Delta Burke (born July 30, 1956 in Orlando, Florida) is an American television and film actress. She is probably best known for her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker in the sitcom Designing Women. Prior to that, she first was noticed by many playing the role of Diane Barrow in the HBO original series 1st & Ten, about a woman owning a fictional pro football team (the California Bulls). Debuting in 1984, 1st & Ten was one of the very first group of made-for-cable original television shows.
After graduating from Colonial High School in Orlando, she won the Miss Florida title for 1973. Burke was paired with Miss Georgia, Gail Nelson, in the Miss America pageant in 1974, and won a talent scholarship allowing her to attend a two-year study program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She is also a very successful designer and manager of the clothing company Delta Burke Design in New York City. Delta has been married to actor Gerald McRaney since 1989.
Ever since the early 1990s, Delta's weight has been a subject of discussion in the tabloid press. In reality, her struggles with weight and eating disorders stretch back to her pageant days in the early 1970s. She was fired from Designing Women when relations between Burke and her co-stars, especially Dixie Carter, deteriorated. Speculation in the press labeled the reason for her firing to be her weight gain.
Delta went on to star in her own television show, Delta, and in Women of the House (reprising her Suzanne Sugarbaker role without the other Designing Women actresses).
She became a much-parodied figure in the press due to her seesawing weight, including a skit on Saturday Night Live, wherein Leon Phelps from The Ladies Man has a sexual fixation on Burke, for reasons which were not explained.
In the early 2000s, she co-starred with David Alan Grier on the sitcom DAG; she had lost much of her excess weight for the role after being diagnosed with diabetes.