Marg Helgenberger, Alumnae Award Recipient

Alumnae Award, 2012


The Alumnae Award recognizes a woman who has brought honor to Northwestern University through outstanding professional contributions in her field and who has attained national recognition. Established in 1976, the Alumnae Award has been presented every year to an alumna who has had a significant impact in her field of endeavor. Educators, journalists, doctors, scientists, and artists are included among The Alumnae’s roster of awardees.

Emmy Award-winner and Golden Globe nominee Marg Helgenberger recently starred as Catherine Willows, a single mother working as a crime scene analyst on the graveyard shift in Las Vegas on the CBS drama, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for which she has earned two Emmy nominations.

Marg was seen starring alongside Kevin Costner in MGM’s psychological thriller Mr. Brooks, about a man who occasionally falls under the spell of his murderous alter-ego. 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 also 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 miniseries 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, IN GOOD COMPANY, starring alongside Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson, 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.