Passions Alum Georgia Engel Dead at 70
Image: Jill Johnson/JPI
Emmy nominated actress was one of Passions’ witches.
Actress Georgia Engel, who played Passions’ Esmerelda, passed away Friday April 12 in Princeton, New Jersey at the age of 70. According to Engel’s friend and executor, John Quilty, who told The New York Times, her cause of death is not known as she was a practicing Christian Scientist and did not seek consultation with doctors.
The actress, who was born in Washington, DC on July 28, 1948, was the daughter of a Coast Guard admiral, Benjamin Franklin Engel, and Ruth Caroline Engel. She graduated from the Academy of the Washington Ballet and later earned a college degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has two sisters, Robin Engel, who was Miss Hawaii in 1967, and Penny Lusk.
Engel, a five-time Emmy nominated actress, began her career in New York after college, appearing in stage musicals, including Broadway’s Hello Dolly, until Mary Tyler Moore and her husband, producer Grant Tinker, cast her as Georgette Baxter on their sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Her best-known role, Engel played Georgette from 1972 until the show’s run ended in 1977, and also appeared as the same character on Rhoda in 1974. She went on to play memorable roles in numerous television series spanning over decades including The Betty White Show’s Mitzi Maloney, Goodtime Girls’ Loretta Smoot, Jennifer Slept Here’s Susan Elliot, Coach’s Shirley Burleigh, Everybody Loves Raymond’s Pat MacDougall, and Hot in Cleveland’s Mamie. Engel’s only foray into daytime television was to play Passions’ Esmerelda, a witch friend of main character Tabitha (Juliet Mills), in 2007. Most recently the actress appeared as Sister Barbara on the revamped series One Day at a Time.
Soaps.com extends condolences to Engel’s sisters and friends.