Actress Dixie Carter belied the stereotypical image of a Southern belle with her smart choices in roles that often showcased strong-willed and steely characters. Audiences loved her as the classy-yet-brassy Julia Sugarbaker on "Designing Women" (CBS, 1986-1993), a Southern-flavored sitcom centered on four women who worked together at an interior design firm. On "Designing Women," Carter imbued her character with the perfect combination of wit, charm and beauty, and helped make the series one of the network's most watched shows during its seven-year run. The theater-trained actress' career peaked with the CBS series, but she remained a vibrant figure on television and was highly sought out to play tough characters such as a lawyer on "Family Law" (CBS, 1999-2002) or an overbearing matriarch on "Ladies Man" (CBS, 1999-2001). In 2007, Carter revived her career with a critically acclaimed performance on the comedy "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004- ), playing a Machiavellian mother obsessed with her son. Whether playing the strong women she became known for or belting out a song on Broadway, Carter's long acting career was a testament to her undeniable talent and versatility and her happy marriage to fellow actor Hal Holbrook was an inspiration in an industry sometimes brutal on interpersonal relationships.