Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Two, Two, Two Posts in One!
Well, yesterday's mystery was no puzzle at all to the Café's discerning readership, and while I truly wish I could triumphantly announce that she was in fact Mary Ann Mobley - or even Gloria Huddle (thank you, George!) - she was, of course...
None other than this familiar lady, Miss Dixie Carter. The prize goes to Cookie, although Bill gallantly stood aside just a few minutes earlier. When seen in the jaunty snap of yesterday, she was starring in a local production of Oklahoma! in her hometown, Memphis, TN, still a few years off from heading for the big city.
Carter was one of those performers who spent a couple of decades of knocking around on the edges of show business - soap operas, guest shots, and two marriages to theater stalwarts - before landing what turned into a signature role. That she herself was not all that much like the crusading, fearless Julia Sugarbaker of Designing Women did nothing to dent her popularity, which continued through her too early death. A staunch Republican, Carter did at least break party ranks enough to be a gay-rights supporter, which is a good thing, given her show's most vociferous admirers.
And why, you ask, two posts in one? Well, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't shift gears and celebrate the 98th birthday of another actress noted for playing a signature Southern role, the ineffable and divine Miss Olivia de Havilland.
Carter seems to have been softer around the edges than flinty Julia; de Havilland, by contrast, excelled at playing delicate ladies while herself having a very definite core of steel. Her inner strength has stood her in good stead, to the very top of the studio system and on through a contented Paris retirement that has now lasted longer than most Hollywood careers could ever hope to.
If nothing else, we can certainly attest that she had better taste in roles than she did in hats.
And now that she's outlasted sister Joan, I can only assume that today she's fueled in her longevity by knowing that if she holds out long enough, eventually she'll have to beat Luise Rainer...