Dixie Carter Dies at 70, Known for Role as Julia Sugarbaker
April 11, 2010
(ChattahBox)— Actress Dixie Carter, best known for her role as the feisty Southern business woman Julia Sugarbaker in the 1980s-1990s television program “Designing Women,” died Saturday morning at the age of 70. The cause of her death is unknown. Her surviving husband actor Hal Holbrook, called her death “a private family tragedy.”
Carter’s star turn as, Julia Sugarbaker an interior designer on the long-running series, set in Atlanta, Georgia, became an iconic characterture of a steel magnolia; all Southern charm on the outside, with nerves of steel on the inside. The popular series also starred Delta Burke, Annie Potts and Jean Smart.
Hal Holbrook, her third real-life husband, had a recurring role as her boyfriend Reese Watson, and Carter’s daughters from her first marriage, Ginna and Mary Dixie, also had guest-star roles as Julia Sugarbaker’s nieces, Jennifer and Camilla.
When “Designing Women” went off the air after seven years, Carter returned to television in the drama “Family Law,” playing lawyer Randi King, which ran from 1999-2002.
She also had roles in “Diff’rent Strokes” and the police drama “Law and Order.”
Carter became known to a new generation of fans, in her recurring role on the show “Desperate Housewives,” as Gloria Hodge, the unhinged and insane mother of Orson Hodge. She earned an Emmy nomination for her “Desperate Housewives” role in 2007.
Said Carter of her role as the deranged Gloria Hodge, “Gloria Hodge doesn’t have any redeeming qualities except her intelligence.”
But her role as the smart, sexy and strong Julia Sugarbaker had an abundance of redeeming qualities. And empowered a generation of young woman, during a time when women were trying to find their way in the workplace alongside men. Dixie Carter’s Julia Sugarbaker, taught us that a woman could be both feminine and successful in the business world, and she did it in style. No mannish business suits with padded shoulders for Julia Sugarbaker–No, Ma’am.
Thank you Dixie Carter for Julia Sugarbaker. Rest in piece.