Dixie Carter’s sweet Southern charm graced American televisions for seven years as one of the stars of “Designing Women.” We remember Carter’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Dixie Carter‘s sweet Southern charm graced American televisions for seven years as she played the indomitable Julia Sugarbaker, one of the stars of “Designing Women.” In addition to that classic sitcom, Carter also found success on shows like “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Family Law,” and “Desperate Housewives,” for which she earned an Emmy nomination. Carter is perhaps remembered best as the outspoken, liberal feminist Julia Sugarbaker, a character with whom the actress was often in disagreement. Carter, a registered Republican, worked out an agreement with producers, whereby she would deliver Sugarbaker’s left-leaning monologues in exchange for the chance to perform a song in a later episode. We remember Carter’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1939: Dixie Carter, U.S. actress known best for her starring role on “Designing Women,” is born in McLemoresville, Tennessee.
Feminists had certainly appeared on TV before 1986, even as main characters on sitcoms. But the feminism of “That Girl” was quiet and soft-spoken, and the feminism of “Maude” was in-your-face and aimed to shock. Previous television feminists didn’t operate on the assumption that it was perfectly normal to found and run your own business – that women managing their own lives was par for the course. Julia Sugarbaker did. Read more
1938: Raymond Carver, U.S. author and poet who wrote award-winning short stories including “Are These Actual Miles” and “Errand,” is born in Clatskanie, Oregon.
For nearly a decade, Carver’s work appeared only in academic literary quarterlies, but in 1971 it came to the attention of Esquire editor Gordon Lish, whose publication of “Neighbors” brought Carver into the mainstream. Lish’s editorial relationship with Carver has proven a fertile ground for exploration in recent years, with the 2009 publication of Carver’s original short story manuscripts betraying a more expansive and conventional storytelling style than what, under Lish’s red pen, Carver became famous for. Read more
1932: K.C. Jones, legendary point guard for the Boston Celtics who helped lead the team to eight NBA titles as a player and then two more as the head coach, is born in Taylor, Texas.
1929: Beverly Sills, U.S. operatic soprano whose signature roles included Elisabetta in “Roberto Devereux,” is born in Brooklyn, New York.
The coloratura soprano recorded 18 full-length operas, was featured on the covers of Time and Newsweek, and appeared on many of the world’s greatest opera stages. She received four Emmys for her weekly television program, “Lifestyles With Beverly Sills.” Her autobiography, “Bubbles: A Self-Portrait,” was a best-seller. In 1978, Sills announced she would retire in 1980, ending a 40-year performing career and transitioning to a role behind the scenes. She worked as a co-director of the New York City Opera, helping to make the organization financially viable before moving on to serve as chairwoman of the Lincoln Center and then the Metropolitan Opera before retiring in 2005. Read more
1927: Robert Ludlum, U.S. author of popular novels including “The Bourne Identity,” is born in New York, New York.
Many of his early espionage thrillers revolved around Nazi conspiracies, while later his villains were usually Communists. As the Cold War waned, he switched his focus to the terrorism threat. Ludlum wrote longhand on yellow legal pads, charging his secretary with typing his manuscripts into a computer, which he claimed not to know how to even turn on. While the public gobbled up his novels and they became mainstays of airport bookstores worldwide, the critics were only grudgingly appreciative. “It was a lousy novel,” ran a typical review appearing in The Washington Post, “so I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it.” Read more
1925: Jeanne Crain, U.S. actress who received an Oscar nomination for her performance in “Pinky,” is born in Barstow, California.
1922: Kitty Kallen, U.S. singer known best for her 1954 recording “Little Things Mean a Lot,” which has sold more than 2 million copies, is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
With her 1954 solo hit, which went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart of the top songs in the U.S., Kallen was voted most popular female singer in polls conducted by Variety and Billboard. She continued to record, but she didn’t reach the top 20 in the U.S. Hot 100 chart until 1962’s “My Coloring Book,” which reached No. 18. Read more
1921: Hal David, U.S. songwriter whose well-known compositions with partner Burt Bacharach include “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and “Walk on By,” is born in New York, New York.
But the collaboration for which they were known best came in 1962, when they began writing for a young singer named Dionne Warwick. Warwick’s versatile voice could convey the emotion of David’s lyrics and handle the changing patterns of Bacharach’s melodies. Together the trio created a chain of hits: “Don’t Make Me Over,” “Walk on By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” and “Always Something There To Remind Me” (which later was a hit for the 1980s synth pop band Naked Eyes), among others. Read more
1897: Gene Tunney, U.S. boxer who was the world heavyweight champion from 1926 to 1928, is born in New York, New York.