Brenda Strong

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Not to be confused with Brenda Song.
Brenda Strong
Brenda Strong at PaleyFest 2013.jpg
Strong at the PaleyFest 2013 forum for Dallas
Born Brenda Lee Strong
(1960-03-25) March 25, 1960 (age 55)
Brightwood, Oregon, U.S.
Alma mater Arizona State University
Occupation Actress, narrator
Years active 1985–present
Spouse(s) Tom Henri (1989–2011) 1 child
John Farmanesh-Bocca (2015–present)

Brenda Lee Strong (born March 25, 1960) is an American actress and yoga instructor. She began her career appearing in guest starring and recurring roles on television shows, include Twin Peaks, Party of Five, Seinfeld, and Sports Night, and was regular cast member in short-lived sitcoms Scorch (1992), and The Help (2004).

Strong had supporting roles in a number of films, include Starship Troopers (1997), Black Dog (1998), The Deep End of the Ocean (1999), Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004) and The Work and the Glory (2004). She is best known for her role as Mary Alice Young in the ABC television comedy-drama series, Desperate Housewives (2004–2012), for which she was nominated for two Emmy Awards.[1] Strong later starred as Ann Ewing in the TNT prime time soap opera, Dallas (2012–2014), and set to play Queen Nia in the third season of The CW post-apocalyptic drama series, The 100.

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]


Early works[edit]

Her first break after college was a spot in Billy Crystal's 1984 music video "You Look Marvelous".[2] Her first television appearances came in 1985 with brief stints on St. Elsewhere, MacGyver, and Cheers. She also made guest appearances on Hotel, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Matlock, Murphy Brown, Herman's Head, and Blossom. In 1990, she had the recurring role in the cult-classic ABC series, Twin Peaks. She made her film debut in 1986 comedy film Weekend Warriors, before supporting part in Spaceballs (1987).

In 1992, Strong starred in the short-lived CBS sitcom Scorch. She spent the following decade playing recurring and guest starring roles in many dramatic and comedic shows. From 1996 to 1998, she appeared as Elaine's nemesis Sue Ellen Mischke, the "bra-less wonder" and "Oh Henry!" candy bar heiress, on several episodes of NBC sitcom, Seinfeld.[3] She also had the recurring roles on Party of Five, 7th Heaven and Everwood, and guest starred on 3rd Rock from the Sun, ER, Picket Fences, Silk Stalkings, Dawson's Creek, Any Day Now, Ally McBeal, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Nip/Tuck. From 1998 to 2000, she played Sally Sasser, the nemesis of Felicity Huffman's Dana Whitaker, in the ABC comedy-drama, Sports Night.[2][4] In early 2004, she starred as wealthy Arlene Ridgeway in The WB short-lived sitcom, The Help.

Strong had roles in a number of films, include My Life, Malice and The Craft, before was cast as Captain Deladier in the 1997 science fiction action film Starship Troopers. Her character died in the original film, but she returned in a different role in the second film, Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation. In 1998, she starred opposite Patrick Swayze in the action film Black Dog, playing his wife.[5] The following year, she played Michelle Pfeiffer' character's best friend in the drama film, The Deep End of the Ocean. In 2000, she appeared in the horror anthology Terror Tract, and in 2002 had short part in Red Dragon.

2004—2012: 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. Along with cast, she received two Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2005 and 2006.[2]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 during Season 5 and 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 addition to her role on Desperate Housewives, Strong starred as Mary Ann Steed in the movie trilogy The Work and the Glory, based on a bestselling nine-volume series of the same name by Gerald N. Lund.[6][7][8] She starred in the 2006 Lifetime movie Family in Hiding. Also in 2006, she played Ted Danson's love interest in the short-lived ABC comedy series, Help Me Help You. She also guest starred on Curb Your Enthusiasm playing love interest of Larry David, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Boston Legal, and Rizzoli & Isles.

2012—2014: Dallas[edit]

During her final year on Desperate Housewives, Strong signed to play Ann Ryland Ewing, the third wife of Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) and new matriarch of Southfork Ranch, in the TNT series Dallas, the revival of long-running CBS prime time soap opera of the same name.[9] Strong previously made a guest appearance in the original series in 1987 as Cliff's One Night Stand.[10]The show premiered on June 13, 2012,[11] and was cancelled after three seasons in 2014.[12] During her Dallas years, she began hosting Investigation Discovery series Blood Relatives, and played Joan Reston, the wife of Governor Samuel Reston, in the two episodes of Shonda Rhimes' political series, Scandal.[13]


After Dallas, Strong guest starred in an episode of NBC comedy procedural The Mysteries of Laura. In 2015, she joined the cast of the third season of The CW post-apocalyptic drama series, The 100, playing the role of Nia, Queen of the Ice Nation.[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

A certified yoga instructor and fertility expert,[16] 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.[17] In May, 2015, she married director-actor John Farmanesh-Bocca.[18]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Weekend Warriors Danielle
1987 Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues Desiree Television film
1987 Spaceballs Nurse Gretchen
1989 Skin Deep Real Estate Agent Uncredited
1990 People Like Us Brenda Primrose Television film
1992 Stepfather III Lauren Sutliffe Television film
1993 My Life Laura
1993 Malice Claudia
1994 Island City Dr. Sammy Helding Television film
1996 The Craft Doctor
1997 Starship Troopers Captain Deladier
1998 Get a Job Emily LaCrosse
1998 Black Dog Melanie
1998 Undercurrent Renee Rivera
1999 The Deep End of the Ocean Ellen
2000 Terror Tract Dr. Helen Corey
2002 Teddy Bears' Picnic Jackie Sloane Chevron
2002 Red Dragon Dinner Guest
2003 Missing Brendan Joyce Calden
2003 Exposed Susan Andrews
2004 Going to the Mat Patty Newfield Television film
2004 The Work and the Glory Mary Ann Steed
2004 Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation Sgt. Dede Rake
2005 The Work and the Glory II: American Zion Mary Ann Steed
2005 The Kid & I Bonnie Roman
2006 Family in Hiding Carol Peterson Television film
2006 The Work and the Glory III: A House Divided Mary Ann Steed
2007 A Plumm Summer Viv
2008 Ocean of Pearls Mary Stewart
2009 You Paula
2010 Privileged Mrs. Carrington
2012 An Engagement Mom Short film
2014 Teacher of the Year Ellen Behr
2014 I Can See You Marnie Short film
2015 Road to Redemption Abigail
2015 The Leisure Class HBO's Project Greenlight season 4 film


Year Title Role Notes
1985 St. Elsewhere Nadine Aurora Episode: "The Naked and the Dead"
1985 Misfits of Science Miss Speedway Episode: "Twin Engines"
1985 Shadow Chasers Angela Taylor Episode: "The Many Lies of Johnathan"
1986 MacGyver Lila Episode: "The Assassin"
1986 Cheers Vicki Episode: "The Cape Cad"
1986 Sledge Hammer! Miss Hotchkins Episode: "Miss of the Spiderwoman"
1987 Dallas Cliff's One Night Stand Episode: "Cat and Mouse"
1987 Hotel Hilary Sinclair Episode: "Revelations"
1988 Star Trek: The Next Generation Rashella Episode: "When the Bough Breaks"
1989 Midnight Caller Kristen Episode: "No Exit"
1989 Hooperman Nun Episode: "The Nun and I"
1989 Matlock Jan Sinclair Episode: "The Model"
1990 Father Dowling Mysteries Miss Cantrell/O'Grady Episode: "The Perfect Cover Mystery"
1991 Anything but Love Unknown Episode: "My New Best Friend"
1991 Twin Peaks Jones 4 episodes
1991–1992 Blossom Diane 2 episodes
1991 Murphy Brown Janine Episode: "Eldin Inmates Life"
1992 Rachel Gunn, R.N. Sheila Episode: "I Dream of Squidhead"
1992 Scorch Allison King Series regular, 6 episodes
1992 Sibs Unknown Episode: "Warren and the Married Woman"
1992 Grapevine Allison Episode: "The Allison and Ken Story"
1992 Dark Justice Jessica Sadler Episode: "Happy Mothers Day"
1992–1993 Herman's Head Dr. Holland 2 episodes
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Beatrice Kaufman Episode: "Young Indian Jones and the Scandal of 1920"
1993 The Second Half Heather Episode: "Guess Who's Channeling Dinner?"
1993 Picket Fences Sarah Evans Episode: "Unlawful Entries"
1993 Silk Stalkings Candy Grayson Episode: "Ladies Night Out"
1994 ER Sally Niemeyer Episode: "Into that Good Night"
1996 Murphy Brown Tara Baker Episode: "Casa Nova"
1996 The John Larroquette Show Christine Taylor Episode: "The Master Class"
1996 Party of Five Kathleen Isley 6 episodes
1996–1997 3rd Rock from the Sun Miss Frost 2 episodes
1996–1997 Seinfeld Sue Ellen Mischke 4 episodes
1997 Roar Megan Episode: "Traps"
1997 Chicago Sons Nina Episode: "Infrequent Flyers"
1998–2000 Sports Night Sally Sasser 7 episodes
1998 The Closer Susan Bend Episode: "The Rebound"
1999 Odd Man Out Kasey Morton Episode: "Good Will Hunting"
1999 Any Day Now Jana Durham Episode: "It's Not You, It's Me"
1999 Safe Harbor Marilyn Conray Episode: "Older Women, Younger Men"
2000 Get Real Olivia Clark Episode: "Guilt"
2000 The Michael Richards Show Beth Episode: "Discrimination"
2000–2002 7th Heaven Mrs. Carmen Mackoul 8 episodes
2001 Ally McBeal Jerry Hill Episode: "Mr. Bo"
2001 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Dr. Leigh Sapien Episode: "Overload"
2001 Thieves Loretta Episode: "Liver Let Die"
2001 Gilmore Girls Eva Episode: "Like Mother, Like Daughter"
2001 Dawson's Creek Kay Liddell Episode: "High Anxiety"
2002 Bram and Alice Theresa Episode: "Scribbling Rivalry"
2002 The Court Marsha Palmer 4 episodes
2002 Malcolm in the Middle Amelia Episode: "Family Reunion"
2002–2005 Everwood Julia Brown 5 episodes
2003 A.U.S.A. Judge Kimberly Flynn Episode: "The Joint Report...A Love Story"
2003 Nip/Tuck Irish 2 episodes
2003 The Lyon's Den Rebecca McCandless Episode: "Things She Said"
2004 The Help Arlene Ridgeway Series regular, 7 episodes
2004–2012 Desperate Housewives Mary Alice Young Series regular, 179 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)
2006 Just Legal Liza Lynch Episode: "The Bar"
2006–2007 Help Me Help You Linda 4 episodes
2007 Curb Your Enthusiasm Dr. Flomm Episode: "The N Word"
2007 Shark Olivia Hartnell Episode: "In Absentia"
2008 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Kathy Jarrow Episode: "Betrayed"
2008 Boston Legal Judge Judy Beacon Episode: "True Love"
2010 Scoundrels Penny Priest Episode: "Birds of a Feather Flock Together"
2010 Rizzoli & Isles Mel Gaynor-Randle Episode: "I Kissed a Girl"
2012–2014 Dallas Ann Ewing Series regular, 40 episodes
2012 / 2014 Scandal Joan Reston Episodes: "All Roads Lead to Fitz", "The Fluffer"
2012–present Blood Relatives Narrator 32 episodes
2014 The Mysteries of Laura Margot Preston Episode: "The Mystery of the Mobile Murder"
2016 The 100 Queen Nia


  1. ^ Awards for Brenda Strong
  2. ^ a b c d Brenda Strong: Biography, TV Guide
  3. ^ Martin, John (25 June 1998). "Seinfeld Episode Reruns in Reverse". Telegraph Herald. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Brenda Strong". Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "Black Dog". 1 May 1998. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Work and the Glory". 24 November 2004. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "The Work and the Glory II: American Zion". 13 October 2005. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "The Work and the Glory III: A House Divided". 22 November 2006. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  9. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (April 5, 2011). "Dallas Scoop: Housewives Vet Is Bobby's Wife". TVLine. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ Eggertsen, Chris (March 28, 2012). "Cast of TNT's 'Dallas' revival bare some skin, take a shower together in new poster". HitFix. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Linda Gray Saddles Up For 'Dallas' Return". Access Hollywood. February 10, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "'Dallas' Canceled by TNT". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  13. ^ Natalie Abrams (6 September 2012). "Exclusive: Dallas, Desperate Housewives' Brenda Strong Heads to Scandal". Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "'The 100' casts Brenda Strong as the Ice Queen -". Entertainment Weekly's Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "'Desperate Housewives' Alum Brenda Strong Joins CW's 'The 100'". TheWrap. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  16. ^ Brenda's Bio,
  17. ^ Desperate Housewives' Brenda Strong Files for Divorce, Us Weekly, January 15, 2011 AT 1:28PM By Us Weekly Staff
  18. ^ "Brenda Strong Marries John Farmanesh-Bocca, Honeymoons in Mexico—See the Pic!". E! Online. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 

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