaker[23] Mrs. Cooper
1991 Crooked Hearts Jennetta
1993 Distant Cousins Connie
1994 The Cowboy Way Margarette
1995 Just Looking Darlene Carpenter
Bad Boys Capt. Alison Sinclair
Species Dr. Laura Baker
1996 Frame by Frame Det. Rose Ekberg
My Fellow Americans Joanna Uncredited
1997 Fire Down Below Sarah Kellogg
The Last Time I Committed Suicide Lizzy
1998 Species II Dr. Laura Baker
1999 Lethal Vows Ellen Farris
2000 Erin Brockovich Donna Jensen
2004 In Good Company Ann Foreman
2007 Mr. Brooks Mrs. Emma Brooks
2008 Columbus Day Alice
2009 Wonder Woman Hera Voice role
Conan: Red Nail Princess Tascela
2016 Almost Friends Samantha
2019 A Dog's Journey Hannah Montgomery


Year Title Role Notes
1982–1986 Ryan's Hope Siobhan Ryan Contract role
1986 Spenser: For Hire Nancy Kettering Episode: "An Eye for an Eye"
1987 Shell Game Natalie Thayer 6 episodes
Matlock Laura Norwood Episode: "The Gambler"
1988–1991 China Beach Karen Charlene Koloski Series regular
1990 Blind Vengeance Virginia Whitelaw TV movie
1991 Tales from the Crypt Vicky Episode: "Deadline"
The Hidden Room Jane Episode: "A Friend in Need"
Death Dreams Crista Westfield TV movie
1992 In Sickness and in Health Mickey
Through the Eyes of a Killer Laurie Fisher
1993 Partners Georgeanne Bidwell
The Tommyknockers Roberta "Bobbi" Anderson Miniseries
1993 Fallen Angels Eve Cressy Episode: "I'll Be Waiting"
The Seduction of John Hearn Debbie Banister TV movie
1994 Keys Maureen Kickasola
Lie Down with Lions Kate Nessen
Where Are My Children? Vanessa Meyer Vernon Scott
1995 The Larry Sanders Show Susan Elliot Episode: "Nothing Personal"
Inflammable Kay Dolan TV movie
1996 ER Karen Hines 5 episodes
1997 Murder Live! Pia Postman TV movie
Gold Coast Karen DiCilia
1998 Giving Up the Ghost Anna Hobson
Thanks of a Grateful Nation Jerrilynn Folz
1999 Happy Face Murders Jen Powell
2000 Frasier Emily Episode: "Out with Dad"
Perfect Murder, Perfect Town Patsy Ramsey TV movie
2000–2012, 2013 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Catherine Willows Main role
2004 King of the Hill Mrs. Hanover (voice) Episode: "Hank's Back"
2014 Intelligence Lilian Strand Series regular
2015 Under the Dome Christine Price Recurring
CSI: Immortality FBI S.S.A. Catherine Willows TV movie
2017 Hell's Kitchen Herself Episode: "Aerial Maneuvers"; Attended dinner service honoring the Stand Up to Cancer contributors
2019–2022 All Rise Judge Lisa Benner Series regular
2022–2023 CSI: Vegas Catherine Willows Series regular (Season 2)

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2003 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Catherine Willows
2004 CSI: Dark Motives

Awards and nominations[edit]

Association Year Category Title Result Ref
AARP Movies for Grownups Awards 2005 Best Grownup Love Story (shared with Dennis Quaid) In Good Company Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards 2001 Favorite Supporting Actress – Drama Erin Brockovich
Golden Globe Awards 1991 Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television China Beach [24]
2002 Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
2003 [25]
Online Film & Television Association 2001 Best Actress in a New Drama Series Won [26]
People's Choice Awards 2005 Favorite Female Television Star
Primetime Emmy Awards 1990 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series China Beach [27]
1991 Nominated [28]
1992 [29]
2001 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation [30]
2003 [31]
Satellite Awards 2002 Best Actress in a Series – Drama
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series [32]
2003 [33]
2004 [34]
2005 Won [35]
TV Guide Awards 2001 Actress of the Year in a New Series Nominated
Viewers for Quality Television Awards 1989 Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series China Beach Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ng, Philiana. "'CSI: Vegas': Marg Helgenberger Reveals How Catherine Fits Into the Mystery of Season 2 (Exclusive)". ET. Archived from the original on September 29, 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  2. ^ Marg Helgenberger Biography – Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  3. ^ Watson, Bret. (1996-05-17) HELGENBERGER HELPER | E/R | Television News | TV | Entertainment Weekly Archived April 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  4. ^ Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  5. ^ A&E Biography: MARG HELGENBERGER: DON'T CALL ME MARGBiography (TV series) TV Episode Premiere Date: April 2, 2003 PRODUCED BY: CBS News Productions for A&E Network
  6. ^ "Milk Mustache Celebrities Marg Helgenberger". Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved June 3, 2008.
  7. ^ Rose, Lacey (December 10, 2009). "In Pictures: Prime-Time's 10 Top-Earning Women". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  8. ^ News Updates | Hollywood Walk of Fame Archived June 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  9. ^ "Marg Helgenberger Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame". January 23, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  10. ^ Wonder Woman. Comics Continuum (2008-12-18). Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  11. ^ How Much Do Your Favorite TV Stars Get Paid? Archived August 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  12. ^ Seidman, Robert (January 26, 2012). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'American Idol,' 'Criminal Minds,' 'CSI' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 28, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  13. ^ Gennis, Sadie (March 1, 2013). "Pilot Season: Marg Helgenberger Joins CBS' Intelligence". TV Guide. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  14. ^ Blas, Lorena (August 20, 2013). "Marg Helgenberger returns to 'CSI' for 300th episode". USA Today.
  15. ^ Moore, Debi (February 26, 2015). "Marg Helgenberger Joins Under the Dome; CBS Announces Premiere Dates for UTD, Zoo, and Extant". Dread Central.
  16. ^ Murray, Larry. "BWW Reviews: Marg Helgenberger in THE OTHER PLACE at Barrington Stage Co. in the Berkshires". Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  17. ^ Fraley, Jason (September 21, 2016). "'CSI' star Marg Helgenberger hits Arena Stage for 'The Little Foxes'". WTOP. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  18. ^ Lee, Ken. (2009-03-25) CSI Star Marg Helgenberger Files for Divorce Archived March 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  19. ^ Fleeman, Mike (December 2, 2008). "Marg Helgenberger and husband separate after 19 years". People Magazine. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved December 2, 2008.
  20. ^ Rebecca Davies (December 28, 2009). "'CSI' star's divorce final by February". Digital Spy. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  21. ^ "2011 marg and alan's celebrity weekend Marg Helgenberger leaves CSI at the end of the season". BelleNews. August 4, 2011. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  22. ^ Alexander, Bryan (October 20, 2022). "Marg Helgenberger talks loss, wedding joy and Catherine Willows' 'CSI: Vegas' murder drama". USA Today. Archived from the original on October 20, 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  23. ^ "Peacemaker". Archives / 1989 Sundance Film Festival. Sundance Institute. Archived from the original on May 30, 2014.
  24. ^ "Winners & Nominees 1991". Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  25. ^ "Winners & Nominees 2003". Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  26. ^ "5th Annual TV Awards (2000-01) - Online Film & Television Association". Archived from the original on November 14, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  27. ^ "Nominees / Winners 1990". Television Academy. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  28. ^ "Nominees / Winners 1991". Television Academy. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  29. ^ "Nominees / Winners 1992". Television Academy. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  30. ^ "Nominees / Winners 2001". Television Academy. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  31. ^ "Nominees / Winners 2003". Television Academy. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  32. ^ "The 8th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | Screen Actors Guild Awards". Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  33. ^ "The 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | Screen Actors Guild Awards". Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  34. ^ "The 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | Screen Actors Guild Awards". Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  35. ^ "The 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | Screen Actors Guild Awards". Retrieved September 18, 2019.

External links[edit]