Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Redhead of the Week

Dana Welles Delany, 52, is an American actress known especially for her two-time Emmy Award winning performance as Colleen McMurphy on the ABC television show, China Beach (1988–91), and for her role as Katherine Mayfair on Desperate Housewives. Not your typical Austin Carr favorite redhead, Dana is an ass-kicker. Forget the promotional photo. You want to have Ms. D with you when your car breaks down in a bad part of town.

Born in New York City, she attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, then Wesleyan University. She was cast as Colleen McMurphy on China Beach, airing from 1988 to 1991, which 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.

Leveraging the newfound fame, she appeared in films such as Light Sleeper (1992), Housesitter (1992), Tombstone (1993), and Fly Away Home (1996), plus TV movies such as Promise to Keep (1991) and Wild Palms (1993). She accepted controversial roles, such as Margaret Sanger in the TV movie Choices of the Heart (1995), Mistress Lisa in the 1994 feature film Exit to Eden (adapted from the Anne Rice book), and an Emmy-nominated role as a gun-owning mother in an episode of the TV series Family Law (1999) (which was not rerun, due to sponsorship withdrawal).

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, Dana starred in the TV movie For Hope (1996), based on Saget's sister Gay, who had died as a result of the disease.

Her Official Web Site, online since 1996, includes a guestbook in which she participates. Click on the headline, Redhead of the Week, to see Dana's site.

Thanks to Dana, Wikipedia, and a great show we miss, China Beach.

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