Georgia Engel, the angel-voiced actress who played Georgette Franklin Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has died. Engel’s cause of death was unknown because she was a Christian Scientist and didn’t consult doctors, her friend and executor John Quilty told The New York Times. Georgia Engel was 70-years-old.
Engel, a five-time Emmy nominee, was best known for her role as Georgette, the soft-spoken girlfriend and eventual wife on Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Engel joined the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1972 during its third season and remained on the show until its 1977 finale. She was just 24-years-old when she joined the hit sitcom.
In a 2007 interview with The Toronto Star, Georgia Engel said her role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show was originally supposed to be a one-off scene.
“It was only going to be one episode,” Engel said. “And I was just supposed to have a few lines in a party scene, but they kept giving me more and more to do.”
In the late 1970s, Georgia Engel reunited with her Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Betty White for White’s short-lived self-titled sitcom. The two stars would later work together on White’s TV Land comedy Hot in Cleveland.
During a video interview with TV Land, White revealed that she fell in love with Georgia Engel, who was 27 years her junior, when working with her on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
“You don’t get a chance very often in your life to meet a friend like Georgia, let alone an actress that you’re working with, and to suddenly find pure gold. That’s a privilege,” White said.
In addition to guest roles on The Love Boat, Coach, and Two and a Half Men, Georgia Engel had a recurring role as Pat MacDougall, the mother-in-law of Brad Garret’s Robert Barone, on Everybody Loves Raymond from 2003-2005. She recurred on pal Betty White’s TV Land hit Hot in Cleveland from 2012-2015, playing Mamie Sue Johnson. Georgia Engel’s most recent acting appearance was on Netflix’s One Day at a Time as Sister Barbara, Variety reports. Engel’s stage credits included Hello Dolly! and the Broadway musical The Drowsy Chaperone in 2006, followed by its national tour.
After Georgia Engel’s death was announced, fans and friends reacted to the loss of the sweet sitcom star. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Betty White, 97, said, “Georgia was one of a kind. The absolute best!”
Betty White also posted a sweet throwback photo with Georgia Engel in which she vowed that their friendship will be “forever.”
Valerie Bertinelli, Engel’s co-star on Hot in Cleveland, took to Twitter to remember her beloved friend.
“Georgia Engel was the sweetest, kindest, dearest woman. And crazy talented. I will miss her.”
Georgia Engel is survived by her sisters Robin Engel and Penny Lusk. Funeral services will be private.