“Right there, I'd like to draw a distinction between Mary Alice and Brenda Strong. Just because Brenda Strong does yoga doesn't mean Mary Alice does! There are many differences between the two (characters of Mary Alice and Gaby), but yes, it would be fun to draw more correlations between what we had in common and why we were friends. Certainly yoga could be one of those. The possibilities are endless, from Mary Alice cooking with Bree, to doing yoga with Gaby, to babysitting Lynette's kids, and on and on and on.” Brenda Strong
After being in the industry for nearly twenty years, American actress Brenda Strong rose to TV stardom with her role of Mary Alice Young on the ABC hit drama “Desperate Housewives” (2004-2008), from which she nabbed two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Making her TV debut in 1985, the actress went on to create a solid reputation with her recurring roles on such popular TV shows as “Twin Peaks” (1991), “Party of Five” (1996), “3rd Rock From the Sun” (1996-1997), “Seinfeld” (1996-1997), “7th Heaven” (2000-2002), “Everwood” (2002-2005) and the ABC critically praised “Sport Night” (1998-2000). She also accumulated guest spots in countless series, including “St. Elsewhere,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Nip/Tuck,” Ally McBeal,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Dawson's Creek.” As a movie actress, Strong, who made her debut in 1986's “Weekend Warriors,” has played supporting roles in the movies “Spaceballs” (1987), “Get a Job” (1998), “The Deep End of the Ocean” (1999), “Red Dragon” (2002), “The Work and the Glory” series (2004, 2005, 2006), “The Kid & I” (2005) and “A Plumm Summer” (2007), among others. Her upcoming films are “Privileged” (2008) and “You” (2008).
Off camera, Strong is a certified yoga instructor. She has taught at UCLA's Mind/Body Institute and is currently teaching yoga at her studio in Los Angeles. She also released two yoga videos, “Yoga for Fertility” and “Yoga for Partners.”
Married to husband Tom Henri since 1989, the happy couple became the parents of a son named John.
Childhood and Family:
Brenda Lee Strong was born on March 25, 1960, in Brightwood, Oregon. She attended Parkrose High School and upon graduating from Sandy Union High in Sandy, Oregon, in 1978, headed to Tempe, Arizona, to pursue Musical Theater studies at Arizona State University. While at ASU, Brenda won the title of Miss Arizona 1980 and competed in the Miss America pageant the following year. After completing her degree, Brenda moved to Los Angeles to try her hand at acting.
In 1989, Brenda married Tom Henri. The couple welcomed a baby boy named John Henri in 1997.
Rival Sue Ellen
Former beauty queen Brenda Strong received her first break in show business when she landed a spot on the Billy Crystal music video “You Look Marvelous,” which was followed by a “People” magazine shoot with Crystal. Shortly after, the Oregon native broke into television with guest roles in such popular series as “St. Elsewhere” (1985), “MacGyver” and “Cheers” (both 1986) as well as in other shows like “Shadow Chasers,” “Sledge Hammer,” “Dallas,” “Hotel,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Matlock.” Her big screen debut was in “Weekend Warriors” (1986), an action/comedy film starring Chris Lemmon and Lloyd Bridges directed by Bert Convy. The following year, she was cast in her first TV film, the sequel “Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues,” which starred Kenny Rogers and Bruce Boxleitner. By the late 1980s, she had added two films to her resume, Mel Brooks' “Spaceballs” (1987) and Blake Edward's “Skin Deep” (1989).
In the early 1990s, Strong continued to have guest roles in television series like “Anything But Love,” “Blossom,” “Herman's Head,” “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,” “Picket Fences,” “Silk Stalkings,” “ER,” “The John Larroquette Show” and “Murphy Brown.” In 1991, she had a recurring role on the cult favorite “Twin Peaks,” playing Ms. Jones. On the movie front, she could be seen in “People Like Us” (1990, TV), “Stepfather III (1992, TV), “My Life (1993), “Malice” (1993) and “Island City” (1994, TV).
Strong enjoyed a boost with her celebrated recurring roles on the Fox popular drama “Party of Five” (1996), as Charlie Salinger's girlfriend Kathleen Isley, and the comedy series “3rd Rock From the Sun” (1996-1997), as Miss Frost. But it was her recurring gig on NBC's “Seinfeld” (1996-1997), where she memorably portrayed Sue Ellen Mischke, the rival of Elaine, which garnered the actress attention.
Returning to film after “Seinfeld,” Strong was cast opposite Jason Wolk and Jeremy London in the award-winning independent comedy “Get a Job” (1998), in which she portrayed a psychologist named Emily LaCrosse. She next supported Patrick Swayze and Meat Loaf in the Kevin Hooks action “Black Dog” (1998), costarred with “Renegade” star Lorenzo Lamas in the thriller “Undercurrent” (1999) and was featured alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, Treat Williams and Whoopi Goldberg in the unexpected good drama “The Deep End of the Ocean” (1999).
Strong received additional notice during the late to early 2000 with her recurring role of Sally Sasser, the nemesis of Dana Whitaker (played by Felicity Huffman) on the critically acclaimed, but short-lived series “Sport Night” (ABC, 1998-2000). She went on to have another notable recurring roles on The WB's drama/family, “7th Heaven,” where she played Mrs. Carmen Mackoul from 2000-2002, and also played Marsha Palmer on four episodes of “The Court” (2002). From 2002-2005, she portrayed Julia Brown in several episodes of “Everwood” and was a regular member of the short-lived series “The Help” (2004). Brenda also racked up numerous one-episode roles in such series as “Get Real,” “Ally McBeal,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Dawson's Creek,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Nip/Tuck” and “The Lyon's Den.”
In 2004, Strong won the regular role of Mary Alice Young on the highly successful series “Desperate Housewives,” opposite costars Felicity Huffman, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria Parker. The role brought her two Screen Actors Guilds for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2005, 2006).
The talented actress' recent film credits include “Red Dragon” (2002, with Anthony Hopkins and Edward Norton), “Missing Brendan” (2003, opposite Robin Thomas and Illeana Douglas), “Exposed” (2003, starred as Susan Andrews), the based-on-novel “The Work and the Glory” (2004, costarred with Sam Hennings) and its sequels, “The Work and the Glory II: American Zion” (2005) and “The Work and the Glory III: A House Divided” (2006), and “The Kid & I” (2005, starred Tom Arnold). She also had a supporting role in “A Plumm Summer” (2007), which starred Jeff Daniels and William Baldwin.
Recently appearing as Mary Stewart in the drama “Ocean of Pearls” (2008), Strong will portray Mrs. Carrington in the Jonah Salander-helmed drama “Privileged” (2008). She will also costar in the independent drama “You” (2008), starring and directed by Melora Hardin.
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, “Desperate Housewives,” 2006
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, “Desperate Housewives,” 2005