When news about “90210” star Luke Perry’s stroke broke, my wife and I were shocked. To us, he’s the perennially youthful Dylan McKay, the loner in the vein of James Dean.
“It’s hard to see stars get sick and die,” my wife said. Indeed, it is.
Their mortality reminds us of our mortality. Sadly, yet another well-known name has stepped into eternity.
According to Deadline, Katherine Helmond passed away on Feb. 23. She was 89 years old.
Her initial roles were dramatic ones — and often unpleasant, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I was married to drunks,” she said in a 2008 interview.
“I got knocked around and battered and beaten and taken advantage of. That’s one of the reasons I got switched to comedic roles.
“My agent said, ‘I just can’t bear to see you knocked around on television anymore. … We’re going to try for a sitcom.’”
Eventually, Helmond landed a starring role on “Soap,” an ABC comedy that poked fun at daytime soap operas. Audiences and critics alike loved it and her role in it.
In fact, she got nominated for an Emmy each and every season that “Soap” ran. After the show wound down in 1981, she appeared in shorter-run television such as “Faerie Tale Theatre” and “Benson.”
Katherine Helmond’s last appearance as Jessica Tate wasn’t on Soap, but on Benson! In this clip, she appears in ghost form to visit her old friend and employee Benson DuBois.
Thank you for the memories, Ms. Helmond. pic.twitter.com/CJYyGkQAoQ
— Antenna TV (@AntennaTV) March 1, 2019
But in 1984, she landed the role of Mona Robinson on the sitcom “Who’s the Boss?” After learning of her death, Danza wasn’t shy in appreciating her for her work and her person.
“She was such an influence on me,” he said. “From being a single guy with a hit show in Hollywood through my marriage and having kids, she was with me.”
“No matter what problem I had, I could go to her. Very few people could match her.”
Helmond would land more roles in several Terry Gilliam movies (“Time Bandits,” “Brazil,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”), as well as ABC’s “Coach,” CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond” and HBO’s “True Blood.” She is survived by her husband of nearly six decades, David Christian.
“She was the love of my life,” Christian 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.”
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