CSI might not be ending, but Marg Helgenberger's career there has. The 54 year-old star is leaving the cast after a 12 year stint, playing the character Catherine Willows. The actress is leaving the show to pursue other opportunities outside of the television crime fighting scene.
Helgenberger was born in the small town of Fremont, Nebraska in 1958. Her father was a meat inspector and her mother was a nurse. Helgenberger went on to major in speech and drama at Northwestern University in Illinois. Her first job was working as a "deboner" in a meat-packing plant. Her first television job was at a news station where she posed under the name "Margi McCarty" as the nightly weather girl. After playing the role of "Blanche DuBois" in the film, "Streetcare Named Desire" she knew she was destined to be an actor.
Since that time, Helgenberger has played a number of characters in television and movies alike. From soap operas like "Ryan's Hope" to hit shows such as "Matlock," she has enjoyed the opportunities to satiate the itch of her acting scratch. She has been nominated for numerous awards including the Emmys, Golden Globes, People's Choice and Screen Actor Guild awards. She has won many of these awards over the years, proving to herself and to her adoring fans that she has the moxie it takes to play a convincing character.
Helgenberger came on ABC's show "CSI" in 1999. She has said that working with the cast on this show has become like family to her. She told E! in a recent interview, "It's been a fifth of my life and it has been quite a ride." Her interview was very emotional; more than once she broke down into tears when discussing her leaving. She believes it is time for her to move on and do something else. Not that her TV family did anything to help her leave. In fact, the producers convinced her to stay on for an extra season, because they enjoyed her and the character she played so much.
Helgenberger will leave the show in early February, 2012. Actor Elisabeth Shue will replace her as a different but similar character to Catherine Willows.