After 12 seasons of starring in nearly every episode of the CBS hit “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” Marg Helgenberger became known for bringing sex appeal and allure to a gritty show about cadaver dissection. She earned two Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of Catherine Willows, a stripper-turned-blood-spatter expert on the drama.
But in January she decided to go out in a hail of bullets – with the possibility that someday she might come back to the role as a guest performer.
Willows was the longest-running role but just the latest chapter in Helgenberger’s TV career, which has drawn heavily from the seedier side of life. She played a cynical prostitute on ABC’s hit “China Beach,” for which she won an Emmy, and portrayed Patsy Ramsey in the miniseries “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town,” about the death of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. She was a convincing sociopath who put a hit on her husband and caused much mayhem in general in the made-for-TV movie “When Love Kills: The Seduction of John Hearn.”
Helgenberger also made a mark in a small but memorable role in “Erin Brockovich,” as a victim of corporate wrongdoing.
She started her career on the small screen, first as a weather forecaster in her native Nebraska and then as a four-year cast member on the daytime soap opera “Ryan’s Hope.”
After announcing her decision to leave “CSI” in summer 2011, Helgenberger told reporters at the semiannual Television Critics Assn. that she’d stay a few extra months so she could work with new cast member Ted Danson. But her character’s story had run its course, she said, and she was ready for new projects.
She told Gayle King and Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning” that she’s “very excited about the great wide open, the future and all the possibilities.”
— T.L. Stanley for the Los Angeles Times Jan. 22, 2012