Georgia Engel, The Mary Tyler Moore Show Actress, Dies at 70
Georgia Engel, who was recognized for her high-pitched and sweet-sounding voice, starred as Georgette Franklin on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Georgia Engel, who starred on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has died at age 70.
Engel’s talent agent Jackie Stander confirmed to PEOPLE on Monday that the actress died on Friday, April 12.
“I am truly saddened to lose a great one of kind friend and client, as so many others she has touched over the years. She was truly an angel and blessed us with love, laughter and grace,” Stander said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Her and her family request prayers in her name from Christian Scientist, Mary Baker Eddy.”
According to The New York Times, which first reported the news, Engel’s friend and executor John Quilty told the outlet that Engel, a Christian Scientist, didn’t consult doctors and her cause of death is undetermined at this time.
“Georgia was one of a kind and the absolute best,” Betty White, who starred alongside Engel in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Betty White Show and Hot in Cleveland, said on Monday to The Times through a spokeswoman.
During a video interview with TV Land in 2012, White said of Engel, “You don’t get a chance very often in your life to meet a friend like Georgia, let alone an actress that you’re working with, and to suddenly find pure gold. That’s a privilege.”
Though Engel, who was widely recognized for her high-pitched and sweet-sounding voice, had a decades-long career in front of the camera, she began her entertainment career on the stage.
She reached Broadway in 1969 — as a replacement player near the end of Hello, Dolly!’s run — and starred last year in the musical Half Time, which was at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, according to The Times.
After her start in theater, she starred as Georgette Franklin on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1972-77) before taking on the roles of Mitzi Maloney in The Betty White Show (1977-78), Loretta Smoot in Goodtime Girls (1980), Susan Elliot in Jennifer Slept Here (1983-84), Shirley Burleigh in Coach (1991-97), and Pat MacDougall in Everybody Loves Raymond (2003-05), among others.
Most recently, Engel had guest roles in The Office (2012) and Two and a Half Men (2012) and appeared as Mamie in Hot in Cleveland (2012-15), according to her IMDb.
She also recalled a special moment in time when Moore showcased just how generous she really was during the early days of Engel’s television career.
“When I first came on the show, I noticed every day — this was my first television show ever — everybody, every day would talk about the shows that were on,” said Engel. “They’d be giving their opinions about this and that. One day, Mary said, ‘What do you think, Georgia?’ I said, ‘I don’t have a TV.’ I was just starting out. I was much younger than everybody else. I was in a little furnished apartment off of Hollywood Blvd.”
She added: “One day, I got a knock at my door and these two big men had a big box and they just pushed right into my apartment. I panicked and said, ‘No, I didn’t order anything.’ They said they were told to put this up for me. They opened the box and there was a card attached to it and it was from Mary and Grant (they were married at the time) and it said, ‘So you can watch yourself on television.’ “
Engel is survived by her sisters Robin Engel and Penny Lusk.