Actress Katherine Helmond, Famous for Who’s the Boss? and Brazil, Dead at 89

Katherine Helmond. Photo: ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Katherine Helmond, an actress with a decades-long career that spanned film, television, and Broadway, has died. According to The Hollywood Reporter, her representative confirmed the news, saying that she died in her Los Angeles home on February 23, due to complications from Alzheimer’s. Known to millions as Mona Robinson, the unabashedly sexy grandmother from the hit show Who’s the Boss?, Helmond’s TV career was dotted with highlights over the course of 30 years. She received multiple Emmy nominations for her role as Jessica on the show Soap, as well as for her work in Boss and later on Everybody Loves Raymond, where she played the mother to Patricia Heaton’s character. In the 1990s, she appeared on the hit show Coach.

A specialist at playing outsized matriarchs, one of Helmond’s most memorable turns was as Mrs. Ida Lowry in Brazil, in which the image of her face being inhumanly stretched around by a plastic surgeon became synonymous with the absurdist classic. That was one of three films she appeared in for director Terry Gilliam, having worked also on Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas and Time Bandits. She appeared on Broadway several times, and received a Tony nomination in 1973 for her role in The Great God Brown. Helmond worked well into her later years, too, showing up in True Blood in 2011, and providing the voice of Lizzie, a 1923 Model T, in the the Cars films. Helmond was 89 years old.

Who’s The Boss? Actress Katherine Helmond Dead at 89