It was through Designing Women that Carter became a star. Her characterization became famous for her lengthy and often hilarious diatribes on any number of issues. Here’s one of my favorite clips, in which Carter’s “Julia” is trapped on a jury, endangering her planned dinner with Jimmy Carter: Dixie’s role on Designing Women was an avowed liberal, and her rants were often political in nature, a direct contrast to Carter herself, who describes herself as a “libertarian,” but is in fact a Republican. She had a deal with the show’s creators that, anytime she delivered a particularly left-leaning speech, she (the actress) would be rewarded with the chance to sing in another episode. (Dixie Carter is an accomplished singer, appearing in musicals throughout her career and headlining her own cabaret act.) This week’s Dance Party is one of those “paybacks” from Designing Women. In the episode, a slightly tipsy Julia Sugarbaker dedicates a sweet song to her son on his wedding day:
Dixie Carter turned 70 years old this week.