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Remembering TV star Helmond through her best ‘Raymond’ shows

March 7, 2019

Though she never headlined a show, Katherine Helmond had an incredibly successful career in television.

Helmond, who died last month at the age of 89, received four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe Award for “Soap,” and two Emmy nods and a Golden Globe for “Who’s the Boss?” And she played a key role in the final season of “Coach.” But when I think of Helmond, I always think first of her Emmy-nominated role as Lois Whelan, Debra’s mother, on “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Helmond made 14 appearances during the 1996-2005 run of “Raymond.” To honor her, here are my picks for her five best “Raymond” appearances.

5) “Call Me Mom” (Season 6)

Lois is thrilled when her son-in-law, Ray (Ray Romano), starts calling her Mom, but when Lois hears Debra (Patricia Heaton) call Marie (Doris Roberts) Mom, she gets angry, leading to a showdown with Marie.

4) “Older Women” (Season 6)

When Debra’s dad, Warren (Robert Culp), brings his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving, everyone is shocked to see she’s older than him. When Ray tries to make Lois feel better about it, he hurts her feelings, angering both Debra and Marie.

3) ‘Debra’s Parents’ (Season 9)

The secret to Lois and Warren’s cordial relationship as exes is revealed at Thanksgiving when Ray catches the former couple in bed together. When Ray tells Debra what he saw, she wrongly presumes her parents are getting back together.

2) ‘The Surprise Party’ (Season 8)

Lois decides to throw Debra a surprise birthday party, but Ray lets the cat out of the bag to Debra, taking all the credit for the party.

Ray must then do a lot of scrambling to hide the fact that Debra knows and to get Lois to change the party’s theme to Debra’s request.

1) ‘Fighting In-Laws’ (Season 5)

At Thanksgiving, Lois and Warren are their usual cheery, highfalutin selves, preparing for a trip to Germany. But the holiday is turned on its ear when Ray discovers the seemingly perfect couple is actually going to marriage counseling.

“Everybody Loves Raymond” airs nightly on TV Land with select episodes available for streaming on the TV Land app.

Episodes are available for purchase on iTunes and at Amazon.com.

While I’m honoring people, I would be remiss if I didn’t say anything about Luke Perry, who died Monday. I wasn’t a “Beverly Hills, 90210” fan, but I appreciate Perry’s importance in the history of television.

His Dylan McKay was the 1990s version of The Fonz with his good looks and James Dean swagger.

The character — and Perry — will live on in pop culture for decades to come, but his presence in today’s TV world will be greatly missed.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bent-ley@hotmall.com.