'Mary Tyler Moore Show' actress Georgia Engel dies at 70

A friend of Georgia Engel, the actress who was part of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," says she has died at age 70

ByLYNN ELBER AP Television Writer
April 16, 2019, 10:13 PM
Georgia Engel
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 31, 2018, file photo, actress Georgia Engel answers a question during a panel discussion on the PBS special "Betty White: First Lady of Television" at the 2018 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Engel, who was part of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," died Friday, April 12, 2019, in Princeton, N.J., at age 70. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- 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, New Jersey, said her friend and executor, John Quilty. The cause of death was unknown because she was a Christian Scientist and didnt 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 Moores 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 Cleveland, said in a Twitter post.

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 Boat, Fantasy 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).

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.

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.

But if that hadnt happened, she said, I wouldnt have been able to star in writer-actor Bob Martins Drowsy Chaperone, which led to her custom-tailored role in Martins 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.

Its 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. Thats not a character voice — thats our girl, a smiling White said in a 2012 interview with Engel, calling her a pure gold friend and colleague.

Engels 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.

Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber@ap.org or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events