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.” We remember Carter’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died 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 died this day in history.
2014: Phyllis Frelich, U.S. actress who starred in “Children of a Lesser God” on Broadway, dies at 70.
She was the oldest of nine deaf children born to deaf parents. Frelich became interested in acting while at Gallaudet. She joined the National Theatre of the Deaf where she met Robert Steinberg, who worked as a scenic and lighting designer on several plays by Mark Medoff. The couple inspired Medoff to create “Children of a Lesser God,” which follows the relationship between a deaf woman and a teacher at a school for the deaf. The production was first staged in New Mexico and then in Los Angeles. Frelich won a Tony in 1980 for her Broadway portrayal of Sarah Norman, the deaf woman at the heart of the play. Read more
2013: Jimmy Dawkins, U.S. blues guitarist and singer who was an integral part of the Chicago blues scene, dies at 76.
Dawkins was born in Mississippi. An only child, Dawkins taught himself to play guitar before moving to Chicago in the 1950s. Delmark Records owner Bob Koester said Dawkins began playing Chicago’s blues clubs in the 1960s, gaining a reputation as an excellent side man and playing with such notables as Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. Read more
2010: Dixie Carter, U.S. actress known best for starring in the sitcom “Designing Women,” dies at 70.
Feminists had certainly appeared on TV before 1986, even as main characters in 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. TV’s previous feminists didn’t operate on the assumption that it was perfectly normal to found and run your own business – that women were managing their own lives proved par for the course. Julia Sugarbaker did. Of course, her feminist views led to some of her famous rants, delivered with Dixie Carter’s signature panache. Read more
2007: Dakota Staton, U.S. jazz singer who had a hit song with “The Late, Late Show,” dies at 76.
2003: Little Eva, U.S. pop singer who sang the hit song “The Loco-Motion,” dies at 59.
As legend has it, the song “The Loco-Motion” was born when married songwriting team Carole King and Gerry Goffin saw their baby sitter, Eva Boyd, doing a unique dance while taking care of some chores. They wrote a song about her funny dance and looked for someone to record it. Magically, they discovered that the baby sitter could sing as well as dance, so they asked her to record the song … and just like that, the world got a No. 1 hit, dance craze, and new singing sensation in the form of Little Eva. An amazing series of events! Read more
2000: Larry Linville, U.S. actor well-known for playing Major Frank Burns on the TV series “M*A*S*H,” dies at 60.
1992: Sam Kinison, U.S. comedian known for his intense style who had a role in the movie “Back to School,” dies in an auto accident at 38.
1991: Natalie Schafer, U.S. actress remembered best for playing Mrs. Howell on the sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” dies at 90.
1991: Martin Hannett, England music producer known best for his work with the band Joy Division, dies at 42.
1991: Kevin Peter Hall, U.S. actor who played Harry in the movie “Harry and the Hendersons” and the predator in “The Predator” movies, dies at 35.
1986: Linda Creed, U.S. songwriter who co-wrote the hit songs “You Are Everything,” “Break Up To Make Up,” and “Greatest Love of All,” which was recorded by Whitney Houston, dies of breast cancer at 37.
1980: Kay Medford, U.S. actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as the mother of Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl,” dies at 65.
1979: Nino Rota, Italian composer and pianist who won an Academy Award for his score for “The Godfather Part II,” dies at 67.
1975: Marjorie Main, U.S. actress known best for playing Ma Kettle in a series of Ma and Pa Kettle movies, dies at 85.
1966: Evelyn Waugh, English author whose books include “Brideshead Revisited,” dies at 62.
1965: Linda Darnell, U.S. actress who was most popular in the 1940s and starred in “Unfaithfully Yours,” dies in a house fire at 41.
Stuart Sutcliffe, who died 53 years ago today, has often been called the Fifth Beatle, but in reality he was the fourth. Sutcliffe met a young John Lennon when they both studied art at the Liverpool College of Art, according to Bill Harry’s “The Beatles Encyclopedia,” and was recruited to play bass for guitarists John, George, and Paul. Read more
1962: Michael Curtiz, Hungarian film director who won an Academy Award for “Casablanca,” dies at 75.
1958: Chuck Willis, U.S. rhythm and blues singer whose best-known hit was “C.C. Rider” in 1957, dies during surgery at 30.
1938: Joe “King” Oliver, U.S. jazz cornet player who led the popular Creole Jazz Band and was the mentor of Louis Armstrong, dies at 56.
1931: Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-born U.S. artist and third-best-selling poet of all time whose book “The Prophet” became a 1960s counterculture hit, dies at 48.