Dana Delany Born Dana Welles Delany
March 13, 1956
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, producer Years active 1974–present Website danadelany.com
After various roles in the early career, Delany garnered her first leading role in 1987 in the short-lived NBC sitcom Sweet Surrender and achieved wider fame in 1988–1991 as Colleen McMurphy on the ABC television show China Beach, for which she won two Emmy Awards. She received further recognition for her performances in the films Light Sleeper (1992), Tombstone (1993), Exit to Eden (1994), The Margaret Sanger Story (1995), Fly Away Home (1996), True Women (1997) and Wide Awake (1998). Since the mid-1990s, Delany has served on the board of the Scleroderma Research Foundation.
In 2000s she returned to television with a string of short-lived television series beginning with Pasadena (2001), Presidio Med (2002–2003), and Kidnapped (2006-2007). From 2007 to 2010 Delany played Katherine Mayfair on the ABC series Desperate Housewives. She is currently in the lead role as Megan Hunt on the ABC drama series Body of Proof.
Delany is also a voice-actress. She played Lois Lane in the DC Animated Universe as well as the television series The Batman. In an interview, she said she loves to play "complicated characters". Delany has been active in film, television, and stage since the late 1970s.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal and public life
- 4 Filmography
- 5 Awards and nominations
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Delany was born in New York City to parents of Irish descent and was raised Catholic. She has remarked that, even as a child, she always wanted to go into acting. "The reason a person first gets into acting is because you want attention from your parents as a child," she told a reporter. In her childhood, she went with her family to many Broadway shows, and was fascinated by films.
After growing up in Stamford, Connecticut, she attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts for her senior year, and was a member of the school's first co-educational class that included jazz composer Bill Cunliffe, software executive Peter Currie, artist Julian Hatton, poet Karl Kirchwey, writer Nate Lee, editor Sara Nelson restaurateur Priscilla Martel and sculptor Gar Waterman. "Andover was the best time of my life," she recalled. She played the lead role of Nellie Forbush in the school's spring musical production of South Pacific playing opposite Peter Kapetan as Emile. She commented: "It was just a little awkward to be Nellie at first because she hesitates to marry Emile since he had once lived with a Polynesian woman -- I don't agree with her reasoning so that made things a bit hard at the beginning." She appeared in a student video directed by fellow classmate Jonathan Meath in a film class taught by Steve Marx. She graduated in 1974 with the academic honor of "cum laude" which was awarded to 80 out of 378 graduating seniors. She majored in theater at Wesleyan University, worked in summer stock productions during vacations, and graduated in 1978. Later, in an interview, she reported that she sometimes had eating issues during this time of her life. She said: "I binged... I starved ... I was one step from anorexia –a piece of toast and an apple would be all I would eat in a day."
1980s: Stage, television, China Beach
After college, she found acting work in New York City in daytime soap operas. She starred in the Broadway show A Life and won critical acclaim in 1983 in Nicholas Kazan's off-Broadway Blood Moon, where the New York Times cited her "skillful verisimilitude" handling a difficult part requiring two roles "and she does them both with authority." Delany moved to Hollywood and during the next few years found work guest starring in TV shows like Moonlighting and Magnum, P.I..
Dana Delany's first audition for the lead role of nurse Colleen McMurphy was unsuccessful. "They thought I wasn't pretty enough", she said in an interview, but heeding advice from director Paul Schrader, who had directed her in the film Patty Hearst, she "cut her long tresses into a bob" and re-auditioned with this new haircut, successfully, after the producers lost their first choice. She won the lead role on the critically acclaimed China Beach, which appeared weekly from 1988 to 1991 and brought intense media attention to the actress. This role not only garnered two Emmy Awards, but two other Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe nominations. After several seasons the show suffered from mediocre ratings and was discontinued in 1991.
1990s: Movies, television, voice
In 1991, Dana Delany was chosen by People magazine as one of the "50 most beautiful people in the world." In the years following China Beach, Delany worked steadily in television, movies and theater. In addition, she established herself as a significant voice talent.
Delany won leading roles in a string of feature films such as the TV movie A Promise to Keep, Light Sleeper, Housesitter and Fly Away Home as well as appearing in the TV mini-series Wild Palms. She also took on controversial roles, such as Mistress Lisa in Exit to Eden, where one film critic commented "The script was awful -- Dana looked great." Delany commented in a 2008 interview about the audience reaction: "I had already got pilloried for playing the Exit to Eden dominatrix after China Beach because audiences had a certain image of me as Colleen and didn’t want to see it change." The provocatively titled Live Nude Girls included frank discussion by women of their sexual fantasies at a bachelorette party using a low-budget improvisational comedy format with strong chemistry between the actors. Reviews were mixed: Los Angeles Times critic Richard Natale liked the film but wrote older male film executives believed it to be "uncommercial"; another critic agreed it was "genuine girl talk" but "didn't have a lot of substance" and viewers "don't get to know the characters in the film". She also starred as Margaret Sanger in the TV movie Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story (1995), about a controversial nurse who crusaded for women's reproductive rights in the early 1900s.
In 1995, Delany appeared in the Broadway show Translations and in May 1997, Delany returned to her alma mater Phillips Academy to work with theater students as an artist-in-residence. She appeared in TV movies such as True Women (1997) and Resurrection (1999).
In 1998, Delany reportedly turned down the role of Carrie Bradshaw in the hit TV show Sex and the City. She commented in a subsequent interview: "The show’s creator Darren Star asked me to play Carrie ... Darren got the idea of televising Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City from seeing me and Kim (Kim Cattrall) in Live Nude Girls." Delany declined the role partly after remembering the negative audience reaction she received with a similar film, Exit to Eden, a few years back. Sex and the City became a successful series, and the role of Carrie made Sarah Jessica Parker world-famous.
Work as Lois Lane
Dana Delany has performed substantial voice work periodically. She portrayed Andrea Beaumont in the 1993 animated feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm based on the popular TV show Batman: The Animated Series. Delany's voice performance in the film impressed filmmakers and led to her being cast as Lois Lane in Superman: The Animated Series. She was also mentioned by name in the theme song of Animaniacs, another Warner Bros. production. She reprised her role as Lois Lane for the character's guest appearances in Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and The Batman. She returned to the DC Universe in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold as Vilsi, an alternate universe variation of Lois Lane. Coincidentally, Delany's future Desperate Housewives co-star, Teri Hatcher, also portrayed Lois Lane on the live-action TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
2000s: Television, movies, stage, Desperate Housewives
Delany continued to find work in a variety of projects, doing pilots, TV series, made-for-TV movies, and feature films. She appeared in the NBC drama Good Guys/Bad Guys (2000), which Newsweek termed a "Sopranos knock-off". She appeared in the short-lived Pasadena (2001), a critically acclaimed Fox production which was "underpromoted and endlessly pre-empted" and described as a "twisted rich-family saga" with a "great cast". Delany commented in an interview: "You can see Pasadena as a black comedy or see it as really tragic. A lot of soaps on television now don't have that layer of tragedy to them." She was an actor and co-executive producer of the film Final Jeopardy (2001). New York Daily News TV critic David Bianculli gave a positive review to both her performance as an actor -- "Delany, as always, does pensive and independent better than most actresses" -- and as a producer. She played a doctor in the TV series Presidio Med (2002), described as a "conventional but pleasant drama populated by characters dedicated to medicine who also have messy personal lives." She appeared in TV movies such as A Time to Remember (2003), and Baby for Sale (2004). She appeared in feature films by indie film producers, such as The Outfitters (1999), Mother Ghost (2002), and Spin (2003).
Returning to theater, she played an artsy and incompetent woman who questions the "imposed conventions of society" after discovering her husband's affair in the Pulitzer-prize winning Dinner With Friends (2000, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston); her performance earned positive reviews generally. She played Beatrice in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (2003, San Diego); one critic described the "verbal sparring" between Delany and actor Billy Campbell as a "joy".
From 2004 to 2006, Delany played many guest roles on TV shows, such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Boston Legal, Kojak, Related, The L Word, and Battlestar Galactica. She also starred in the short-lived TV series Kidnapped (2006). One critic wrote "Delany is alternately furious and despondent as Ellie, and she and Hutton (Timothy Hutton) can do more without words than other actors can do with pages of dialogue. They’re absolutely convincing as rich, complicated Manhattanites and as parents who come face to face with the scary reality that they can’t always protect their kids."
Delany appeared as herself in the TV documentary Vietnam Nurses with Dana Delany which explored their lives and treatment after returning to the United States. Delany has become "something of a heroine to the nurses who served in Vietnam", according to Los Angeles Times writer Susan King, who noted that the actress worked on a nationwide nurse recruitment program in 1990 called the McMurphy project.
Delany initially declined the offer to play one of the four Desperate Housewives principal characters, Bree Van De Kamp, saying it was too similar to her role on Pasadena. The show became a popular prime-time soap opera with substantial ratings. But in 2007 she was again offered a role by producer Marc Cherry, this time as a supporting housewife, and she joined the cast of the well-established series for the 2007–08 season. Reaction to the addition of Delany was positive; one critic wrote "...casting Dana Delany as Katherine Mayfair in Season 4 is one of the smartest things Cherry has ever done ... Not many actors can deftly deliver both comedy and drama, but Delany makes it look easy." She commented about playing housewife Katherine Mayfair: "The hardest thing for me was figuring out the tone of the piece because it's such a specific tone - so it was more of an acting challenge than anything else." She commented in 2008: “I hope that she (Katherine Mayfair) doesn’t lose her snarkiness, because that’s always fun to play.” On May 13, 2008, it was announced that Delany would reprise her role on Desperate Housewives for season five, having been promoted to the sixth lead.
2010s: New series and movies
Delany left Desperate Housewives to star in the new ABC series Body of Proof originally slated to begin airing in late 2010.Delany also voiced a character Margaret Rosenblatt in the film Firebreather in 2010
In 2011 in Body of Proof, Delany plays a brilliant neurosurgeon turned medical examiner after a car accident causes her to lose dexterity in her hands. Ironically, Delany in real life had an experience similar to her character of Dr. Megan Hunt. Two weeks before filming the pilot episode, Delany's car was hit by a bus in Santa Monica; two fingers of her hand were broken and her car was totaled. Delany describes her character in Body of Proof as being "complicated, smart, and definitely complex."
Personal and public life
Since the mid-1990s, Delany has served on the board of the Scleroderma Research Foundation, and with her friend Sharon Monsky, she helped campaign for support in finding a cure for scleroderma. Working with director Bob Saget, she starred in the TV movie For Hope (1996), based on Saget's sister Gay, who had died as a result of the disease. She appeared as a contestant on Celebrity Jeopardy in 2001, 2006 and 2009 to raise money for scleroderma research. Scleroderma "robs these women of not only their own lives in many cases, but robs their families which include countless children," she explained in 2002.
Delany is a board member of the arts advocacy organization Creative Coalition. She appeared in June 2009 in an onstage meeting in New York alongside White House social secretary Desiree Rogers to discuss ways to promote American cinematic creativity. In August 2009 Delany was named co-president of the Creative Coalition, joining Tim Daly in the leadership of the organization. Delany explained her support for the arts in an interview: "I just think it's so important for children and the future of the country and people's general happiness. I'm one of those people who, whenever I feel cut off spiritually or emotionally, I go to a museum or a play or a movie, and I'm just transported." She participated as a celebrity guest in fundraising events which support the rights of same-sex couples to marry. In addition, she has supported Planned Parenthood. She attended the organization's 90th birthday celebration in New York City in 2006. Delany said: "It's hard to imagine where we'd be in this country had Margaret Sanger not founded that first clinic here in New York, 90 years ago." She attended events sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Delany commented about her personal life in an interview in 2006: "I turned 50 and I'm ready to get married ... I don't know who he is yet but I'm ready ... He has to be smart, funny and kind." She added a year later: "Marriage has never been a big deal for me ... But I think I’m ready now ... I got to have all the fun in the world, to experience a lot of people and figure out what I really like." Delany (in 1988) said she doesn't find being a celebrity to be that appealing: "I'm not a 'personality'. I am never recognized, which I take as a compliment. I have a love-hate thing with publicity."
Since the mid-1990s, she has had a notable Internet presence. She has participated in several online chat events promoting various projects. Her official web site, online since 1996, includes a guestbook in which she participates.
Delany, in 2003, tried having an injection of botox in her forehead, but the needle hit a nerve and created a hematoma which affected the muscle in her right eye, causing it to droop slightly. In 2010, she vowed she will never have plastic surgery. She told Prevention in 2010 that she prefers eating healthfully, including vegetables, tofu, fish, gluten-free pasta, and bread. Since she plays a neurosurgeon in her new ABC drama Body of Proof, she refuses to eat turkey sausage because of a perceived similarity with intestines seen on the set.
Year Film/play/TV/other Role Other notes 1974 South Pacific Nellie Forbush Musical at Phillips Academy 1978 Ryan's Hope Ryan's bar patron 1979 Love of Life Amy Russell 1980 A Life Broadway play 1981 The Fan Saleswoman in record store As the World Turns Hayley Wilson Hollister 1983 Wisk detergent Lady in an elevator TV commercial (opposite Tom McBride) Blood Moon Innocent pre-med student Off-broadway production by Nicholas Kazan 1984 Almost You Susan McCall Threesome Laura Shaper The Streets Jeannie 1985 Moonlighting Jillian Armstrong "Knowing Her," episode 206 Magnum, P.I. Cynthia Farrell Episodes 7.1, 7.2, 7.19 1986 A Winner Never Quits Nora Where the River Runs Black Sister Ana Liberty Moya Trevor 1987 Sweet Surrender Georgia Holden 1988 Patty Hearst Gelina Masquerade Anne Briscoe Moon over Parador Jenny thirtysomething Eve South by Southeast season 1, episode 10 China Beach Colleen McMurphy 62 episodes 1988–1991 1990 A Promise to Keep Jane Goodrich 1992 Light Sleeper Marianne Housesitter Becky Metcalf Cheers Susan Metheny Season 11, episode 11 1993 Wild Palms Grace Wyckoff Donato and Daughter Lieutenant Dena Donato Tombstone Josephine Marcus Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Andrea Beaumont (voice) 1994 The Enemy Within[disambiguation needed ] Betsy Corcoran Exit to Eden Lisa Emerson Texan[disambiguation needed ] 1995 Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story Margaret Sanger Live Nude Girls' Jill Fallen Angels Helen Fiske Translations Maire Broadway play (short-lived) 1996 Superman: The Animated Series Lois Lane (voice) (43 episodes 1996–2000) Fly Away Home Susan Barnes The Adventures of Mowgli Bagheera (voice) English version For Hope Hope Altman Wing Commander Academy Gwen Archer Bowman (voice) 13 episodes 1997 True Women Sarah Ashby McClure Spy Game Honey Trapp Season 1, episode 4 Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man Dr. Susan Fox (voice) 1998 Wide Awake Mrs. Beal The Curve Dr. Ashley Rescuers: Stories of Courage — Two Couples Johtje Vos The Patron Saint of Liars Rose Cleardon Abbott The Batman/Superman Movie: World's Finest Lois Lane (voice) Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu Documentary 1999 Outfitters Cat Bonfaim Sirens Sally Rawlings Resurrection Clare Miller Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story Elaine Gunn 2000 The Right Temptation Anthea Farrow-Smith Dinner With Friends Beth Stage; Pulitzer-prize script 2001 Final Jeopardy Alexandra Cooper Delany was actor, co-executive producer Family Law Mary Sullivan Episode "Safe At Home" Pasadena Catherine McAllister 13 episodes (2001–2002) 2002 Conviction Martha Mother Ghost Karen Bennett Superman: Shadow of Apokolips Lois Lane (voice) Presidio Med Dr. Rae Brennan 13 episodes 2003 Intimate Portrait: Dana Delany Herself Justice League Lois Lane (voice) (10 episodes 2003–2005) Spin Margaret Swift-Bejarano A Time to Remember Britt Calhoun aka "Turning Homeward" Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice Stage, San Diego 2004 Baby for Sale Nathalie Johnson Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Carolyn Spencer "Obscene", episode 603 Justice League Unlimited Loana (voice) "For the Man who has Everything" Boston Legal Samantha Fleming 1 episode 2005 Related Francesca Sorelli Season 1, episodes 7,18 Getting to Know You Marla Kojak Kate McNeil 2006 Battlestar Galactica Sesha Abinell Superman: Brainiac Attacks Lois Lane Voice The Woman with the Hungry Eyes Theda Bara Voice Kidnapped Ellie Cain 13 episodes (2006–2007) The L Word Senator Barbara Grisham Vietnam Nurses with Dana Delany Host Documentary 2007 Drunkboat Eileen The Batman Lois Lane Voice (2 episodes) Life on the Refrigerator Door Narrator Audio book by Alice Kuipers 2007–2010 Desperate Housewives Katherine Mayfair Series regular (3 seasons; 64 episodes) 2008 Route 30 Amish Martha Flying Lessons Jeanne 2009 Multiple Sarcasms Annie A Beautiful Life Anne Camp Hope Patricia PoliWood Herself Documentary Annul Victory Herself Documentary 2010 Castle Agent Jordan Shaw 2 episodes; season 2, episodes 17–18 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Vilsi Vaylar voice Firebreather Margaret voice 2011-present Body of Proof Dr. Megan Hunt Series regular 2011 Television Academy Honors Host 2012 Freelancers Filming
Awards and nominations
Year Result Award Category Film or series 1989 Won Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series China Beach 1990 Nominated Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series China Beach 1991 Nominated Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series China Beach 1992 Won Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series China Beach 2001 Nominated Emmy Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Family Law 1990 Nominated Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-series drama China Beach 1991 Nominated Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-series drama China Beach 1989 Won Q Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series China Beach 1990 Won Q Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series China Beach 1991 Won Q Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series China Beach 2009 Won Prism Best Performance in a Comedy Series Desperate Housewives 2008 Nominated Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Desperate Housewives 2009 Nominated Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Desperate Housewives 1998 Won Lone Star Film & Television Best TV Actress True Women 2007 Nominated TV Land Award Lady you love to watch fight for her life in a movie of the week Movie of the week
General source for awards:
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- ^ ", TV Squad, July 27, 2007
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- ^ Dana Delany back on Wisteria Lane next season - TV Squad
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- ^ James Poniewozik (May 18, 2010). "ABC's Fall Sked: Lots of New Shows for the Post-Lost Era". Time Magazine. http://tunedin.blogs.time.com/2010/05/18/abcs-fall-sked-lots-of-new-shows-for-the-post-lost-era/. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
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- ^ "Scleroderma Research Foundation". Scleroderma Research Foundation. 2009-07-17. Archived from the original on December 26, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071226104013/http://www.srfcure.org/srf/home.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
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- ^ Robin Givhan (2009-06-19). "White House Door Wide Open to Arts". The Washington Post. http://mobile.washingtonpost.com/detail.jsp?key=401595&rc=fa_al&p=1. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- ^ Sharon Barbour (2009-06-19). "White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers Wows The Creative Coalition". The New York Observer. http://www.observer.com/2009/politics/white-house-social-secretary-desiree-rogers-wows-creative-coalition. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- ^ Ted Johnson (August 23, 2009). "Delany to top Creative Coalition -- Actress to serve as co-president of arts org". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118007611.html?categoryid=1064&cs=1. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
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- ^ "Planned Parenthood Recruits Numerous Hollywood Celebrities to Promote Pro-Abortion "March for Women's Lives"". LifeSiteNews.com. 2004-04-16. http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/apr/04041602.html. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
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- ^ "Press release: In & Out, Cher, K.D. Lang, Oprah, Miami Herald, Time and many others honored at GLAAD Media Awards". Widmeyer Baker Group. 1998-04-20. http://www.qrd.org/qrd/orgs/GLAAD/1998/media.awards-04.20.98. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
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- Official website
- Dana Delany on Twitter
- Dana Delany at the Internet Movie Database
- Dana Delany at the Internet Broadway Database
- Dana Delany at AllRovi
- Dana Delany at TV Guide
- Dana Delany at Yahoo! Movies
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Drama Series (1976–2000)
Michael Learned (1976) · Lindsay Wagner (1977) · Sada Thompson (1978) · Mariette Hartley (1979) · Barbara Bel Geddes (1980) · Barbara Babcock (1981) · Michael Learned (1982) · Tyne Daly (1983) · Tyne Daly (1984) · Tyne Daly (1985) · Sharon Gless (1986) · Sharon Gless (1987) · Tyne Daly (1988) · Dana Delany (1989) · Patricia Wettig (1990) · Patricia Wettig (1991) · Dana Delany (1992) · Kathy Baker (1993) · Sela Ward (1994) · Kathy Baker (1995) · Kathy Baker (1996) · Gillian Anderson (1997) · Christine Lahti (1998) · Edie Falco (1999) · Sela Ward (2000)
Complete List · (1952–1975) · (1976–2000) · (2001–2025)
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