A NIGHT OUT WITH – MARG HELGENBERGER. THE LINKS OF STARDOM
New York Times
By HILARY DE VRIES
September 21, 2003
WHEN Mark Twain described golf as a good walk spoiled, he had never shot a round with Marg Helgenberger. An enthusiastic but hardly scratch golfer who spends far more time on a stage set as the star of ”CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” the hit drama series on CBS, Ms. Helgenberger was waggling her driver on a recent evening on the first tee at the Mountain Gate Country Club. She and her husband, the actor Alan Rosenberg, were to play host at a charity golf tournament in Omaha, where Ms. Helgenberger grew up, and a practice round was in order.
”O.K., honey, nice and relaxed,” Mr. Rosenberg said as he watched his wife take a few swings. ”And be sure to take some grass with it.”
Despite Mr. Rosenberg’s coaching, there was no airborne grass as Ms. Helgenberger sent her ball flying, or rather, hopping about 20 yards down the fairway.
”She hasn’t played in a long time,” Mr. Rosenberg said under his breath to the couple’s son, Hugh, 13, who was along, somewhat sulkily, rather than with his friends.
Mr. Rosenberg, a co-star on the CBS drama ”The Guardian,” and who has a 12 handicap, stepped to the tee and blasted his drive into the stratosphere.
”O.K., we’re playing scramble golf,” Ms. Helgenberger said as she gazed at her husband’s shot. ”You know, where we hit the best ball.”
One glitch: Mr. Rosenberg’s ball was nowhere to be found. ”I can’t hit a ball better than that, and now I can’t find it,” he fumed as he zipped across the fairway in a golf cart.
”Honey, calm down and just drop a ball,” Ms. Helgenberger called from her cart.
The second hole was not much different. ”O.K., honey, lot of grass this time,” Mr. Rosenberg said. ”Hit down on it. Take some grass because the club head will lift it up. Relax, take some grass.”
Ms. Helgenberger ignored him. ”Too much information, Alan,” she said and took another practice swing.
Mr. Rosenberg rolled his eyes and stubbed out his cigarette. ”I’m not saying another word. Actually I’m a much nicer person than this.”
Perhaps it was that comment, but Ms. Helgenberger chose that moment to tell a story about playing in a croquet tournament with Mr. Rosenberg and his family a few years ago. After listening to Mr. Rosenberg repeatedly lecture Ms. Helgenberger on her stroke, wicket after wicket, Mr. Rosenberg’s cousin asked her how she put up with it.
”I said, well, I do take direction well,” Ms. Helgenberger said with a laugh.
By the seventh hole, everyone had had enough. It was time for dinner at their favorite sushi restaurant, Sasabune, in West Los Angeles. At a table on the indoor patio, the talk turned first to fish — ”You have to have the chef’s special and just eat what he sends you,” Mr. Rosenberg instructed — and then to tonight’s Emmy awards show. For the second time, Ms. Helgenberger, 44, has been nominated for her role as the cool and brilliant crime-scene investigator Catherine Willows.
”When is the Emmys?” Hugh asked. Ms. Helgenberger looked mildly startled. ”Why, are you busy that night?”
Mr. Rosenberg poured sake. ”Marg is the big star in this family,” he said, handing his wife a cup. ”She’s never been out of work.”
Ms. Helgenberger looked askance. ”That’s not true, Alan.” Mr. Rosenberg winked at her. ”Yeah, there was that rough period where you were out of work for like two months.”
As the plates of yellowtail, skipjack and halibut hit the table, talk, as often happens with this famously liberal couple, turned to politics — the California recall election and whether any of the Democratic presidential candidates could beat President Bush next year.
”Unless one of them can, we’re doomed,” said Mr. Rosenberg. ”We’re doomed, our kids are doomed, Hugh’s doomed.”
”What?” Hugh asked, startled, and knocking over his Coke.
Ms. Helgenberger reached to wipe the spill and sighed. ”Alan,” she said lightly and for the first time that night, ”I agree.”