Brenda Strong

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Brenda Strong
Brenda Strong 2009.jpg
Strong in 2009
BornBrenda Lee Strong
(1960-03-25) March 25, 1960 (age 54)
Brightwood, Oregon, U.S.
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Tom Henri (1989–2011) 1 child
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Not to be confused with Brenda Song.
Brenda Strong
Brenda Strong 2009.jpg
Strong in 2009
BornBrenda Lee Strong
(1960-03-25) March 25, 1960 (age 54)
Brightwood, Oregon, U.S.
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Tom Henri (1989–2011) 1 child

Brenda Lee Strong (born March 25, 1960) is an American actress and yoga instructor, best known for her role as Mary Alice Young on the ABC television comedy-drama series Desperate Housewives (2004–2012), for which she was nominated for two Emmy Awards.[1] She also is known for role as Sally Sasser on the ABC comedy-drama Sports Night (1998–2000) and currently starring as Ann Ewing on the TNT drama series Dallas.

Early life[edit]

Strong was born in Brightwood, Oregon, and grew up near Portland, Oregon, graduating in 1978 from Sandy Union High School in Sandy, Oregon. She later moved to Arizona to attend college, and graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Music in musical theater. Strong was crowned Miss Arizona in 1980; she is 6'0" (1.83 m) tall.[2]


Her first break after college was a spot in Billy Crystal's 1984 music video "You Look Marvelous". Her first television appearances came in 1985 with brief stints on St. Elsewhere, MacGyver, and Cheers. She also made guest appearances on Matlock, Murphy Brown, Herman's Head, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Blossom, and had a brief role on the cult favorite Twin Peaks.

By the mid-1990s, she was a regular guest player on dozens of series, with prominent recurring roles on 3rd Rock from the Sun and Party of Five. Strong also appeared on ER, Picket Fences, Silk Stalkings, and Dawson's Creek. She played Captain Deladier in the 1997 science fiction movie Starship Troopers.

One of Strong's most prominent roles during the 1990s was a recurring stint as Elaine's nemesis Sue Ellen Mischke, the "bra-less wonder" and "Oh Henry!" candy bar heiress, on several episodes of Seinfeld.[3]

She is well known for her recurring role on Sports Night as Sally Sasser, the nemesis of Felicity Huffman's Dana Whitaker. She also guest-starred on The WB's popular 7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls,and Everwood. While working for The WB, she also had guest appearances on Ally McBeal, Nip/Tuck, CSI, Malcolm in the Middle and the short-lived The Lyon's Den. She also starred on the short-lived series Scorch (1992) and The Help (2004).

Strong appeared in movies such as The Craft, Spaceballs, The Deep End of the Ocean, Red Dragon, Black Dog, Exposed, Starship Troopers and Starship Troopers 2 (her character died in the original, but she returned in a different role in the second movie). More recently, she could be seen in the dramatic Lifetime movie Family in Hiding, which premiered on August 6, 2006, as well as Curb Your Enthusiasm, where she plays a love interest of Larry David. Strong also appeared in the 2009 movie Ocean of Pearls.

Between 2004 and 2006, she costarred in the motion picture trilogy The Work and the Glory, based on a bestselling nine-volume series of the same name by Gerald N. Lund. Strong made an appearance on Boston Legal as a judge presiding over a murder trial in 2008.

Desperate Housewives[edit]

Strong starred, mostly off-screen, on Desperate Housewives, opposite Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria and Teri Hatcher from 2004 to 2012, during the show's run. She plays the deceased Mary Alice Young, who narrates the events of her friends' and neighbors' lives from beyond the grave. Her narrations yielded an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 2011 and 2012. Strong's character has narrated all but two episodes of the series. One of the two exceptions is the Season 3 episode narrated by Steven Culp, after his character, Rex Van de Kamp, is killed by George Williams and he observes the lives of the men on the street. The other episode is narrated by Nicollette Sheridan, in which her character, Edie Britt, dies.

Strong has appeared several times in flashbacks and in a dream episode in which Lynette struggles to understand why she could not stop Mary Alice's suicide. She played another deceased wife on the television series Everwood, appearing mainly in flashback sequences as the late Julia Brown. Coincidentally, Marcia Cross played Dr. Linda Abbott, a love interest for Brown's widower, during the second season of Everwood. Both Strong and Cross appear in Season 9 of Seinfeld (episodes 9 and 8 respectively).


In 2012, Strong began starring as Ann Ryland Ewing on the TNT original drama series Dallas.[4] The series is a continuation of the original series of the same name that aired on CBS from 1978 to 1991. The show premiered on June 13, 2012.[5]

Personal life[edit]

A certified yoga instructor and fertility expert,[6] Strong has experience teaching at UCLA's Mind/Body Institute. She is working on a book about yoga and the woman's journey.

Strong married Tom Henri in July 1989; they have a child, Zakery Henri. She filed for divorce on January 14, 2011.[7]


1986Weekend WarriorsDanielle
1987Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend ContinuesDesireeTelevision movie
1989Skin DeepReal Estate AgentUncredited
1990People Like UsBrenda PrimroseTelevision movie
1992Stepfather IIILauren SutliffeTelevision movie
1993My LifeLaura
1994Island CityDr. Sammy HeldingTelevision movie
1996The CraftDoctor
1997Starship TroopersCaptain Deladier
1998Get a JobEmily LaCrosse
1998Black DogMelanie
1998UndercurrentRenee Rivera
1999The Deep End of the OceanEllen
2000Terror TractDr. Helen Corey
2002Teddy Bears' PicnicJackie Sloane Chevron
2002Red DragonDinner Guest
2003Missing BrendanJoyce Calden
2003ExposedSusan Andrews
2004Going to the MatPatty NewfieldTelevision movie
2004The Work and the GloryMary Ann Steed
2004Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the FederationSgt. Dede Rake
2005The Work and the Glory II: American ZionMary Ann Steed
2005The Kid & IBonnie Roman
2006Family in HidingCarol PetersonTelevision movie
2006The Work and the Glory III: A House DividedMary Ann Steed
2007A Plumm SummerViv
2008Ocean of PearlsMary Stewart
2010PrivilegedMrs. Carrington
1985St. ElsewhereNadine Aurora(TV series, 1 episode: "The Naked and the Dead")
1985Misfits of ScienceMiss Speedway(TV series, 1 episode: "Twin Engines")
1985Shadow ChasersAngela Taylor(TV series, 1 episode: "The Many Lies of Johnathan")
1986MacGyverLila(TV series, 1 episode: "The Assassin")
1986CheersVicki(TV series, 1 episode: "The Cape Cad")
1986Sledge Hammer!Miss Hotchkins(TV series, 1 episode: "Miss of the Spiderwoman")
1987DallasCliff's One Night Stand(TV series, 1 episode: "Cat and Mouse")
1987HotelHilary Sinclair(TV series, 1 episode: "Revelations")
1988Star Trek: The Next GenerationRashella(TV series, 1 episode: "When the Bough Breaks")
1989Midnight CallerKristen(TV series, 1 episode: "No Exit")
1989HoopermanNun(TV series, 1 episode: "The Nun and I")
1989MatlockJan Sinclair(TV series, 1 episode: "The Model")
1990Father Dowling MysteriesMiss Cantrell/O'Grady(TV series, 1 episode: "The Perfect Cover Mystery")
1991Anything but LoveUnknown(TV series, 1 episode: "My New Best Friend")
1991Twin PeaksJones(TV series, 4 episodes)
1991–1992BlossomDiane(TV series, 2 episodes)
1991Murphy BrownJanine(TV series, 1 episode: "Eldin Inmates Life")
1992Rachel Gunn, R.N.Sheila(TV series, 1 episode: "I Dream of Squidhead")
1992ScorchAllison King(TV series, 6 episodes)
1992SibsUnknown(TV series, 1 episode: "Warren and the Married Woman")
1992GrapevineAllison(TV series, 1 episode: "The Allison and Ken Story")
1992Dark JusticeJessica Sadler(TV series, 1 episode: "Happy Mothers Day")
1992–1993Herman's HeadDr. Holland(TV series, 2 episodes)
1993The Young Indiana Jones ChroniclesBeatrice Kaufman(TV series, 1 episode: "Young Indian Jones and the Scandal of 1920")
1993The Second HalfHeather(TV series, 1 episode: "Guess Who's Channeling Dinner?")
1993Picket FencesSarah Evans(TV series, 1 episode: "Unlawful Entries")
1993Silk StalkingsCandy Grayson(TV series, 1 episode: "Ladies Night Out")
1994ERSally Niemeyer(TV series, 1 episode: "Into that Good Night")
1996Murphy BrownTara Baker(TV series, 1 episode: "Casa Nova")
1996The John Larroquette ShowChristine Taylor(TV series, 1 episode: "The Master Class")
1996Party of FiveKathleen Isley(TV series, 6 episodes)
1996–19973rd Rock from the SunMiss Frost(TV series, 2 episodes)
1996–1997SeinfeldSue Ellen Mischke(TV series, 4 episodes)
1997RoarMegan(TV series, 1 episode: "Traps")
1997Chicago SonsNina(TV series, 1 episode: "Infrequent Flyers")
1998–2000Sports NightSally Sasser(TV series, 7 episodes)
1998The CloserSusan Bend(TV series, 1 episode: "The Rebound")
1999Odd Man OutKasey Morton(TV series, 1 episode: "Good Will Hunting")
1999Any Day NowJana Durham(TV series, 1 episode: "It's Not You, It's Me")
1999Safe HarborMarilyn Conray(TV series, 1 episode: "Older Women, Younger Men")
2000Get RealOlivia Clark(TV series, 1 episode: "Guilt")
2000The Michael Richards ShowBeth(TV series, 1 episode: "Discrimination")
2000–20027th HeavenMrs. Carmen Mackoul(TV series, 8 episodes)
2001Ally McBealJerry Hill(TV series, 1 episode: "Mr. Bo")
2001CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationDr. Leigh Sapien(TV series, 1 episode: "Overload")
2001ThievesLoretta(TV series, 1 episode: "Liver Let Die")
2001Gilmore GirlsEva(TV series, 1 episode: "Like Mother, Like Daughter")
2001Dawson's CreekKay Liddell(TV series, 1 episode: "High Anxiety")
2002Bram and AliceTheresa(TV series, 1 episode: "Scribbling Rivalry")
2002The CourtMarsha Palmer(TV series, 4 episodes)
2002Malcolm in the MiddleAmelia(TV series, 1 episode: "Family Reunion")
2002–2005EverwoodJulia Brown(TV series, 5 episodes)
2003A.U.S.A.Judge Kimberly Flynn(TV series, 1 episode: "The Joint Report...A Love Story")
2003Nip/TuckIrish(TV series, 2 episodes)
2003The Lyon's DenRebecca McCandless(TV series, 1 episode: "Things She Said")
2004The HelpArlene Ridgeway, the Rich Lady(TV series, 7 episodes)
2004–2012Desperate HousewivesMary Alice YoungNarrator (179 episodes)
Guest actress (17 episodes)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2005–2006)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2007–2009)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance (2011–2012)
2006Just LegalLiza Lynch(TV series, 1 episode: "The Bar")
2006–2007Help Me Help YouLinda(TV series, 4 episodes)
2007Curb Your EnthusiasmDr. Flomm(TV series, 1 episode: "The N Word")
2007SharkOlivia Hartnell(TV series, 1 episode: "In Absentia")
2008Law & Order: Criminal IntentKathy Jarrow(TV series, 1 episode: "Betrayed")
2008Boston LegalJudge Judy Beacon(TV series, 1 episode: "True Love")
2010ScoundrelsPenny Priest(TV series, 1 episode: "Birds of a Feather Flock Together")
2010Rizzoli & IslesMel Gaynor-Randle(TV series, 1 episode: "I Kissed a Girl")
2012–presentDallasAnn Ewing(TV series, 25+ episodes)
2013–2014ScandalJoan Reston(TV series, 2 episodes: "All Roads Lead to Fitz", "The Fluffer")
2012–presentBlood RelativesNarrator(TV Series, 4+ episodes)


  1. ^ Awards for Brenda Strong
  2. ^ Brenda Strong: Biography, TV Guide
  3. ^ Martin, John (25 June 1998). "Seinfeld Episode Reruns in Reverse". Telegraph Herald. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (April 5, 2011). "Dallas Scoop: Housewives Vet Is Bobby's Wife". TVLine. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Linda Gray Saddles Up For 'Dallas' Return". Access Hollywood. February 10, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ Brenda's Bio,
  7. ^ Desperate Housewives' Brenda Strong Files for Divorce, Us Weekly, January 15, 2011 AT 1:28PM By Us Weekly Staff

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