Georgia Bright Engel (born July 28, 1948) is an American film, television, and stage actress who is best known for her role as Georgette Franklin Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Engel was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Ruth Caroline (née Hendron) and Benjamin Franklin Engel, who was a Coast Guard officer. Engel attended Walter Johnson High School and the Academy of the Washington Ballet from which she graduated. She earned her college degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her sister, Robin Ruth Engel, was Miss Hawaii, 1967.
After college, Engel appeared in musical productions with Washington's American Light Opera Company. She moved to New York City in 1969, appearing off-Broadway in Lend an Ear, and for a year as Minnie Fay in the Broadway production of Hello, Dolly!. A 1971 off Broadway production of The House of Blue Leaves eventually played in Los Angeles, where Engel was seen by Mary Tyler Moore and her husband, producer Grant Tinker, her soon-to-be employers.
Engel appeared as Georgette Franklin Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1972 until the show ended in 1977. The role won her two Emmy nominations. After that series ended, she teamed up with former Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Betty White for The Betty White Show during its first and only (1977-1978) season. She later co-starred in two short-lived 1980 sitcoms, Goodtime Girls, as Loretta Smoot, and in Jennifer Slept Here featuring Ann Jillian.
Engel had a recurring role on Coach as Shirley Burleigh and starred as the voice of Love-a-Lot Bear in The Care Bears Movie (1985). She played a good witch in a 2007 recurring role of Esmeralda on the now-defunct NBC soap opera Passions. Engel received consecutive Emmy nominations as outstanding guest actress in a comedy series in 2003, 2004, and 2005 for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond as Robert Barone's mother-in-law, Pat MacDougall.
While her movie appearances have been sporadic, she made an auspicious film debut in Miloš Forman's first English language movie Taking Off for which she was nominated for a British Academy Award for best supporting actress. Other film appearances include The Outside Man, Signs of Life, Papa Was a Preacher, The Sweetest Thing and the made-for-TV movies The Day the Women Got Even and A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story. She lent her voice to the animated films Open Season, Open Season 2, Dr. Dolittle 2, and Open Season 3.
She returned to her stage roots in 2006, appearing on Broadway in the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, with Sutton Foster and Edward Hibbert. She created the role of Mrs. Tottendale, which she continued to perform into 2007. In September 2007, she reprised the role in Toronto on the North American tour. She performed the role at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco, an engagement that ended on Sunday, August 17, 2008. For the summers of 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010, she appeared in main roles in various productions at The Muny Theater in Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Most recently, she appeared at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine, as Mrs. Tottendale.
In the fall of 2010, Engel was featured in the Vineyard Theatre's acclaimed off-Broadway production of Middletown, written by Will Eno.
In 2012, she appeared in episodes of The Office as an older lady being helped by Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper) and in the episode called "Palmdale, Ech" of Two and a Half Men as the mother of Lyndsey MacElroy portrayed by Courtney Thorne-Smith. In March 2012, 35 years after the close of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Engel was reunited with Betty White in the third season of Hot in Cleveland as Mamie Sue Johnson, best friend of White's character Elka, in a continuing, recurring role.
Nominated -- BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
The Outside Man
A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story
The Day the Women Got Even
The Magic of Herself the Elf
Papa Was a Preacher
The Care Bears Movie
Signs of Life
Dr. Dolittle 2
The Sweetest Thing
Boog and Elliot's Midnight Bun Run
Sr. Marie Eugene
Open Season 2
Open Season 3
Grown Ups 2
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Nominated -- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1976-1977)
The Betty White Show
Mork and Mindy
Season 2 ep 12 The Exidor Affair
The Love Boat
Jennifer Slept Here
Hi Honey, I'm Home
Georgette Franklin Baxter
Everybody Loves Raymond
13 episodes, Prism Award for Best Performance in a Comedy Series (2006),
Nominated -- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (2003-2005)
Hot in Cleveland
Mamie Sue Johnson
Two and a Half Men
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