“Designing Women” star Dixie Carter dies at 70

Posted By: Selma Al-Faqih on April 11, 2010 10:11 am


Carter died Saturday morning, according to publicist Steve Rohr, who represents Carter and her husband, actor Hal Holbrook. He declined to disclose the cause of death or where she died, as reported by Andrew Dalton on Yahoo! news.

“This has been a terrible blow to our family,” Holbrook said in a written statement. “We would appreciate everyone understanding that this is a private family tragedy.”

Dixie Carter is best known as the sharp-shooting, no-nonsense pistol on “Designing Woman,” a sitcom that ran on CBS from 1986-1993.   The series also starred Annie Potts, Delta Burke, and Jean Smart.  It was thought of as a stereotype-breaking series, using 4 strong Southern belles to crack through issues such as racism, weight issues, sexism, ageism and AIDS.

Holbrook and Carter met while they were filming a TV movie, and both of them had two failed marriages behind them.  Still, they began to date, and two years before she landed Designing Women, they married and stayed married.

Dixie is the middle of three children. Her father owned several small retail stores. Early on, she dreamed of being an opera singer, but a botched tonsillectomy at age 7 spoiled any chances for that dream. Still, she sang regularly and studied classical music. She can play the piano, trumpet, and the harmonica. She graduated from Memphis State with an English degree. In 1960, she made her professional debut in a local production of “Carousel”. Three year’s later, she moved to New York and landed a role in Joseph Papp’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale”.  She began her Television career in the 1970′s, appearing in soap operas.  She went on to star in, “Diff’rent Strokes,” Filthy Rich,”  “Family Law” and was nominated for an Emmy for her guest starring role on the ABC hit “Desperate Housewives” in 2007. 

A native of Tennessee, Dixie Carter was the sole of Southern manners, her kindness and care will be remembered by me, and by anyone who met her.   She was a true lady, everything you wanted her to be; funny, charming, and accessible.  She will be missed.