Best known for her now iconic role on television's "Designing Women" as Julia Sugarbaker, actress Dixie Carter has passed at the age of 70, reports Entertainment Tonight.
Carter was born in Tennessee and made her stage debut in the early 1960s. After working on several soap operas and television shows, Carter became a household name many years later when she originated the role of the strong-willed, Southern liberal interior designer Julia Sugarbaker on "Designing Women", which aired on CBS from 1986 to 1993.
The series became a cult classic among many gay men, Carter's character especially so for her acerbic wit, superb timing and dramatic delivery. DW was also one of the first—if not the first—television sitcoms to deal with the HIV epidemic that was terrifying the nation in the 1980s. Off camera, Carter described herself as a Libertarian (but supported Obama in 2008) and supported gay men and HIV causes. "I feel like I have enjoyed a friendship and a lasting loyalty from the gay community, " Carter said in 2004. "And when I can, I try to reciprocate that friendship."
In a 2008 interview with The Birmingham News, Carter she was holding out hope for a DW reunion at some point. "People have talked, but it hasn't come to anything," Carter said. "We're all in touch with each other, and we love each other very much. We have such disparate careers. It would be so much fun to pull that together, but it would be very hard."
Dixie Carter was rumored to have been ill in recent months. Her husband Hal Holbrook, the veteran actor, asks for privacy. Holbrook told ET, "This has been a terrible blow to our family. We would appreciate everyone understanding that this is a private family tragedy. Thank you."
Watch Carter and the cast of "Designing Women" discuss gay men and same sex marriage, Julia Sugarbaker's famous "Jury Duty" scene ("I'm gonna hunt you down like a dawg!") and "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" WHEN YOU JUMP ...