Entertainment

Georgia Engel, known for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, dies at 70

Georgia Engel, who played the charmingly innocent, small-voiced Georgette on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and amassed a string of other TV and stage credits, has died. She was 70.

TV, stage veteran praised as 'the sweetest, kindest, dearest woman. And crazy talented'

Prolific television actor Georgia Engel, also a regular in the theatre world, has died at the age of 70. (Mike Pont/Getty Images for American Theater Wing)

Georgia Engel, who played the charmingly innocent, small-voiced Georgette on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and amassed a string of other TV and stage credits, has died. She was 70.

Engel died Friday in Princeton, N.J., said her friend and executor, John Quilty. The cause of death was unknown because she was a Christian Scientist and didn't see doctors, Quilty said Monday.

"I know the world will be sad and sorry. She touched so many people," said her agent, Jacqueline Stander.

Engel was best known for her role as Georgette on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the character who was improbably destined to marry pompous anchorman Ted Baxter, played by Ted Knight.

Engel also had recurring roles on Everybody Loves Raymond and Hot in Cleveland. 

She was a five-time Emmy nominee, receiving two nods for the late Moore's show and three for Everybody Loves Raymond.

She was "the sweetest, kindest, dearest woman. And crazy talented. I will miss her," Valerie Bertinelli, who starred in Hot in Clevelandsaid in a Twitter post

Prolific career in television, theatre

Georgia Bright Engel was born in July 1948 in Washington, D.C., to parents Benjamin, a Coast Guard officer, and Ruth Engel. She studied theater at the University of Hawaii.

Her prolific career included guest appearances on a variety of series, including The Love BoatFantasy Island, Coach and Two and a Half Men

Her Hot in Cleveland role reunited her with Betty White, her co-star in The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1972-77) and The Betty White Show (1977-78).

Georgia Engel, second right, is seen at a 2008 event in Hollywood with former Mary Tyler Moore Show co-stars Betty White, from left, Mary Tyler Moore and Cloris Leachman. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Engel appeared on Broadway in plays and musicals including Hello, Dolly!, The Boys from Syracuse and, most recently, The Drowsy Chaperone in 2006-07. She starred in an off-Broadway production of Uncle Vanya in 2012.

Upbeat outlook

Engel could be as upbeat as the fictional Georgette, as was demonstrated during a panel discussion last year promoting the 2018 PBS special, Betty White: First Lady of Television.

She recalled that a possible Everybody Loves Raymond spinoff set to include her and Fred Willard never come to fruition, which she called a great disappointment.

Edward Hibbert and Engel appear in the 2005, pre-Broadway run of The Drowsy Chaperone in Los Angeles. (Craig Schwartz/Center Theater Group/Associated Press)

"But if that hadn't happened," she said, "I wouldn't have been able to star" in writer-actor Bob Martin's Drowsy Chaperone, which led to her custom-tailored role in Martin's Half Time

The musical, about older adults who school themselves in hip hop to perform in half-time shows, was staged in New Jersey last year.

"It's given me such joy," said Engel, who had hoped to see it move to Broadway.

Her real-life voice was as sweet as the one familiar from her screen roles.

"What you see is what you get. That's not a character voice — that's our girl," a smiling White said in a 2012 interview with Engel, calling her a "pure gold" friend and colleague.

Engel's final credited television appearance came last year in the Netflix series One Day at a Time.

Funeral services for Engel, whose survivors include her sisters Robin Engel and Penny Lusk, will be private, Quilty said.

Engel is seen with former co-star Mary Tyler Moore in New York in 1992. (Malcolm Clarke/Associated Press)

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