'Who's the Boss?' Star Katherine Helmond Dies at Age 89

Katherine Helmond died Feb. 23 of complications from Alzheimer's disease

Photo: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty

Actress Katherine Helmond has died. She was 89.

Helmond, who famously portrayed mother Mona Robinson in ABC’s Who’s The Boss? for eight years and Jessica Tate on Soap, died on Feb. 23 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at her home in Los Angeles, her talent agency, APA, announced.

Making her television debut in 1962, the Texas native starred in various plays, shows and films, including Family Plot, Brazil and the Cars movies (in which she voiced Lizzie). But her most memorable role would be that of the feisty Mona in Who’s The Boss? (1984-1992), for which she earned two supporting actress Emmy nominations.

Tony Danza & K. Helmond In 'Who's The Boss'
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On Friday, Alyssa Milano, who starred next to Helmond on beloved series for eight seasons, paid tribute to her late friend and costar on Twitter.

“Katherine Helmond has passed away,” wrote the actress, 46. “My beautiful, kind, funny, gracious, compassionate, rock. You were an instrumental part of my life. You taught me to hold my head above the marsh! You taught me to do anything for a laugh! What an example you were! Rest In Peace, Katherine.”

Tony Danza — who played former baseball player, housekeeper, and single father Tony Micelli in the series — also paid his respects to Heldman on Friday, telling Deadline, “I was in love with her. She was such an influence on me. From being a single guy with a hit show in Hollywood, though 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.”

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Before her Who’s The Boss? run, Helmond earned praise for her portrayal of Tate family matriarch in ABC’s soap opera sitcom Soap (1977-1981).

“We luckily got Jessica from Soap,” Danza told the publication. “Oh my God, we hit the lottery. She was a consummate professional — never made a mistake and always got the laugh. She was the sexy older lady who could keep up with the young people. She just had a way about her.”

Throughout the years, Helmond was also praised for her recurring roles as Doris Sherman on ABC’s Coach (1995-1997) and as Debra Barone’s mother Lois Whelan on CBS’s Everybody Loves Raymond.

Helmond is survived by her husband of 57 years, David Christian.

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