Born: March 25, 1962
Birthplace: Marlborough, Massachusetts, U.S.
Marcia Anne Cross (born March 25, 1962) is an American actress. She began her career on daytime soap operas such as The Edge of Night, Another World and One Life to Live before moving to primetime television with a recurring role on Knots Landing. From 1992 to 1997, she starred as Dr. Kimberly Shaw on the Fox television drama Melrose Place. Cross is perhaps best known for her role as conservative housewife Bree Van de Kamp on the ABC television series Desperate Housewives (2004-12), for which she was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, and a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She currently recurs as President Claire Haas on the ABC series Quantico.
Cross was born in Marlborough, Massachusetts and is of English and Irish descent. She is one of three daughters of Janet, a teacher, and Mark Cross, a personnel manager. Cross was raised Catholic, and attended Marlborough High School, from which she graduated in 1980. Upon graduating from high school, Cross received a half-scholarship to Juilliard, and graduated in 1984 with a B.F.A. in Acting. Cross returned to school in 1997 to earn a master's degree in psychology, which she received from Antioch University Los Angeles in 2003.
Cross began her television career in 1984 on the soap opera The Edge of Night, playing the recurring role of Liz Correll. Afterwards, she relocated from New York to Los Angeles, and soon landed roles in television movies such as The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James, co-starring with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. In 1986, she joined the cast of the ABC daytime soap opera One Life to Live, where she played the role of Kate Sanders, until 1987. She followed this with guest-starring roles on primetime shows such as Who's the Boss?, Quantum Leap, Knots Landing and Cheers.
In 1992, Cross won the role of Dr. Kimberly Shaw in the Fox primetime soap opera Melrose Place. She left in the fifth season. She also appeared on the episodes of sitcoms, such as Seinfeld, Boy Meets World, Ally McBeal, Spin City and The King of Queens. Her dramatic roles include appearances on CSI, Strong Medicine, Profiler and Touched by an Angel. Her film credits include independent movies Bad Influence (1990), Always Say Goodbye (1996), Just Peck (2009) and Bringing Up Bobby (2011). In 2003, Cross spent a season co-starring as Linda Abbott on WB's series Everwood.
In 2004, Cross won the role of Bree Van de Kamp in Desperate Housewives. The show was the breakout hit of the 2004-05 television season, and Cross was nominated for several awards for her role, including an Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards (winning two with cast). She also received a Satellite Award for her performance in the show's second season. The series ran for eight seasons until it concluded in 2012. In 2014, after two years on hiatus, Cross co-starred as the lead character's mother in the unsuccessful Fox comedy pilot Fatrick. In 2015, Cross guest starred in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and later joined the cast of ABC thriller series Quantico playing the recurring role of President Claire Haas, a former Democratic vice presidential nominee.
Cross was the long-time companion of actor Richard Jordan, who was 25 years her senior; Jordan died from a brain tumor in 1993. In 2006, she married stockbroker Tom Mahoney. Cross underwent in vitro fertilization soon after their wedding, and gave birth to fraternal twin daughters Eden and Savannah in February 2007, shortly before her 45th birthday.
Marcia Cross supports the following charitable causes: Women's Issues, Obesity, Homeless, Children, Red Cross.