Georgia Engel, best known for her work as Georgette Franklin on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died last Friday in Princeton, New Jersey, NBC News has confirmed. She was 70.
“She was truly an angel and blessed us with love, laughter and grace,” her friend and agent Jackie Stander said in a statement.
Engel, who had a distinctive sweet high voice, played Georgette, the naive girlfriend and eventual wife of Ted Knight’s pompous anchorman character, Ted Baxter.
She joined the landmark sitcom in its third season in 1972 and would go on to earn a pair of Emmy nominations.
A Broadway veteran who also appeared in “Hello Dolly” toward the end of its run in 1969, Engel was not supposed to be a key player on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
“It was only going to be one episode and I was just supposed to have a few lines in a party scene, but they kept giving me more and more to do,” she told The Toronto Star in 2007.
Engel remained a staple of the small screen for years to come and won a new generation of fans as Pat MacDougall, the mother-in-law of Brad Garrett’s character, Robert, on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” The recurring role netted her another trio of Emmy nominations.
During her career, she also appeared multiple times on such popular shows as “Coach,” “The Office,” “Fantasy Island,” “Passions,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Love Boat” and “Hot in Cleveland,” where she reunited with her “Mary Tyler Moore Show” co-star Betty White.
“Georgia was one of a kind. ... The absolute best!” White said in a statement to NBC News.