When Dixie Carter died last Saturday, Julia Sugarbaker breathed her last too. Although Julia Sugarbaker was only one role she played during a lifetime as a working actor, it is the one I will always associate most with her. Writer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason may have created the feisty southern character, but it was Dixie Carter who made her come alive.
During the late 80’s and early 90’s there were several television shows I tried never to miss, and Designing Women was one of them. While I always pictured myself as more Murphy Brown than Julia Sugarbaker, my step-mom Cullene could easily have been the model for the well heeled, articulate character, who was always willing to fight for the underdog or let someone know when they had pushed her just a bit too far.
As I’ve gotten older, I know there have been times in my life when I might have been channeling versions of all three women, calling on some secret source of inner strength that even I was not always aware was waiting in reserve. Take a look at this video where Julia speaks her mind one more time if you are not sure of what I mean. Dixie Carter may be gone, but she lives on in her children, in the roles she created, and in women who cheered each time Julia Sugarbaker stood her ground, leading the way for southern women who were watching like me.