Dixie Virginia Carter (May 25, 1939 – April 10, 2010) was an American film, television and stage actress. She starred as Julia Sugarbaker on the CBS sitcom Designing Women (1986–93), and as Randi King on the CBS drama series Family Law (1999–2002). In 2007, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role as Gloria Hodge on the ABC series Desperate Housewives (2006–07).
Carter made her professional stage debut in a Memphis production of the musical Carousel in 1960, and made her Broadway debut in the 1974 musical Sextet. After appearing for two years as District Attorney Brandy Henderson on the CBS soap The Edge of Night (1974–76), she returned to Broadway in the 1976 musical Pal Joey. Her other television roles included the sitcoms On Our Own (1977–78), Filthy Rich (1982–83) and Diff'rent Strokes (1984–85). In 1997, she starred as Maria Callas in the Broadway play Master Class, and in 2004 she played Mrs. Meers in the Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Carter died on April 10, 2010, in Houston. Her death was announced by her husband, who stated the cause as complications from endometrial cancer which was diagnosed earlier in 2010. In addition to Holbrook, she is survived by her daughters from her first marriage: Ginna Carter (of Los Angeles) and Mary Dixie Carter (of Brooklyn), as well as a sister, Melba Helen Heath (of San Anselmo, California) and several nephews and nieces. In addition to family, her funeral, held on April 15, 2010, was attended by Designing Women co-stars Delta Burke, Annie Potts, and Jean Smart. Dixie Carter was interred in her hometown, McLemoresville, Tennessee.
The Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center (informally called "The Dixie") in Huntingdon, Tennessee, is named in honor of Carter.
A public service announcement made by Carter in 2003 describing and offering outreach to sufferers of spasmodic torticollis / cervical dystonia began appearing in New York and New Jersey, and then across the United States in 2010.