Bonnie Bing

Dixie Carter had plenty of personal style

One of the perks of being a newspaper writer is getting to interview fascinating people and then, later, reflecting on those memorable times.

That's why I was sad when I heard that actress Dixie Carter had passed away.

I remember talking with her at the Dallas Apparel Mart when she received the Femme Award for her personal style. I couldn't remember what year it was so I looked it up and was stunned that it was 1990.

It was fun partly because her dad, Halbert Carter, had accompanied his daughter to the awards dinner. Dixie's husband, Hal Holbrook, was playing King Lear on Broadway at the time.

Halbert Carter was a Southern gentleman who made it clear how proud he was of his then 51-year-old daughter. She kidded him about loving the fact he was the only man at the press gathering before the dinner. No doubt about it, he was pleased to be there.

Dixie Carter was a lot like the determined Julia Sugerbaker she played on "Designing Women," but was a bit softer and very humble about receiving a fashion award.

One of her quotes I used in the column I later wrote: "I've never thought of myself as a fashion person, so I was very flattered when I heard about this."

She described her personal look as "extremely tailored." ''It's a very secure way to be attired," she said.

She was wearing a black crepe evening suit that had some beading on it.

"Look at us in our black," she said to me. "Someone shoot our picture." I was happy to oblige, but I thought, "I'm wearing black trying to look thinner. She's a size six, maybe a four, she must just like black."

I also remember thinking what great skin she had, but we didn't have time to get into the topic of beauty regimes.

Throughout her life, Dixie Carter appeared on many television shows and won countless nominations and awards for her work. But she also had another talent some people may not know much about — singing. She sang in several New York clubs and cabarets.

I remember as we were leaving to go to the awards dinner, it was her dad who wanted the last word. In his warm Southern drawl, he said, "My daughter is a fine actress, but she's also a lady."

After meeting her and having such a fun interview, I'd say he was absolutely right.