Shelly Burch

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Shelly Burch (born March 19, 1960) is an American actress and singer known to television audiences for her role as Delila Ralston on ABC's daytime soap opera One Life to Live, a role she played for eight years.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Tucson, Arizona, she began performing as a teenager in community and regional musicals, ultimately moving to Washington D.C. with her family when her father Dean Burch entered Republican party politics in the 1964 White House run for the Presidency by Barry Goldwater. She continued working in the D.C. area and eventually entered Carnegie Mellon University, where she stayed until a move to New York in the 70's. Shelly was cast in her first Broadway show six months after her arrival. She played one of Sammy Davis Jr.'s daughters in the revival of Stop the World – I Want to Get Off, which began its run in California and came to Lincoln Center, NY. In 1979, after several cabaret appearances, she snagged the role of Star-To-Be in Annie on Broadway, and also played the role of Lily St. Regis. In 1980, Tommy Tune cast her in his original Broadway production of Nine. She played the role of Claudia and introduced Maury Yeston's "Unusual Way". The role earned her kudos, including one from Frank Rich (then the drama critic for The New York Times), in which he called her "a Modigliani goddess with another strong voice and an almost otherworldly presence".[1] She also garnered a Drama Desk nomination for the role. She stayed with Nine until she was tapped to originate the role of the devilish Delila on ABC-TV's long-running soap opera One Life to Live.[2] She stayed on the show for eight years, and at the same time honed her cabaret skills. In 1989, after having left Llanview (where One Life took place), she created the role of Julie for the Paper Mill Playhouse's production of Show Boat, which subsequently was filmed by PBS for Great Performances.

In 1990, she moved to Florida, got married and had three children. During her Florida residency, she continued to perform regionally and sang in numerous churches and at the Holy Land. She also worked extensively at Disneyland and continued her cabaret and night club career. She also performed at diverse locations such as the Republican National Convention and RFK Stadium, stirring audiences with her version of "The Star Spangled Banner". In 2003, after roles such as Patsy Cline in "An Evening With..." and Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, she called her old friend and Annie director Martin Charnin to come and create a new night club act for her. He did. The act played in Orlando, Washington D.C., and eventually in 2009 came to the Metropolitan Room in New York City. In 2004, family-in-hand, she moved to the Pacific Northwest and became a regular in the Seattle and environs theater scene. In 2006, she and Mr. Charnin married and they continued working together in the Pacific Northwest, until they returned to the East Coast in July 2012. They are currently at work on her one-woman entertainment, which is scheduled to open in late Fall of 2012.





  1. ^ Rich, Frank (May 10, 1982). "'Nine,' A Musical Based on Fellini's '8 1/2'", The New York Times, p. C13.
  2. ^ Passalacqua, Connie (October 22, 1989). "Shelly Burch has found something to sing about", St. Petersburg Times, p. 50.

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