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Dixie Carter Biography

Dixie Carter
Date of Birth
Thursday May 25 1939
McLemoresville (Tennessee)


A Southern-born leading lady and singer with hazel eyes and dark brown hair, Dixie Carter made her first professional appearances at Memphis' highly regarded Front Street Theater, playing soprano leads in "Carousel", "Oklahoma!", "Brigadoon", "The King and I", "The Student Prince", "The New Moon" and "Babes in Arms", as well as performing with the Memphis Shakespeare Festival. She made her Off-Broadway debut as Perdita in a New York Shakespeare Festival production of "A Winter's Tale" (1963) but left her promising career to marry and have children. Returning to the stage after an eight-year absence, Carter co-starred on Broadway in the musical "Sextet" (1974) and played Melba in the Circle in the Square revival of "Pal Joey" (1976) while playing Brandy Harrison on the long-running daytime serial "The Edge of Night" (first CBS, then ABC) from 1974-1976. She also worked frequently at Joseph Papp's Public Theater, winning a Theatre World Award for "Jesse and the Bandit Queen" (1976), and later at Lincoln Center, where she appeared in the musicals "The King & I", "Carousel" and "The Merry Widow".

Beginning in 1977, Carter appeared as a series regular in "On Our Own" (CBS), "Out of the Blue" (ABC), "Filthy Rich" (CBS) and "Different Strokes" (NBC), finally achieving her greatest success on the CBS comedy hit, "Designing Women", bringing her dusky, tongue-in-cheek drawl, glaring eyes and mature charm to the role of Julia Sugarbaker, the most sensible and vocally liberal of that show's four decorator divas. Carter met her current husband Hal Holbrook while starring opposite him in the CBS movie "The Killing of Randy Webster" (1981), and he had a recurring role on "Designing Women" as her romantic interest. They also co-starred in "A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle" (NBC, 1994). In addition to her many musical theater credits, Carter has excelled as a cabaret performer, playing NYC's Cafe Carlyle every year but one since 1989 and singing at the White House in November of 1993, the tape of that performance airing on PBS as "Cabaret" (1994). Carter's early ambition to sing opera came to naught, but she sort of realized her dream of being an opera singer by taking over the part of the great diva Maria Callas in Terrence McNally's "Master Class" (1997), the only spring she missed her engagement at the Carlyle.

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