Marg Helgenberger is an American actress best known for her roles as Catherine Willows in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2012), and as KC Koloski in China Beach (1988-1991), for which she won an Emmy.
Marg (pronounced with a hard "G," unlike the name Marge) Helgenberger was born in Fremont, Nebraska to Kay, a nurse, and Hugh Helgenberger, a meat inspector. She has German and Irish ancestry and had a Catholic upbringing.
One of her first jobs, as a teenager, was spending her summers and her Christmas breaks working as a "boner" at the meat packing plant where her father was employed.
Helgenberger played the French horn in her high school (North Bend Central High School) marching band. Until she went to college, Helgenberger wanted to be a nurse like her mother.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Helgenberger started as a local news weather girl in her native Nebraska. The news producer felt her name was too long and made her change it to Margi McCarty.
A scout for the soap opera Ryan's Hope discovered Helgenberger when she performed as Kate in a University of Nebraska-Kearney production of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, in the summer of 1981.
Helgenberger debuted on the series in March 1982 playing Siobhan Ryan Novak, until 1986. Although she was actually the third actress to play the role, she is the one most identified with the part.
Her first major television role was on the period drama China Beach, where she played KC Koloski, a hardened prostitute who catered to the servicemen on base. Helgenberger won an Emmy for the role (Supporting Actress) in 1990.
She later won critical acclaim for her portrayal of Patsy Ramsey in Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenét and the City of Boulder.
She is now best known for her portrayal of Catherine Willows, the lead female character, in the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation which began in 2000.
When CSI first started filming, Helgenberger visited the Clark County Coroner’s Office (Las Vegas) to see how things were really done. She even viewed autopsies that were being performed.
Helgenberger has stated that she was angered at the franchising of CSI. She has also stated that she was unlikely to stay past her contract on CSI, which ended in 2008, but did return to the series after all.
She says that she often plays hacky sack with the guys during their free time on set. Helgenberger got the chance to act with her husband, Alan Rosenberg, again when he guest starred on CSI, season 5 (Weeping Willows) and season 7 (Leaving Las Vegas).
In 2005, Universal Studios, submitted Helgenberger in the best supporting actress category for the Oscars for her performance as Ann Foreman in her 2004 movie In Good Company. In 2007, she was featured in the movies Conan: Red Nails and Mr. Brooks.
In mid 2006, Helgenberger’s home town of North Bend, Nebraska, population 1213, renamed the street on which Helgenberger had her childhood home "Helgenberger Avenue."
While not appearing in-frame, she is the unrequited love interest of the bespectacled amphibian Buddy in Mark Heath's "Spot the Frog" comic strip.
Helgenberger continues to be included in lists of Hollywood's Most Beautiful. In 2003 she was listed on People Magazine’s "50 Most Beautiful People", #16 on VH1's 40 Hottest Women over 40, number 15 of The 25 Most Attractive (Famous) Women in America in 2004, she was Esquire Magazine’s “5 More Women We Love” in 2002, in 2004 she ranked number 35, 30, 29, 20, 17, 12 and 9 on The Glamour Girls Hot 100 due to her movie In Good Company and her TV Guide cover.
She was on the list for about 10 weeks and spent 1 week on the top ten. She is the 4th oldest woman to be in the top ten, her character, Catherine Willows, along with the character of Gil Grissom, was named number 82 in "Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters" and on March 2006 Catherine Willows was named number 6 on The Star's Top Ten Hottests TV Characters.
In 2007, she was named one of the most pleasant celebrites on E! online's Answer B!tch Q&A page, and on March 2007 Helgenberger was named one of the sexiest TV stars of 2007 by TV Guide Magazine.
In 2003, Helgenberger was asked to pose in Playboy Magazine but turned it down. Her only two on-screen nude appearances to date were in the 1996 film Frame By Frame and a brief topless shot in the sci-fi thriller Species, in which her scene was overshadowed greatly by Natasha Henstridge's extensive nude scenes.
Helgenberger and Jorja Fox sang Stand by Me as a duet for What a Pair 4!! This is an annual charity event to raise money for breast cancer research.
CSI co-star Gary Dourdan's nickname for Helgenberger is "Margalicious”. Helgenberger's production company "Don't Call Me Marge!" is her humorous jab at people’s mispronunciation of her name.
She loves the Steely Dan song “Babylon Sisters” for the lyrics “Drive west on Sunset to the sea,” which she and her husband did on their first date.
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 (born October 21, 1990), named after Helgenberger's father, Hugh Helgenberger.
A result of her mother's 27-year battle against breast cancer, Helgenberger and her husband Alan Rosenberg have become very involved in the fight against breast cancer. They host the Marg and Alan's Celebrity Weekend every year in Omaha, Nebraska and have done so since 1997.