Who is Delta Burke?
Delta Ramona Leah Burke was born on 30 July 1956, in Orlando, Florida, USA. She is an actress, author, and producer, perhaps best known for her highly acclaimed appearance in the television sitcom “Designing Women”, in which she portrayed Suzanne Sugarbaker. She’s also worked on other notable television programs, including “Boston Legal” and “Filthy Rich”.
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The Net Worth of Delta Burke
As of early-2020, Delta Burke’s net worth is estimated to be over $3 million, earned through a successful career in acting since 1974. She’s also written a book, and has also done various behind-the-scenes roles in television production.
Happy Birthday to Delta Burke. The 'Designing Women' star and former Miss America contestant is 60 years old.(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Early Life and Education
Delta grew up in Orlando, raised primarily by her mother as her father was not present in her life. However, the two didn’t stay by themselves for long as her mother remarried to realtor Frederick Burke, who adopted her. She then grew up alongside two younger siblings from her mother’s remarriage. At a young age, she showed a strong passion for performance and had a lot of confidence, leading many to believe that she would have a successful life.
She attended Colonial High School, and during her time there she won the State Miss Flame Award, after winning the local Miss Flame crown in Orlando.
The pageant is organized by the state’s various fire departments, to help attract more attention to them, as well as to help raise funds. During her senior year in high school, she continued in pageantry and won the Miss Florida title, making her the youngest to ever win the competition.
Continued Studies and Acting Beginnings
Thanks to Burke becoming Miss Florida, she was offered a scholarship by the Miss America Organization, and this led her to continue pursuing her dream as an actress. She enrolled in a two-year program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, the oldest performing arts school in the UK.
Afterwards, she returned to the US and made her first appearance in the mini-series “The Chisholms” aired on CBS. The show starred Robert Preston, and followed the titular family’s life as they encounter various troubles including with Native Americans.
Afterwards she became a cast member of the show “Filthy Rich”, which she was a part of for a year, portraying Kathleen Beck, a young widow. The show aired on CBS and starred Charlie Frank and Dixie Carter, and was noted for being a satire of popular soap operas of the time, including “Dynasty” and “Dallas”. She then appeared in the HBO program “1st & Ten”, which was one of the earliest efforts of HBO to lure viewers away from what was then considered the top-three in US television networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC.
The show follows the story of a fictional American Football team, and she portrayed a team owner in the show.
Delta’s next role would become her most notable, as she was cast in “Designing Women”. The show follows the story of a man and four women who are a part of an interior design firm based in Atlanta, Georgia, set in the 1980s, and also starring Dixie Carter, Jean Smart and Annie Potts. The show follows the lives of these co-workers and the problems in their professional and personal lives. During its early run, it had good ratings and was among the top 20 shows in the US.
However, things went downhill after the show started changing its cast members, with Burke and Carter leaving. The show was canceled after seven seasons due to decreasing interest.
During the peak of her career in the show, she was nominated twice for a Primetime Emmy Award. Before she left the show, she had gone public about her dissatisfaction with the show due to long working hours that kept them tired and stressed. This eventually led to a rift between her and Carter, leading to them being released from their contracts.
Life After Designing Women
Following her work in “Designing Women”, Delta started a show named after her which was short-lived.
She then reprised her character in “Women of the House” after reconciling with several people from the show, but this second effort was also short-lived – she also eventually reconciled with Carter after five years. In the 1990s, her career had a significant downturn and the media pointed to her increasing weight. She battled with depression, and an eating disorder that had been present during her pageant days. Despite the issues surrounding her weight, she made it work to her advantage, delivering some of her best performances, stemming from programs that focused on her weight.
In 2000, she had a supporting role in the film “What Women Want”, before being cast in “DAG” in which she had returned to a healthy weight after a diabetes diagnosis. In 2003, she forayed into stage productions, working on “Thoroughly Modern Millie” then on the original production of “Steel Magnolias”, in which she played the character Truvy. A few of her latest projects include a recurring role in “Boston Legal” playing an old flame of William Shatner’s character. She’s also worked on several Hallmark films, and was cast in the pilot for “Counter Culture” but production was suspended due to an injury, and the show was never picked up.
In 1989, Delta married actor Gerald McRaney, and the couple have since resided in Los Angeles, but they also have homes in New Orleans and Telluride. Her husband is known for his work in shows such as “Jericho”, “House of Cards”, “Castle”, “Longmire” and “Promised Land”. The couple don’t have any children. She is a known advocate of gay rights, and has openly supported gay members of the entertainment industry, collaborating with them or promoting their work. She has admitted to having a compulsive hoarding syndrome, which she had to take therapy to overcome. During the peak of her hoarding obsession, she owned 27 storage units.