Mary Marg Helgenberger (born November 16, 1958) is an American film and television actress, perhaps best known for her roles asCatherine Willows in the CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and as K.C. Koloski in the ABC drama China Beach, which earned her the 1990 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Marg (pronounced with a hard "G," unlike the name Marge) Helgenberger was born in Fremont, Nebraska, the daughter of Mary Kay (née Bolte), a nurse, and Hugh Helgenberger, a meat inspector. She is of Irish and German descent and had a Roman Catholicupbringing. Marg has one older sister named Ann and a younger brother named Curt. One of her first jobs, as a teenager, was spending her summers and her Christmas breaks working as a "deboner" at the meat packing plant where her father was employed. Helgenberger played the French horn in her high school (North Bend Central High School) marching band. Until she went to college, Helgenberger wanted to be a nurse like her mother. Marg attended Kearney State College (now the University of Nebraska at Kearney) in Kearney, Neb., then attended Northwestern University's School of Speech in Evanston, Illinois (now the School of Communication) and earned a B.S. degree in Speech and Drama.
Her character on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Catherine Willows, along with the character of Gil Grissom, was named number 82 in "Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters". On March 2006, Catherine Willows was named number 6 on The Star's Top Ten Hottests TV Characters. In 2007, she was named one of the most pleasant celebrities on E! online's Answer B!tch Q&A page. In March 2007, Helgenberger was named one of the sexiest TV stars of 2007 by TV Guide magazine. Entertainment Weekly included her in the list of "The EW 100 Stars We Love Right Now" in 2007.
On April 2008, she joined the roster of celebrities that sported the famous milk mustache as she was chosen as an endorser of the Got Milk? campaign.
In December 2009, Forbes Magazine placed Helgenberger third amongst prime-time's top-earning women with estimated earnings of $9.5 million dollars, after Tyra Banks and Katherine Heigl.