Designing Women star Dixie Carter, whose Southern charm and natural beauty won her a host of television roles, died yesterday at age 70. "This has been a terrible blow to our family," husband and actor Hal Holbrook said in a written statement that did not disclose cause of death. "We would appreciate everyone understanding that this is a private family tragedy."
A Tennessee native, Carter was most famous for playing wisecracking Southerner Julia Sugarbaker for seven years on Designing Women, an atypical sitcom that tackled such topics as sexism, ageism, body image, and AIDS. A recurring role on Diff'rent Strokes launched her television career, but she was nominated for an Emmy as recently as 2007 for her seven-episode guest stint on Desperate Housewives. In addition to Holbrook, Carter is survived by daughters Mary Dixie and Ginna.