The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”

By now tributes have been posted in many places. So’ll I’ll just add mine to them, and say that a little bit of light went out in the world when Dixie Carter passed away.

80th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon

Designing Women” star Dixie Carter, whose Southern charm and natural beauty won her a host of television roles, has died at age 70.

Carter died Saturday morning, according to publicist Steve Rohr, who represents Carter and her husband, actor Hal Holbrook. He declined to disclose the cause of death or where she died. Carter lived with Holbrook in the Los Angeles area.

“This has been a terrible blow to our family,” Holbrook said in a written statement. “We would appreciate everyone understanding that this is a private family tragedy.”

A native of Tennessee, Carter was most famous for playing wisecracking Southerner Julia Sugarbaker for seven years on “Designing Women,” the CBS sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1993. The series was the peak of a career in which she often played wealthy and self-important but independent Southern women.

OK. Dixie Carter was originally from Tennessee. But Julia Sugarbaker, the character Carter is most well known for, was. And while Julia was a fictional character, she had the same grace, beauty, wit, charm, and sharp tongue of many Georgia belles — and many other southern women — I’ve known. And Carter, being from the south, I’m sure knew many “Julia Sugarbakers” herself.

And, yes, the show had a huge gay following. I can recall going to a bar where Designing Women was projected on a huge screen. During the commercials, the television was drowned out by the bar’s music and the chatter of the customers. But when the show came back on, the music went off and conversations ceased, or dropped down to whispers.

The only other show I recall getting that treatement was, of course, The Golden Girls. Maybe Dynasty was another, but I wasn’t

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