dixie carter was her real name － but i confess, i loved her best as genteel-yet-uppity southern woman julia sugarbaker.
the real dixie was born in mclemoresville, tennessee, reared mostly in memphis, a runner-up for miss tennessee 1959 and an english graduate of the university of memphis.
her career as an actress spanned a full four decades, much of it spent in television, much of it on stage － in broadway musicals and plays, as well as in a long-running cabaret act.
she wed three times, the last and lasting marriage to fellow actor hal holbrook, 14 years her senior, 26 years her husband, and her frequent co-star [the couple, above, at the 2008 academy awards].
of course, her best-known role was as atlanta-based interior designer julia sugarbaker, the wisecracking, proud and protective matriarch of the beautiful, big-haired, hilarious quartet of designing women. julia was written by show creator linda bloodworth-thomason as an unapologetic and sharp-witted liberal; dixie carter was a registered republican. but the show must go on, so carter struck a deal: for every democratic diatribe julia delivered, she got to sing a song in a future episode.
dixie carter died last saturday from endometrial cancer complications. she was 70. she left behind holbrook and her two daughters from her first marriage, mary dixie and ginna.
she also left behind some priceless perspective a la julia － here she is tearing up a pageant poptart who's been dissing her sister, suzanne:
image source: reuters