TV & Video Magazine

Katherine Helmond Sinks Her Teeth into True Blood

Posted on the 21 July 2011 by Thevault @The_Vault

We all recognized Caroline Bellefleur when she walked into the parlor last Sunday night because we’ve seen Katherine Helmond so many times on TV ins shows like Mannix, The Glades, Soap, Everybody Loves Raymond, Who’s the Boss, just to name a few. Even after all that experience, True Blood and its swampy Louisiana setting still proved to be a special treat for Helmond.

Katherine Helmond sinks her teeth into True Blood

“I was so pleased when they sent me the script,” she says on the phone from her home in Los Angeles. “It’s a subject I love to read about because I come from that Gulf Coast area.

“I grew up hearing about the walking undead. I had a fascination with it as a child.”

Helmond is a native of Galveston, Texas. “Sometimes it would rain 15 days in a row,” she says. “We’d have to move all the furniture up to the second floor in case of flooding.”

(We won’t be so uncouth as to reveal a lady’s age. Let’s just say she came into this world the same year Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in Steamboat Willie.)

The True Blood set where she shot her first episode as Portia and Andy’s grandmother, Caroline Bellefleur, also brought back childhood memories.

The humidity is beyond belief. You just cannot go outside,” she says. All the actresses are given parasols so when you went into the sun, it wouldn’t affect the makeup. I think they want all the actresses to be very pale anyway.”

Vampires aren’t the only ones who have to worry about sun exposure. Southern belles are delicate creatures, too.

A successful stage actress, Helmond was thrown by her first TV experience in 1962, in an episode of Car 54, Where Are You?, the classic sitcom starring Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne.

They shot the last scene of the piece the first day I got to the set,” she says. “It was all out of sequence. I thought ‘Good heavens, no wonder it’s a mess.’

I still feel that way. When I go to work and then see the piece on TV, I think, ‘By gosh, they got it all put together!’ It’s still magic to me.”

Of all her roles, Helmond says she is most associated with the loony matriarch Jessica Tate on the cult ’70s parody Soap.

The part was a departure for her.

To read the rest of this interview, go to:

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