An actress 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. Appearances on shows like Cheers and Who's the Boss? got the actress started on screen, preparing her for the career landmark of being cast as Dr. Kimberly Shaw on 1992's Melrose Place. 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.
If it seemed like Cross' career was floundering somewhat in the wake of her Melrose Place success, a role in the WB's 2002 drama Everwood served well to bring her back into the collective conscience of television viewers. Though she would only remain with the series for one season, her furlough from the small screen proved to be short-lived when Cross returned stronger than ever in 2004 in the hugely popular dark comedy drama Desperate Housewives. Cast as a Martha Stewart-worshipping suburbanite whose obsession with perfection is slowly tearing her family apart at the seams, Cross used her keen skills in front of the camera to hold her own in an ensemble cast that included the likes of Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, and Nicollette Sheridan.