Georgia Engel, seen here on a Television Critics Association panel in August, is best known for her role at The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She died on Friday of 70 years. [Foto: Chris Pizzello, Invision / AP]
Engel are best known for their role as softly expressed Georgette Franklin, the sweet, ever so innocent girlfriend and the later lady of the self-adhesive TV anchor Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) on one of the best sitcoms ever, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show".
Younger viewers may know her as the son of Brad Garrett's Robert on "Everybody Loves Raymond" and she also appeared in recurring roles on "Coach," the soap "Passions," and more recently in "Hot in Cleveland" who reunited her with "Moore" castmate and friend Betty White.
Engel died Friday at age 70 in Princeton, New Jersey, said John Quilty, identified as his friend and executive of the Associated Press. Quilty said the cause of death was not known because she was a Christian researcher and did not visit a doctor, according to the AP.
Despite a successful and long-lasting career that included the 2018 appearance in Netflix "One Day at a Time" and a theater music, "Half Time", Engel will always be best known as the sweet, lovable but subtly wise Georgette, the type by truth everyone can use. Angel was obviously a good friend in real life as well, because she maintained relationships with her "Moore" cohorts over the years, appearing in two white comedies, "The Betty White Show" and "Hot in Cleveland."
"Betty is one of my dearest friends, and so it was a special joy when I got to "Hot in Cleveland" with her, "said Engel in July at a Television Critics Association panel focusing on a PBS special that celebrates White's career.
Engel, who had a background in the music theater but only a couple of TV credits when she first appeared on "Moore" during her third season, jumped amazingly aboard the smooth running sitcom – no simple achievement – and established herself among a cast. of star veterans, including Moore, Knight and Edward Asner.
Engel and Betty White, who played the naughty happy homemaker Sue Ann Nivens, helped the popular comedy that ran seven seasons from 1970 to 1977, transitional supporting players like original cast members Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman went to their own spin-off comedies on the power of " The success of the Moore "show. Their ancestors left big shoes and Engel and White filled them admirably.
The twilight, lustful Sue Ann, a mediator of mediocrity behind a false smile, became more of a breakout character, but Engel did an impressive and perhaps more difficult task with Georgette, who had to fill some of the best friend's void created by Harper's beloved Rhoda Morgenstern's departure.
Fortunately, manufacturers did not attempt to make Georgette a carbon copy of the knowing, tart-tongued Rhoda. In Georgette, they wrote – and Engel embodied – a whole new character on the show: An angelic, innocent woman whose lack of knowing seemed to be less the result of ignorance than of the highest innocence.
Georgette was less central than any of the other characters, but Engel apparently showed a strong impression on his actors, and serves two Emmy nominations to support the actress. (She later received three guest-actors nominations for "Raymond.")
Georgette's lack of sophistication and misunderstanding gave lots of laugh lines, but she was never the joke's shot and Engel permeated the character with a wisdom of life not found in textbooks.
It was probably not wisdom, but conviction, which explained why she got stuck with a pompous lump like Ted, whose obliviousness to his own flaws was one of the best and longest runs in the show. And in comparison to Ted, Georgette could at least seem like a genius.
Georgette and Ted were finally married (with promise administered by a young John Ritter). They adopted a boy and later Georgette became pregnant and had a daughter.
Engel came along with Moore, White, Harper and Leachman for a memorable 2013 meeting on "Hot in Cleveland." It was great to see all the star team together but also sad, because Harper faced life-threatening cancer (fortunately she is still with us) and Moore, who suffered from diabetes, was in physical decline. She died in 2017.
After "Moore" Engel came on White on "The Betty White Show", a short-lived sitcom, before moving on to other roles during the decades, including guest plays at "Office" and "Two and a half. men "and a role in" The Drowsy Chaperone "on Broadway.
She expressed her gratitude to White for helping her on the TCA panel.
"After" Moore "ended … all went out to make their own spinoffs, and I found out later Betty said," Well, what about Georgia? "Engel said." And then she took me her. It was a short-lived series, but it only speaks to Betty's self-forgetfulness. "
It also speaks to Engels' value as a friend, a characteristic that apparently applied to the woman as well as her memorable character. And, thanks to TV reruns, she can also be that friend of viewers.
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