An actress whose face seems to capture everything glamorous about old Hollywood and whose fire-red mane sets the screen ablaze, Marcia Cross has carved out an impressive television career thanks to winning roles on such shows as Melrose Place and Desperate Housewives. With a resumé that reads like a "television's greatest hits" list from the mid-'80s through the new millennium, small-screen veteran Cross is hardly a new face to devoted TV viewers, and thanks to her role as über-perfectionist suburban homemaker Bree Van De Kamp on ABC's surprise hit Desperate Housewives, chances are she'll be sticking around for some time.
A native of Marlborough, MA, who first discovered her love for acting while taking the stage for a sixth-grade production of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Cross was soon setting her sites on New York's world-renowned Juilliard Drama School, where she would major in drama. In the years following her graduation, Cross made a name for herself in and around the New York stage, with performances in the Williamstown Theater Festival's production of La Ronde and the Hartford Stage Company's production of Twelfth Night serving as early career highlights. A bit part on the long-running soap opera The Edge of Night helped to ignite a screen career for Cross, with subsequent appearances on Cheers, Who's the Boss?, Quantum Leap, and Murder, She Wrote both increasing her visibility and expanding her oeuvre. By the 1990s, Cross had gained notable exposure thanks to parts on both One Life to Live and Another World, and though a brief appearance on Knots Landing brought the daytime drama to the evening hours, it was her role as Dr. Kimberly Shaw on 1992's Melrose Place that truly put her on the map with television viewers. A direct descendent of Beverly Hills 90210 that lit the small-screen ablaze for much of the 1990s, Melrose Place occupied most of Cross' time, save for the occasional television guest appearance or feature role. Though she had only been slated to appear in one episode of Melrose Place, Cross' character proved so popular that producers went to great lengths to keep her on board, eventually going so far as to reach beyond the grave to keep the character alive.