Engel first rose to stardom playing Georgette Franklin Baxter in 'Mary Tyler Moore'. She joined the show in its third season, and her performance garnered her two Emmy nominations.
Engel also earned another three nominations for her performances on Everybody Loves Raymond, in which she guest starred as Robert Barone's mother-in-law Pat MacDougall meaning over the course of her career she earned a total of five primetime Emmy nominations.
Her role in 'Mary Tyler Moore' was initially a guest role, but after her beloved reception in the role, she became a retuning character and repeatedly appeared on the sitcom as the girlfriend (and eventually wife) of TV newsman Ted Baxter - played by Ted Knight. Enegl told the Toronto Star back in 2007:
“It was only going to be one episode, and I was just supposed to have a few lines in a party scene, but they kept giving me more and more to do.”
-and we're freakin' glad they did!
Due to the fact that Engel was a practicing Christian Scientist, according to her close friend John Quilty, she would not see a doctor hence why it is unable at present to determine the cause of death. Christian Scientists will not typically see doctors due to the fact that they believe that sickness is an illusion which can be cured by prayer.
Engel also made appearances in some shorter-lived sitcoms when 'Mary Tyler Moore' finished in 1977, such as the The Betty White Show, Goodtime Girls and Hi Honey, I'm Home! Engel also starred in several films over the course of her decades-long career, most notably being her performances in 'Taking Off' (for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress BAFTA), Dr. Doolittle 2, and The Open Season film franchise.
Philip Rosenthal, creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, lovingly said this of Enegl in a phone interview to the New York Times:
“She could get a laugh on literally every line you gave her, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Born in Washington D.C, Engel was the daughter of a Coast Guard Admiral. After earning her college degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Engel moved to New York City in 1969 where she landed a role in the Off-Broadway music Lend An Ear, and subsequently a role as Minnie Fay in a Broadway production of Hello Dolly! From then on she dedicated her life to bringing joy to people everywhere with her beloved characters!
This is such sad news, and she will be sorely missed! But, it's so nice that she's left behind such a legacy of great work behind her and remains in the hearts and minds of fans and fellow celebrities everywhere!