Georgia Engel, who rose to stardom as Georgette Franklin in the 1970s comedy series The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died on Friday at the age of 70. Following Engel’s death, there has been a renewed interest in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the comedy series through which she shot to stardom.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show is a TV sitcom series that originally aired from September 1970 to March 1977 on CBS.
In the series, created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, Georgia co-starred with Mary Tyler Moore, who played the leading character, Mary Richards. In the 1970s, Mary’s role as an unmarried and financial independently woman focused on her career as an associate producer on the fictional WJM-TV’s Six O’clock news program. It was considered groundbreaking against the backdrop of the resurgence of feminist activism.
Other members of the main cast of the show included Edward Asner as Lou Grant, Valerie Harper as Rhoda Morgenstern, Cloris Leachman as Phyllis Lindstrom, Gavin MacLeod as Murray Slaughter, Ted Knight as Georgette’s husband Ted Baxter, Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens, and John Amos as the weatherman Gordy Howard.
Engel played the supporting role of Georgette Franklin from 1972 to 1977. Her character Georgette provided comic relief as the somewhat silly and scatterbrained girlfriend, and later wife, of the loud, blustering and brash news anchor Ted Baxter, played by Ted Knight.
Mary Richards and Georgette struck a friendship and she helped to fill in for Mary’s friends Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman) and Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) after they left.
Georgette first appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1972 at a party thrown by Mary Richards. She was a co-worker of Rhoda’s at Hempel’s Department Store in Minneapolis, where she worked as a window dresser. She later worked at a car rental service.
After Georgette got married to her boyfriend Ted in Mary’s apartment, they adopted David (Robbie Rist), but she later gave birth to Mary Lou, also in Mary’s apartment.
The show received positive critical reception and enjoyed high ratings. During its original run on CBS from 1970 to 1977, The Mary Tyler Moore Show received multiple Primetime Emmy Awards, with Moore receiving three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding lead actress in a Comedy Series.
Georgia received two Emmy Award nominations for best-supporting actress in a comedy.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show had three spinoffs, Rhoda, Phyllis, and Lou Grant.