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Marg Helgenberger

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Interviews – Print & Video

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“Get Smart: Marg Helgenberger”

by Zak Stemer

The Twittersphere has spoken — and it has dubbed Marg Helgenberger a total and complete badass. It’s a title that the Northwestern grad and star of CBS action drama “Intelligence” is extremely proud of. “I love it, ” says Helgenberger, 55. “Personally, I don’t [consider myself a badass], but I love being thought of as that as a character.”

Marg in Splash

“Intelligence,” which premiered in January, follows Gabriel, an unpredictable agent at an elite government cybersecurity agency who’s had a computer chip implanted in his brain, giving him direct access to the global information grid — basically transforming his mind into a supercomputer. Helgenberger plays Lillian Strand, who oversees Gabriel’s missions while managing the challenges that a human-computer hybrid presents. (Like your Facebook account, Gabriel’s brain can be hacked and infected with all sorts of nasty viruses.) “The show is epic badass-ery,” Helgenberger says. “The suspense level is pretty intense. Every episode there’s a time clock and there’s always something at stake.”

Fans of the show will recognize the famous redhead from her 14-year role as Catherine Willows on the uber-hit series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” but the actress’s credits go far beyond that: She won an Emmy Award for her role as K.C. Koloski in the ’80s drama “China Beach,” and has appeared in classic movies like “Species” and “Bad Boys.” Even before her small-screen success, Helgenberger was rubbing elbows with bigwigs — though she didn’t know it at the time. “I was [at Northwestern] with a few people who are doing quite well,” she remembers. “Julia Louis-Dreyfus and I played hookers together in ‘The Threepenny Opera.’ I played Low Dive Jenny and Julia was one of my girls.” She also shared the stage with “Shawshank Redemption” star Clancy Brown in “A Streetcar Named Desire (he played Finch; she played Blanche DuBois) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Bruce Norris in “Taming of the Shrew.”

To read the complete interview, please visit

Marg recently did an interview for where she discusses the aging process, what she does to maintain both physical and mental health, what her goals are for 2014, and more. Some highlights from the article appear below and you can read the complete interview at

How Marg minds her body

February 14, 2014

By Stephanie Stephens

As the no-nonsense Lillian Strand on the new CBS drama series Intelligence Marg Helgenberger’s challenge is to “manage” high-tech intelligence operative Gabriel Vaughn, played by Josh Holloway, as they both work in a clandestine national security agency. It’s no easy task, since the unpredictable guy is “wired” with a super computer microchip in his brain. In the midst of chaos and non-stop action, Helgenberger’s character remains cool, calm, collected, and in control—we’re waiting for someone or something to “ruffle her feathers.” And we could be waiting a long time.

The Emmy Award-winner and Golden Globe nominee, now age 55, recently ended her 12th season of the megahit CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, playing Catherine Willows. She also appeared in two ABC series—China Beach, considered her breakout, and early in her career in the daytime drama, Ryan’s Hope.

Other notable films on her long list of features include Mr. Brooks with Kevin Costner, and Erin Brockovich with Julia Roberts—she’s hardly taken a break since earning a degree in speech and drama at Northwestern University. You know you want to follow her—that is, on Twitter (@MargHelgen).

How do you Mind Your Body with what you do for physical activity?
The main two types of physical activity in my life are yoga, mostly vinyasa or flow style, and a cardio with weights workout. Ideally, if my schedule permits, I alternate the activities throughout the week. I also walk my dog, Henry, several times a week.

How do you sustain a positive mental outlook, “get happy”?
I try to maintain a positive attitude through many ways. Number one is being grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. Being in nature can be incredibly profound and transformative. Listening to, playing and singing music I love is also very powerful. And watching a goofball comedy never fails to lift the spirits.

What do you think slows the aging process?
Slowing the aging process requires a combination of things. Getting rid of bad habits and replacing them with good habits is primary. A meditation practice helps one to stay present, and to get out of negative thinking. Also setting goals, and achieving them, plus cultivating and nurturing loving and friendly relationships helps. I also believe that having pets can slow the aging process.

What does the word “health” mean to you?
Being in good health means to be in balance: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

What’s on your resolution or goals list for 2014 now?
My goals for 2014 are pretty simple: to ride my bike more often, hike with friends, travel to my bucket list destinations, and play a lot of guitar.


Marg did a phone interview this morning with K-Earth 101 where she shed some light on the character that she plays in Intelligence, talked about what it was like to leave CSI, and about some of the odd jobs that she had early on in her career.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview that K-Earth posted on their site. Click the link at the bottom of the post to listen to the entire interview.

Former CSI star Marg Helgenberger has returned to CBS in a brand new action-packed drama Intelligence alongside Lost star Josh Holloway on Monday nights at 10. This morning, Marg called in to the Morning Show to talk a little about her new role as the “mysterious” Lillian Strand, the Director of the US Cyber Command.

“The character is rather enigmatic and mysterious and inscrutable…but that’s what makes her kind of fun and appealing in turn for me because I don’t know what’s around the bend,” she explained.

After her longtime role on CSI, Marg found it easy to transition into her new role on Intelligence, saying that her experience in crime dramas prepared her for what’s to come on the show. Though after CSI, she explained that her return to TV drama was purely by coincidence.

“I was definitely open to anything really,” she said on her role in Intelligence. “I think sometimes you play a role for so long people have a hard time seeing you in another genre, so it’s not like comedies are just like thrown at me because it’s not what I came from.”

Before becoming a huge TV star, Marg worked a few odd jobs in her early career to support her dream of acting. Marg tells us that she was once a weekend weathergirl in Kearney, Nebraska that she said was “a fluke” and only lasted one summer.

Another odd job that Marg had in her early career was working as a boner at her father’s meat packing plant where he was the government meat inspector for.

“It was many jobs, it wasn’t just being a boner…basically you’re given a set of knives and it’s an assembly line and certain cuts of meat would come down the line and you’d have to shape it,” she explained.

It’s that kind of real-life experience that gave Marg the edge and prepared her for her breakout role in CSI and beyond.

Catch Marg back in action on Intelligence for tonight’s episode about a daughter of a U.S. senator who is kidnapped to Mexico by a drug cartel and they embark on a rescue mission to bring her back.

Tune in to Intelligence tonight at 10 p.m. and listen to their full interview with Marg on


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