Flooding Susie’s Inbox

April 13, 2010

Whistling Dixie

Filed under: Uncategorized — sashyjane @ 10:59 am

In the excitement over the Master’s, I nearly overlooked the passing of one of the Sugarbaker women.

Here’s an excerpt from her obituary:

Dixie Carter, an actress who gave strong, opinionated Southern women a good name in the television series “Designing Women” in the 1980s and 1990s and later had success as a cabaret singer, died on Saturday in Houston. She was 70 and lived in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Her death was announced by her husband, the actor Hal Holbrook, who said that the cause was complications of endometrial cancer.

In “Designing Women,” which ran for seven seasons on CBS, Ms. Carter’s character, Julia Sugarbaker, led what began as an all-woman interior design business in Atlanta and specialized in sarcasm. “If sex were fast food, there’d be an arch over your bed,” she once snapped at her sister Suzanne (played by Delta Burke). Yet when Julia went into a theatrical tirade, which was often, it usually was to serve some higher social or political principle.

In addition to Mr. Holbrook, she is survived by her daughters, Ginna Carter of Los Angeles and Mary Dixie Carter of Brooklyn; a sister, Melba Helen Heath, of San Anselmo, Calif.; and several nieces and nephews.

Although Ms. Carter long ago moved to California for her television career, she and Mr. Holbrook also kept a home in McLemoresville. In 1999, she told The Palm Beach Post that she treasured the courtesy and kindness she found in Tennessee, a welcome contrast to the backstabbing and sniping of Hollywood.

“Of course in the South we talk about people too,” she said. “But if you end your comments with ‘Bless her heart,’ you’re off the hook.”

Rest in peace, Dixie. Thank you for each hilarious episode of Designing Women, you will be missed. 

Yesterday, in my mind’s eye, I saw four women standing on a veranda in white, gauzy dresses and straw-colored hats. They were having a conversation. And it was hot. Their hankies tucked in cleavages where eternal trickles of perspiration run from the female breastbone to exotic vacation spots that southern men often dream about. They were sweet-smelling, coy, cunning, voluptuous, voracious, delicious, pernicious, vexing and sexing… these earth sister/rebel mothers… these arousers and carousers. And I was filled with a longing to join them. But like a whim of Scarlett’s, they turned suddenly and went inside, shutting me out with a bolt of a latch. And I was left only to pick up an abandoned handkerchief and savor the perfumed shadows of these women… these southern women. This Suzanne. This Julia. This Mary Jo and Charlene. Thanks for the comfort, Dash Goff Sara Jane… the writer blogger/fan.

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1 Comment »

  1. Designing women was such a good show! I do love that Dixie Carter gave us “outspoken Southern women” a good name. Because “I want to thank you, Ray Don!”…

    Comment by Susie — April 15, 2010 @ 12:05 pm


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