Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Remembering Dixie Carter ~ and the night a light went out in TV land ...

I learned on Saturday evening, April 10, 2010, that the lovely actress, Dixie Carter, had passed away that morning, from Cancer. I was stunned to learn of this news - it just didn't seem possible. To me, she embodied her Designing Women character, Julia Sugarbaker, so strongly - that she seemed invincable. 

Many of you, who love Hallmark Movies, may remember Dixie Carter from the 2008 Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie - Our First Christmas. She portrayed the Grandmother, Evie Baer... and she looked Beautiful and Fabulous at 68 (at that time)! I thought this was a wonderful family Christmas Movie... and was hopeful that she would be in more Hallmark Movies.

I'm sure we all remember Dixie Carter from various shows & movies... I, however, remember Dixie's acting career best as Julia, on Designing Women. The role she played as Julia Sugarbaker suited her perfectly. She was a classy, sassy, determined, opinionated, kind-hearted, and sophisticated proud Southern woman. Whenever she spoke, everyone listened... for her words were always spoken with such wisdom, conviction, and passion! I think of Dixie just like that - vivacious, strong-willed, a natural born leader, and a true friend. I had heard over the years that she was close to her fellow cast members, including Delta Burke, who played her sister, Suzanne Sugarbaker. I think they cared for each other like real sisters do... always deeply loving the other. Dixie was also Delta's matron of honor in her wedding to actor Gerald McRaney (Simon & Simon / Designing Women ~ Dash Goff - the Writer).

One of Dixie's most memorable scenes as Julia Sugarbaker was the episode, "The Beauty Pageant"... when Julia sticks up for her Sister and tells off Marjorie, the current Miss Georgia World, who has been making fun of Suzanne. Julia tears into her with the power of her words and tongue so sharply- it's wonderful!!! Don't we all wish we'd had a moment like that. Dixie delivered that scene so perfectly - I felt her rage, her passion, and her deep love for her baby sister - all in that powerful little speech... The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia!

In real life, Dixie was also passionate about her beliefs... she once described herself as "the only Republican in show business".  According to Wikipedia, though her Designing Women character, Julia Sugarbaker, was known for her liberal political views and subsequent monologues, Carter disagreed with many of her character's left-of-center commentaries, and made a deal with the producers that for every speech she gave, Julia would get to sing a song in a future episode. I just love the episode of Designing Women when she sang the beautiful hymn, How Great Thou Art... what a beautiful voice she had!

My thoughts and prayers go out to her family... her husband Hal Holbrook, her daughters ~ Mary Dixie and Ginna, her sister ~ Melba Helen Heath, and several nieces and nephews.

A bright light has certainly gone out now in TV land... at the passing of Dixie Carter.

Find Additional Information on Dixie Carter, here:
Dixie Carter Acting Credits - IMDB
Dixie Carter - Our First Christmas
Dixie Carter - Designing Women

1 comment:

  1. Designing Women FanSaturday, April 17, 2010

    Dixie Carter was a terrific actress & singer. Thank you for your great post on her life and career. My prayers go out now to her family.


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