Where Is the Cast of "Designing Women" Now?

Sadly, not in the Sugarbakers & Associates office anymore.

'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now
COLUMBIA BROADCASTING SYSTEM

Throughout seven seasons, viewers came to know and love the cast of Designing Women, starring Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, and Meshach Taylor. With talks of a Designing Women reboot in the works, loyal fans of the Sugarbakers & Associates office can’t help but wonder what happened to the original cast members, bringing entertainment into homes across America from 1986 to 1993. Whether you were a fan of Southern belle Julia Sugarbaker or laughed along with spunky Mary Jo Shively, the actresses and actor have come a long way since their interior designing days in Atlanta.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker
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THEN: Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker

Julia, played by Dixie Carter, was the designing woman. As the owner of Sugarbakers & Associates, a design firm she ran out of her gorgeous Atlanta home, Julia was a class act—a genteel Southern belle, sophisticated, intelligent, and outspoken when something needed said. There wasn't an episode that went by when she didn't put someone in their rightful place.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Dixie Carter Death
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NOW: Dixie Carter

After the show ended in 1993, Carter went on to play Randi King in Family Law and made a series of guest appearances on shows like Law & Order: SVU and Desperate Housewives (for which she earned an Emmy nod). Sadly, the actress died of complications from cancer in 2010 at the age of 70.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Delta Burke as Suzanne Sugarbaker
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THEN: Delta Burke as Suzanne Sugarbaker

Actress Delta Burke embraced the role of Julia's sister, Suzanne Sugarbaker, drawing inspiration from her own pageant days as Miss Florida. The Designing Women character was a shallow former beauty queen and the extravagant foil to her sister's subdued sophistication. Delta earned two Emmy nominations for her portrayal of the self-centered, but ultimately harmless and beloved, character.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Delta Burke as Suzanne Sugarbaker
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NOW: Delta Burke

After the fifth season, Delta was let go due to controversy surrounding disagreements with producers. Soon after, she landed her own short-lived series, Delta, and then a spin-off of Designing Women, called Women of the House. In 2003, she made her Broadway debut in Thoroughly Modern Millie.Now, the 62-year-old actress has also had several guest starring TV roles, including Drop Dead Diva.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Annie Potts as Mary Jo Shively
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THEN: Annie Potts as Mary Jo Shively

Mary Jo, played by actress Annie Potts, was the sarcastic and self-deprecating head designer at the firm. Loved for her sense of humor, the character was also considered one of the most modern ladies on TV. Before the beginning of the iconic series, the character had actually gotten a divorced and became a single mother of two. In other words, she was a hard working bosslady.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Annie Potts as Mary Jo Shively
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NOW: Annie Potts

Annie continued her work in television on Love and War and Any Day Now, voiced Little Bo Peep in Pixar's Toy Story movies (including the latest fourth installment), and has guest starred on hit shows like Two and a Half Men and Grey's Anatomy. Since 2017, the petite, pixie-haired actress, now 66, has been part of the main cast for the hit CBS show Young Sheldon.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Jean Smart as Charlene Frazier Stillfield
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THEN: Jean Smart as Charlene Frazier Stillfield

The country bumpkin of the crew, Charlene was the office manager at the firm. Portrayed by Jean Smart, she spent much of the series remembering the good ol' days in her hometown of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and failing miserably at dating. The show was Jean's first big break in show business.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Jean Smart as Charlene Frazier Stillfield
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NOW: Jean Smart

But that was just the beginning of Smart's television career: She landed roles on several other hit shows, including Frasier and 24 (both earned her Emmys). The 67-year-old actress also starred in the cult-favorite movie Sweet Home Alabama and more recently, A Simple Favor. On TV, she continues to thrive in shows like Dirty John and Watchmen.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Meshach Taylor
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THEN: Meshach Taylor as Anthony Bouvier

Meshach Taylor started out as Anthony Bouvier, Sugarbakers' falsely-accused ex-con delivery man, and ends the series as Mr. Bouvier, Esquire, after finishing law school. Fun fact: His role was only supposed to be a one-episode gig, but the producers liked his dynamic with the women, so they kept him on for the remainder of the series. He was the perfect sidekick to Suzanne's endless shenanigans.

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'Designing Women' Cast Then and Now - Meshach Taylor
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NOW: Meshach Taylor

After the show ended, Taylor landed a role on Dave's World and co-hosted Living Me! with Florence Henderson on Retirement Living TV. He also starred as Lumière on Broadway's Beauty and the Beast. Sadly, the actor died in 2014 at the age of 67 of colorectal cancer.

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