From China Beach to Desperate Housewives, Dana Delany is an accomplished TV actress with more than four decades of experience. In that time, she has accrued multiple credits in her filmography across both major mediums of onscreen acting. As a result of this, to classify her as anything other than a successful actress would be a lie.
In the 100+ roles in her list of works, Desperate Housewives remains what the actress is best known for. But surely, it is not the only major role she has played in her career as we have compiled all the notable roles she played before she secured her career-changing role as Katherine Mayfair.
Dana Delany’s Journey to Becoming an Actress
At a young age, people do not always know what they want to do with their lives. They are, however, a few others who do, such as Dana Delany, who decided she wanted to become an actress after attending several Broadway shows with her family and saw a ton of movies while growing up.
While she did not become a child actress, Dana started the journey in high school. She attended Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts where she was a part of a set that included accomplished personalities like Karl Kirchwey, Nate Lee, Sara Nelson, and Peter Currie. Not only were these people part of her class, but Dana also got to act alongside some of them in some of the productions by the school.
Dana Delany also appeared in a student video made by a classmate, future TV producer Jonathan Meath before heading to Wesleyan University to study theatre. Expectedly, her college years involved more acting as she appeared in one of the early productions of Fefu and Her Friends. After she graduated in 1978, her professional life beckoned.
Dana Delany Had Theatre Roles and Starred in Various Other Projects Before Desperate Housewives
The future award-winning actress put her acting career to a start after graduating by taking roles in soap operas and TV commercials. These roles were both a means for her to pay her bills and gain experience in the onscreen industry. She made two-episode appearances in Love of Life and featured in one episode of As the World Turns.
Dana Delany would later work in the theatre. She is specifically known for her role in the off-Broadway show, Blood Moon, and the on-Broadway play, A Life. The latter won her recognition in the theatre community, with acclaim from critics in The New York Times.
After some brief period in New York City, the actress moved to Hollywood where she began her inevitable journey to fame. Before her breakthrough in Hollywood, Dana starred in several television shows like Thirtysomething, A Winner Never Quits, and Magnum, P.I. Her first professional movie appearance was in 1984’s Almost You.
Dana Delany’s first recurring TV role came in 1987 when she got cast as Georgia Holden in six episodes of Sweet Surrender. The following year, she began starring as Colleen McMurphy in China Beach. She secured the role despite failing her first audition because the producers thought she was not pretty enough. Eventually, she won the role after the producers lost their first choice and she changed up her look.
China Beach became the first major work of her career, and it spanned three years, between 1988 and 1991. She starred in 61 episodes, and her performance earned her two Golden Globes and four Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Dana Delany also received three Q Awards for Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series.
Finding International Fame with Desperate Housewives
Over the next decade and a half, Dana Delany became a regular figure onscreen. She appeared in several TV shows, starred in films, and even developed a career as a voice actress. For the latter, she played Andrea Beaumont in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Lois Lane in Superman: The Animated Series. Voicing mostly comic characters, she also featured in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
In TV and film, Dana made over 46 appearances during her China Beach stint and before Desperate Housewives. Her appearances ranged from critically acclaimed roles as Jill in Live Nude Girls to panned works like Exit to Eden. She also starred in shows like Wing Commander Academy, Wild Palms, Pasadena, Presidio Med, and Kidnapped, and then in theatre plays like Dinner With Friends and Much Ado About Nothing.
Before she found international fame with Desperate Housewives, she got offered the role of Carrie Bradshaw in the international hit show, Sex and the City. She, however, turned it down due to the failure of a similar role in Exit to Eden.
Dana Delany also got an offer to play the role of Bree Van De Kamp in Desperate Housewives. She turned it down before she eventually joined the series as Katherine Mayfair. She joined the show in 2007 in the fourth season after it had become a national and international hit. She appeared in 65 episodes of the show between 2007 and 2012.
Accolades Received For Her Performance on the Show
Individually, Dana Delany received two award nominations for her performance on the show – from the Gold Derby TV Awards and the Prism Awards. Both were for Best Comedy Supporting Actress and Performance in a Comedy Series. As part of the cast, she received two SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
Other Succesful Projects Dana Delany Has Been a Part Of
In between and after her stint on Desperate Housewives, Dana Delany appeared in Castle, Camp Hell, Crossfire, The Comedians, Hand of God, and Une chance de trop. In 2019, she played Colonel Glenn Turnbull in the CBS drama, The Code.
However, none of these roles has come close in popularity or critical acclaim as her stint on Desperate Housewives as a whole. The closest was the ABC show, Body of Proof, between 2011 and 2013, where she starred as a lead character across all 42 episodes. Dana also appeared in the show’s spinoff projects – the musical, Body of Proof: The Musical and webisodes, Body of Proof Webisodes.
Overall, since making her onscreen professional debut in 1978, Dana Delany has more than 100 credits in her filmography. She has also received 17 award nominations, winning seven of them.
Her Career Has Earned Her $10 Million in Net Worth
After many years of portraying different characters on TV shows and films, Dana Delany has been able to accumulate a good fortune with her net worth estimated to be about $10 million. It comes as no surprise as she has been in the movie industry for more than four decades.
It is difficult to say which of her many many roles has contributed the most to her substantial wealth. But leading roles in shows like China Beach, Desperate Housewives, and Body of Proof are undoubtedly notable contributors. Through them and an estimated salary of $150,000 per episode, the actress has turned her childhood dream into a successful life.
Dana Delany Has Had Several Boyfriends But Has Never Been Married
On her 50th birthday, Dana Delany admitted that she was interested in getting married but had no prospective partner. More than a decade after, that has remained true. The actress, who is also an activist, has acknowledged while she is open to it, it is not a deal-breaker.
No one knows exactly why she is not married, but it is certainly not because of her sexuality. Some rumors had suggested she is a lesbian based on her advocacy for the LGTBQ community and propensity for playing lesbians. But that is far from the case as she is a heterosexual woman who has been in a couple of heterosexual relationships.
Delany is not one to proudly share on-goings in her personal life with the public, but she has dated a couple of men. She reportedly dated Treat Williams between 1981 and 1984, and in the same year they broke up, she dated Michael O’Keefe.
Between 1985 and 1986, she was in a supposed relationship with James Woods, and she dated Don Henley in 1987. For two years between 1990 and 1992, she dated John Sacret Young. Her reported longest-ever relationship since she came onto the spotlight lasted for three years between 1993 and 1996 with Henry Czerny.
Since 1996, the actress has not been noticeably involved with anyone and at the moment, she is believed to be single. Dana currently lives in New York where she splits her time between the theatre and her onscreen work.