IN STEP WITH MARG HELGENBERGER
May 20, 2007
By James Brady
The cast and crew of that reliable CBS hit ‘CSI’ had just wrapped their seventh successful season, and I was talking with the smart, funny and sexy lead actress, Marg Helgenberger.
My character has become more confident this year,” she told me, “more relaxed.” Marg’s Catherine Willows took on a leadership role recently, when original co-star Bill Petersen took leave to do a play and Live Schreiber came in pro tem.
This week, Marg is headed to Chicago for a date at the Museum of Science and Industry. “The whole ‘CSI’ cast is going,” she said. “They’re putting on displays of forensic science and stuff from our show. We’re all so excited about it.”
On her recent hiatus, Marg worked with Val Kilmer on ‘Columbus Day,’ a crime drama she called a “cool, indie movie.” (There’s no release date yet.) She also has a new film due out June 1. Called ‘Mr. Brooks,’ it stars Kevin Costner. I asked her about it.
“Kevin plays a well-respected Oregon businessman with an innocent wife – me,” she explained, “But he’s leading a completely double life, perhaps as a master criminal.” Marg found irony in this. “For 10 months of the year [on ‘CSI’], I’m so hip to even the hint of suspicious behavior,” the actress said, “while in ‘Mr. Brooks’ I’m innocent and loving.”
Also in June, Helgenberger will be participating in a major breast-cancer research fund-raiser in L.A., teaming up with singers and actresses. “I’m paired with a blues singer,” she said. Didn’t Marg’s mother have breast cancer? “Yes, and she’s a 26-year survivor now,” she said proudly. “I’d do anything for breast cancer awareness.”
Since I’d interviewed Marg for PARADE six years ago when ‘CSI’ was brand-new, I asked if I’d be seeing her in another six.
“Oh, let’s do it much sooner than that,” she replied. She’s got a deal.
Personal: Born November 16, 1958, in Fremont, Neb. Married to Alan Rosenberg since 1989. One son: Hugh, 16.
Why You Know Her: Before ‘CSI,’ she won an Emmy for her role on ‘China Beach.’ On ‘ER,’ she was one of George Clooney’s love interests. In films, she had terrific roles in ‘Species’ and ‘Erin Brockovich.’
What You Don’t Know: Marg is known for throwing great parties. She loves the Steely Dan song ‘Babylon Sisters’ for the lyrics “Drive west on Sunset to the sea,” which she and her husband did on their first date.
Brady’s Bits: Marg (sounded with a hard ‘g’) and her longtime husband, actor Alan Rosenberg, live in Santa Monica. This spring, they’ve been looking at colleges with their son, Hugh. One of my daughters went to Georgetown, so I threw in a plug for that one. Marg herself had attended Northwestern, where she was discovered by a scout and given a role on the soap ‘Ryan’s Hope.’ She’s been on TV ever since. In 2000, she played Patsy Ramsey on a miniseries about JonBenet. What was Marg’s take last year, when that hoaxer claimed to have been at the death scene? “It just smelled fishy,” she recalled. “I don’t know what I believe, but I’m much more forgiving of Patsy.”
A scan of the article, along with some additional photos from the Blake Little photoshoot, can be found here