Georgia Engel

Georgia Engal
Georgia Engal

Georgia Engel’s obituary in “Vanity Fair” in 2019.

According to The New York Times, Engel died Friday in Princeton, New Jersey. A cause of death has not yet been determined because Engel was a Christian Scientist who did not consult doctors, the Times reports. Her death was confirmed by her friend and executor, John Quilty.

Engel began her career on the stage, studying theater at the University of Hawaii and heading to New York after graduation, where she landed a replacement role in the marquee musical Hello, Dolly! After moving to Los Angeles for a production, Engel met Moore, who saw her in a show and complimented her performance.

“I was thrilled, but finished the run, put it out of my mind, and six months later I was collecting unemployment in New York and got asked to do a three-day role [on The Mary Tyler Moore Show],” Engel recalled in a 2006 interview. “My manager at the time, who’s long since gone, didn’t think I should go because it would cost me money to go out there for such a little part. But even as a very young person, my instincts knew that sometimes you pay for the privilege of working with the best.”

She quickly became a regular on Moore’s groundbreaking sitcom, playing Georgette, the sweet, simple window dresser with an impossibly high, singular speaking voice. The role earned her two Emmy nominations for best supporting actress.

Engel never slowed, landing roles in sitcoms like The Love Boat and Everybody Loves Raymond after Mary Tyler Moore was finished. She also returned to the stage, starring in modern fare like Will Eno’s Middletown and Annie Baker’sJohn; the latter, featuring Engel in one of her first leading roles in years, earned her warm accolades. In a 2015 interview, she spoke about this career shift, saying she enjoyed her past TV work: “being an hors d’oeuvre or dessert or whatever you want to call it.” Still, Engel added, she was grateful for the opportunity to evolve: on the stage, she said, “I feel fully utilized.”

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