US actress Katherine Helmond, best known for Who’s the Boss? Soap & Everybody Loves Raymond, has died aged 89.
She died a week ago at her home in Los Angeles, from complications with Alzheimer’s disease.
Helmond’s credits date back to the 1950s but her real fame didn’t start arriving until she was nearly
Her major break came with Soap, a parody of soap operas that aired from 1977 to 1981.
She played wealthy matriarch Jessica Tate, one of two main characters on the show, which co-starred Robert Guillaume and was also a breakthrough for Billy Crystal, who played her nephew. She was nominated for Emmys for all four seasons of the show and won a best actress in a comedy Golden Globe in 1981.
She was best known for playing Mona Robinson, Judith Light’s mother, on Who’s the Boss?, which also starred Tony Danza and a young Alyssa Milano. It ran from 1984 – 1992.
She had a recurring role on Everybody Loves Raymond from 1996 to 2004 as the title character’s mother-in-law.
Other credits included The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Providence, Benson, Charmed Lives, Girls on Top, Grass Roots, Coach and True Blood.
“My beautiful, kind, funny, gracious, compassionate, rock,” Milano mourned on Twitter.
“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!”
“She taught me so much about life and inspired me indelibly by watching her work. Katherine was a gift to our business and to the world,” Judith Light said in a statement.