'Designing Women' star Dixie Carter dies at 70

Dixie Carter, who gained television fame as Julia Sugarbaker on the long-running CBS sitcom Designing Women, died Saturday morning at a Houston hospital of complications from cancer, said Steve Rohr, publicist for Carter and her husband, actor Hal Holbrook. She was 70.

Ms. Carter had a long career as a stage actress and cabaret singer. But her signature role was as the strong and opinionated star of Designing Women. The show ran from 1986 to '93.

Dixie Virginia Carter, the middle of three children, was born May 25, 1939, in McLemoresville, Tenn. She graduated from what was then Memphis State University with a bachelor's degree in English. Her first stage work was in a 1960 Memphis production of Carousel and she later appeared off-Broadway.

She gave up acting when she married investment banker Arthur Carter in 1967 then restarted her career in the 1970s with a role on the soap opera The Edge of Night. Ms. Carter's TV roles included parts on Diff'rent Strokes and Filthy Rich.

Ms. Carter and Holbrook were married in 1984.

Ms. Carter was nominated for an Emmy in 2007 for her role as a mother-in-law on Desperate Housewives." She also appeared on the drama Family Law from 1999 to 2002. In 2009, Ms. Carter and Holbrook were in the film That Evening Sun.

In addition to Holbrook, Ms. Carter is survived by daughters Mary Dixie and Ginna and a sister, Melba Helen Heath.

Ms. Carter had a long career as a stage actress and cabaret singer. But her signature role was as the strong and opinionated star of Designing Women. The show ran from 1986 to '93.

Dixie Virginia Carter, the middle of three children, was born May 25, 1939, in McLemoresville, Tenn. She graduated from what was then Memphis State University with a bachelor's degree in English. Her first stage work was in a 1960 Memphis production of Carousel and she later appeared off-Broadway.

She gave up acting when she married investment banker Arthur Carter in 1967 then restarted her career in the 1970s with a role on the soap opera The Edge of Night. Ms. Carter's TV roles included parts on Diff'rent Strokes and Filthy Rich.

Ms. Carter and Holbrook were married in 1984.

Ms. Carter was nominated for an Emmy in 2007 for her role as a mother-in-law on Desperate Housewives." She also appeared on the drama Family Law from 1999 to 2002. In 2009, Ms. Carter and Holbrook were in the film That Evening Sun.

In addition to Holbrook, Ms. Carter is survived by daughters Mary Dixie and Ginna and a sister, Melba Helen Heath.

Ms. Carter had a long career as a stage actress and cabaret singer. But her signature role was as the strong and opinionated star of Designing Women. The show ran from 1986 to '93.

Dixie Virginia Carter, the middle of three children, was born May 25, 1939, in McLemoresville, Tenn. She graduated from what was then Memphis State University with a bachelor's degree in English. Her first stage work was in a 1960 Memphis production of Carousel and she later appeared off-Broadway.

She gave up acting when she married investment banker Arthur Carter in 1967 then restarted her career in the 1970s with a role on the soap opera The Edge of Night. Ms. Carter's TV roles included parts on Diff'rent Strokes and Filthy Rich.

Ms. Carter and Holbrook were married in 1984.

Ms. Carter was nominated for an Emmy in 2007 for her role as a mother-in-law on Desperate Housewives." She also appeared on the drama Family Law from 1999 to 2002. In 2009, Ms. Carter and Holbrook were in the film That Evening Sun.

In addition to Holbrook, Ms. Carter is survived by daughters Mary Dixie and Ginna and a sister, Melba Helen Heath.

Ms. Carter had a long career as a stage actress and cabaret singer. But her signature role was as the strong and opinionated star of Designing Women. The show ran from 1986 to '93.

Dixie Virginia Carter, the middle of three children, was born May 25, 1939, in McLemoresville, Tenn. She graduated from what was then Memphis State University with a bachelor's degree in English. Her first stage work was in a 1960 Memphis production of Carousel and she later appeared off-Broadway.

She gave up acting when she married investment banker Arthur Carter in 1967 then restarted her career in the 1970s with a role on the soap opera The Edge of Night. Ms. Carter's TV roles included parts on Diff'rent Strokes and Filthy Rich.

Ms. Carter and Holbrook were married in 1984.

Ms. Carter was nominated for an Emmy in 2007 for her role as a mother-in-law on Desperate Housewives." She also appeared on the drama Family Law from 1999 to 2002. In 2009, Ms. Carter and Holbrook were in the film That Evening Sun.

In addition to Holbrook, Ms. Carter is survived by daughters Mary Dixie and Ginna and a sister, Melba Helen Heath. Jean Smart.

The show, whose reruns have rarely left the airwaves, was not a typical sitcom. It tackled such topics as sexism, ageism, body image and AIDS.

"It was something so unique, because there had never been anything quite like it," Potts told The Associated Press at a 2006 cast reunion. "We had Lucy and Ethel, but we never had that exponentially expanded, smart, attractive women who read newspapers and had passions about things and loved each other and stood by each other."

Carter appeared on the drama "Family Law" from 1999 to 2002, and in her last major TV appearance she played Gloria Hodge, the surly mother-in-law to Marcia Cross's Bree on "Desperate Housewives."

Carter said the role was far from the kindly woman she played on "Designing Women."

"It's a vast difference," Carter said while filming the series. "Gloria Hodge doesn't have any redeeming qualities except her intelligence."

In addition to Holbrook, Carter is survived by daughters Mary Dixie and GinnaJean Smart.

The show, whose reruns have rarely left the airwaves, was not a typical sitcom. It tackled such topics as sexism, ageism, body image and AIDS.

"It was something so unique, because there had never been anything quite like it," Potts told The Associated Press at a 2006 cast reunion. "We had Lucy and Ethel, but we never had that exponentially expanded, smart, attractive women who read newspapers and had passions about things and loved each other and stood by each other."

Carter appeared on the drama "Family Law" from 1999 to 2002, and in her last major TV appearance she played Gloria Hodge, the surly mother-in-law to Marcia Cross's Bree on "Desperate Housewives."

Carter said the role was far from the kindly woman she played on "Designing Women."

"It's a vast difference," Carter said while filming the series. "Gloria Hodge doesn't have any redeeming qualities except her intelligence."

In addition to Holbrook, Carter is survived by daughters Mary Dixie and GinnaJean Smart.

The show, whose reruns have rarely left the airwaves, was not a typical sitcom. It tackled such topics as sexism, ageism, body image and AIDS.

"It was something so unique, because there had never been anything quite like it," Potts told The Associated Press at a 2006 cast reunion. "We had Lucy and Ethel, but we never had that exponentially expanded, smart, attractive women who read newspapers and had passions about things and loved each other and stood by each other."

Carter appeared on the drama "Family Law" from 1999 to 2002, and in her last major TV appearance she played Gloria Hodge, the surly mother-in-law to Marcia Cross's Bree on "Desperate Housewives."

Carter said the role was far from the kindly woman she played on "Designing Women."

"It's a vast difference," Carter said while filming the series. "Gloria Hodge doesn't have any redeeming qualities except her intelligence."

In addition to Holbrook, Carter is survived by daughters Mary Dixie and Ginna

'Designing Women' star Dixie Carter dies at 70 04/11/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 11, 2010 10:56pm]

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