Dixie Carter, also known on Desperate Housewives as Gloria Hodge, the deranged mother of Orson Hodge, died Saturday morning from complications of endometrial cancer. The 70-year-old actress is survived by her husband of nearly 26 years, Hal Holbrook, her daughters, Ginna Carter and Mary Dixie Carter, and sister, Melba Helen Heath.
"This has been a terrible blow to our family," Holbrook told Entertainment Tonight. "We would appreciate everyone understanding that this is a private family tragedy."
Dixie Carter, whose Desperate Housewives stint earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2007, first made a name for herself in a Memphis production of Carousel in 1960. Subsequently, she landed roles on soaps such as One Life to Live and The Edge of Night before appearing on series like Out of the Blue, On Our Own, Different Strikes and Filthy Rich, which ultimately paved the way for her most famous role as interior decorator Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women, a sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1993.
During her time on Designing Women, Carter had a chance to work with real-life actor husband Hal Holbrook, who had a recurring role as Reese Watson, as well as her daughters Ginna and Mary Dixie, who both had guest roles as Julia Sugarbaker's nieces, Jennifer and Camilla.
Dixie Carter was last seen on That Evening Sun, a drama that also featured Holbrook.