Actress Delta Burke

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on March 4, 2001

Delta Burke's character in my favorite television show, Designing Women, was a former beauty contestant. Was she a pageant winner in real life?
—Deana C., South Dakota

Burke, 44, an Orlando, Fla., native, began her career as a model. In 1974, she represented Florida in the Miss America Pageant and won a talent scholarship, which she used to attend the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. From there, she went to Los Angeles where she began her acting career, eventually landing the role for which she is best known—Suzanne Sugarbaker, the self-absorbed ex-beauty queen on Designing Women—and for which she received two Emmy nominations. Burke now plays Judith Whitman, the smart, strong-willed first lady in the television comedy DAG. She and her actor husband, Gerald McRaney (Major Dad), divide their time between homes in New Orleans' French Quarter and Los Angeles.