Born Mary Marg Helgenberger on November 16, 1958, in Fremont, Nebraska, Marg Helgenberger is a small town girl who managed to beat the odds and make it big in Hollywood. The daughter of a meat inspector and a school nurse, Marg grew up in the tiny town of North Bend, Nebraska (population 1,200). Up until the time she graduated from high school, Marg had no aspirations of becoming an actress even though she had performed in several high school plays and musicals. She had actually planned to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a nurse. It wasn’t until she started visiting colleges to decide where she wanted to go to school that Marg finally confessed to having a serious interest in acting.
Her parents were understandably hesistant given how slim her chances of success were, but consented to send Marg to Kearney State College in Nebraska ‘to get her feet wet’ and see if the interest continued. It did and Marg soon transferred to Northwestern University where she majored in speech and drama and was discovered by a talent scout from the ABC soap opera Ryan’s Hope. Marg told the talent scout that she wanted to complete her education, so the scout contacted her again once she had graduated to see if she was interested in auditioning for a role on the soap.
Shortly after graduation, Marg traveled to New York to begin her professional acting career. She auditioned for and landed the role of Siobhan Ryan Novak on Ryan’s Hope, where she worked for four years. Marg then relocated to Los Angeles, where she appeared on such series as Matlock and thirtysomething. It wasn’t until she was cast as tough-as-nails prostitute K.C. Koloski on ABC’s China Beach that Marg began to receive critical and popular success. She worked on the award-winning dramatic series from 1988 until it was cancelled in 1991, and she earned an Emmy in 1990 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series as well as several other award nominations.
After turning in various television guest performances throughout the 1990s and landing small roles in several films, Marg once again landed a plum primetime role as Catherine Willows on the popular dramatic series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in 2000. That same year, she received an Emmy award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Marg was nominated for the award again in 2003 and has also received several Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of Catherine. She departed CSI midway through Season 12 and has since joined a new CBS drama Intelligence, which premiered in January 2014. She plays the director of CyberCommand, Lillian Strand.
Television has been very good to Marg, but she has also branched out to film work, debuting on the big screen in Steven Spielberg’s Always in 1989. Her most memorable film role to date has been her portrayal of cancer patient Donna Jensen in Steven Soderbergh’s widely acclaimed Erin Brockovich (2000). More recently, she played Dennis Quaid’s wife in the comedy In Good Company (2005). In 2007, Marg also played opposite Kevin Costner in Mr. Brooks as the unsuspecting spouse of a serial killer. Her most recent film role was in Columbus Day (2009), where she played the ex-wife of Val Kilmer’s character.
Marg married fellow actor Alan Rosenberg, whom she met on the set of ‘Ryan’s Hope,’ in 1989. Marg and Alan were married for nearly 20 years but divorced in 2010. The couple has one son, Hugh Howard Rosenberg.
Marg has been dating businessman Alan Finkelstein for a number of years now. She met him in the fall of 2009.