No other actress could deliver a song or a rant like Dixie Carter

by CynthiaYockey on April 10, 2010

Actress and singer Dixie Carter died the morning of Saturday, April 10, at the age of 70. She is survived by her husband of 26 years, Hal Holbrook, and her daughters from her first marriage to businessman Arthur Carter (no relation), Mary Dixie and Ginna.

When I checked Ms. Carter’s biography on Wikipedia, I was surprised to learn that she was a libertarian and described herself as “the only Republican in Hollywood.” Her most famous role was Julia Sugarbaker on the TV comedy series “Designing Women,” which ran from 1986 to 1993. Julia was a liberal and famous for her scathing rants. Ms. Carter made a deal with the show’s producers that for every liberal rant she had to deliver, she would get to sing in a future show.

I’m so glad that YouTube has a clip from “Designing Women” of Ms. Carter singing the inspiring old hymn, “How Great Thou Art.” As I recall the plot of that episode, Jean Smart’s character, Charlene, has a crisis of faith when she learns that her religion does not allow women to become ministers. In a scene before the clip, Charlene tells her minister that she must leave his church and her religion because their policy does not match her experience of God. When Charlene enters Julia’s church while Julia is singing “How Great Thou Art,” it symbolizes her affirmation of her faith in God as she joins Julia’s church — this is why Julia seems sad and tentative as she begins singing and her voice becomes strong and soaring when she sees Charlene:

The next clip is from a “Designing Women” reunion show and I’m including it because the actresses mention Julia’s most famous and beloved rant of the entire series, which is known as, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.” They report it is a favorite monologue for drag queens to perform in gay bars. And I’m also including it for their expression of love to the gay members of their audience and pledge of support for gay marriage:

OK, now here it is, Dixie Carter’s most famous rant as Julia Sugarbaker, “The night the lights went out in Georgia”:

I will miss Ms. Carter and I send my condolences to her family and my prayers for her soul to be blessed always in every way.

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  • Lanny Short

    I didn’t realize that Dixie Carter wasn’t a lib. Great actress, she. RIP.

  • I’m no expert on acting or actors and actresses. I do recognize class, though and she was a woman who had it, in spades.

  • I’m so sorry about her death. I really liked her. She was my favorite on the show. Regarding her political affiliation, It’s nice to hear she didn’t follow the usual Hollywood mindset.

    OT, I heard you on talk radio a few weeks ago. I cannot remember which show. I’ve been following your blog ever since. I’m a Marylander too. 🙂

  • Ahh that’s right, Rush was away for a bit. I tend to listen to him along with more talk radio hosts since the whole health care nightmare. In my early 20’s I was very active politically, and well this issue is pulling me off the sidelines. Interestingly enough my brother and I got my father involved in helping out at the local level. He’s still active politically. It felt great helping out some of the local Republican candidates alongside of him.

    Re: Restaurant
    Now and again I used to eat crab cakes. I became veggie in 1991. That gives some folks a pause since they assume that all veggies are liberals and I’m black too, whatever was I thinking about deviating from the norm, eh? I’ll pop by there soon and purchase some for my parents. They love them!

    I know exactly where you’re talking about too. As children, my brother and I went to a small private school. During the warmer months (on our gym days) our gym was at Singer Field. I keep meaning to drive by to see if it’s still there.

    Also nice to hear Mrs. Carter was conservative and supportive of gays too. That’s another misconception, some people assume that conservatives aren’t supportive of same sex relationships. That’s simply not true, we don’t all think the same way. 🙂
    .-= Deimonia´s last blog ..Subtlety Rogue; Doing it from behind… =-.

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