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Delta Burke 2023 Edition: What Is Delta Burke up to Today?

Photo Credit: Ron Galella/ Ron Galella Collection/ Getty Images/ Cropped, and Albert L. Ortega/ Getty Images/ Cropped
Photo Credit: Ron Galella/ Ron Galella Collection/ Getty Images/ Cropped, and Albert L. Ortega/ Getty Images/ Cropped

There are always those celebrities who flood the tabloids during their prime and then seem to disappear off the face of the earth, like Meg Ryan and Phoebe Cates. Former Designing Women star Delta Burke is another of these actresses. Her career peaked around the 1990s before it eventually fizzled out in the 2000s. Read on to discover what this former pageant queen and TV star is up to now.

Designing Women years

Delta Burke spent much of her high school years competing in beauty pageants. She won a scholarship through the Miss America Organization, which allowed her to attend a program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She took on some small roles in the 1980s on The Chisholms, Filthy Rich, and 1st & Ten. Burke first made a name for herself when she was cast as Suzanne Sugarbaker – a former beauty pageant queen – on Designing Women. 

Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, Delta Burke, and Alice Ghostley all surrounding Meshach Taylor smiling.
Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, Delta Burke, Alice Ghostley, and Meshach Taylor in a promotional shot for Designing Women. (Photo Credit: MoviePics1001/ MovieStillsDB)

She was easily one of the most popular cast members, earning two Emmy nominations for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. While things looked good from the outside, there were many problems behind the scenes. In a 1990 interview with Barbara Walters, Burke revealed that the show was a “difficult, unpleasant workplace.” This prompted the Designing Women producers to counter her statement, claiming she was “impossible to work with.”

She continued acting

Eventually, she was fired because of her difficulties with other cast members. Producers said it was because she was horrible to work with, especially after she married Major Dad actor Gerald McRaney in 1989. Allegedly, McRaney told Burke she should be “the boss” of the show.

Burke completely disagreed, saying the rift was because she was open about the “psychological abuse” she experienced on set over her weight. However, this experience with Designing Women didn’t stop Burke from continuing her acting career.

Delta Burke with short blonde hair waving out the window of a car at a photographer.
Delta Burke at the ABC Affiliates Party in Los Angeles, June 1992. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella/ Ron Galella Collection/ Getty Images)

She was cast in a number of well-known pieces, but her popularity was definitely in decline, even when she reprised her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker in a 1995 spinoff series called Women of the House. She went on to be a supporting actress in What Women Want and had guest roles on Boston Legal and Drop Dead Diva. Burke also tried her hand at Broadway, starring in Steel Magnolias and Thoroughly Modern Millie. 

By 2008 she was dealing with numerous health problems: diabetes, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and hoarding, for which she sought treatment.

Where is she now?

Slated to make a comeback in her own 2012 show Counter Culture, it didn’t quite go as planned. While filming the pilot episode, Delta had a bad fall which caused them to press pause on production. Ultimately, the show was never picked up. Since then, she has stayed away from reviving her Hollywood career. She opened up about what she’s been up to in a 2023 interview with Daily Mail. 

Gerald McRaney in a black suit with a bow tie, and Delta Burke in a red and gold dress, pose for a photo together on the red carpet.
Delta Burke and her husband Gerald McRaney attend the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater, September 10, 2017. (Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris/ FilmMagic/ Getty Images)

She reported, “Everything is fine, I’m just not very exciting right now,” with no Hollywood work on the calendar. Instead, she has been focusing on her marriage, which she speaks very highly of. Perhaps the most important thing she achieved during this time away from the spotlight was coming to accept herself, according to someone close to her, after years of tabloid ridicule for her appearance and her weight.

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Just because she stayed away from acting doesn’t mean Burke hasn’t done anything. She works as a clothing designer and manager of Delta Burke Designs in New York City, and she and McRaney share ownership of an antique store in Mississippi.

Rosemary Giles

Rosemary Giles is a history content writer with Hive Media. She received both her bachelor of arts degree in history, and her master of arts degree in history from Western University. Her research focused on military, environmental, and Canadian history with a specific focus on the Second World War. As a student, she worked in a variety of research positions, including as an archivist. She also worked as a teaching assistant in the History Department.

Since completing her degrees, she has decided to take a step back from academia to focus her career on writing and sharing history in a more accessible way. With a passion for historical learning and historical education, her writing interests include social history, and war history, especially researching obscure facts about the Second World War. In her spare time, Rosemary enjoys spending time with her partner, her cats, and her horse, or sitting down to read a good book.