CSI’s Marg Helgenberger had her career plans all laid out. Then her high school English teacher, Mariann vonRein, sensed Marg’s talent and convinced her to join the speech team. It was love at first speech. And the course of Marg’s life changed dramatically. Behind every famous person is a fabulous teacher.
Emmy Award-winner and Golden Globe nominee Marg Helgenberger recently began the seventh season of the CBS drama, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for which she has earned two Emmy nominations. The show is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and it airs Thursday nights at 9:00 p.m. on CBS. Her character, Catherine Willows, is a single mother working as a crime scene analyst on the graveyard shift in Las Vegas. She recently wrapped production on the independent film Mr. Brooks, starring Kevin Costner, William Hurt and Demi Moore. Last year she was seen in the Paul Weitz film In Good Company, starring alongside Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson.
Helgenberger received outstanding reviews for her two latest projects. She costarred with Julia Roberts in the Universal hit drama, Erin Brockovich, as a woman dying of cancer due to a contaminated water source. Marg starred as Patsy Ramsey in the highly rated CBS miniseries, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town based on the best selling book about the unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
Helgenberger appeared in two original telepictures for Showtime. In the controversial Thanks of a Grateful Nation, she played the sister of a man (Steven Weber) who suffers a terminal brain tumor after returning from the Gulf War. She then co-starred with Ann-Margret in the Happy Face Murders as a detective investigating a very unsettling and confusing case of murder.
Her breakout role as K.C. on China Beach won her an Emmy Award in 1990. In 1997, she guest starred on a four-episode arc on ER playing George Clooney’s love interest. Her other television credits include Murder Live with David Morse and Teri Garr, Stephen King’s highly-rated mini-series The Tommyknockers, a Tom Hanks directed episode of Showtime’s Fallen Angels, and the Oscar nominated short film, Partners, directed by Peter Weller as well as The Gold Coast, starring opposite David Caruso.
On the feature film side, Helgenberger starred in Species, opposite Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen and Forest Whitaker and in Species II. Other film credits include, Fire Down Below with Steven Seagal, The Last Time I Committed Suicide with Keanu Reeves, My Fellow Americans with Jack Lemmon and James Garner, Cowboy Way with Woody Harrelson, Bad Boys with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, Always with Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfuss and Crooked Hearts with Peter Berg and Noah Wyle.
Growing up in North Bend, Nebraska, Helgenberger acted in school plays, but it was not until she attended Northwestern University that she thought of acting as a career. While there she appeared on stage as Kate in Taming of the Shrew and as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, to name a few. After graduating college she was cast on the ABC-TV daytime drama Ryan’s Hope. While in New York she also did work with the Children’s Theatre Company, TADA.
Helgenberger lives in Los Angeles, with her husband, actor Alan Rosenberg and their son Hughie.
Mariann vonRein, wife of Drew vonRein and mother of Erinn, Patricia, Andrea, and Allison, graduated from Kearney State College (which is now the University of Nebraska) with a B.A. in speech education. Interestingly, Marg Helgenberger also attended Kearney State College for her first two years of college. Teacher and student shared some of the same professors.
After college, Mrs. vonRein began teaching in Norton, Kansas in 1972. In 1973, she began teaching at North Bend Central and taught until 1979 when her second daughter was born. At the beginning of her career, she taught speech, journalism and English. Later on, she was a substitute teacher until 1991, when she returned to North Bend Central where she continues to teach today. She currently teaches speech and drama for grades seven through twelve. The past thirty-four years she has taught or been a substitute teacher.
Mariann’s extracurricular duties include speech team and play productions. In the fifteen years she has coached the speech team, they have been conference champions twelve times, district champions eight times, and state runner-up twice. Mrs. vonRein is a member of both the Nebraska Speech and Theater Association and the National Educational Association. She has served on the Dana College Speech Advisory Board. Mrs. vonRein has won various honors for her work, including being named an Outstanding Young Educator in Nebraska in 1979 and being honored for coaching excellence in Nebraska in 2003.
Mariann had two teachers who influenced her. She admired her kindergarten teacher Mrs. Brown because of her fairness. Mrs. Brown taught young girls who liked to talk all of the time that there are times when people need to just listen instead. Mr. Nelson, her other mentor, was her high school English and speech teacher who encouraged her to go into speech education. He advised students to use their talents. While a majority of the girls in Mr. Nelson’s class were going to secretarial school, Mr. Nelson’s encouragement spurred Mariann on to a four-year college education.
Mariann vonRein’s hobbies include gardening, cooking, and sewing.