Marcia Cross grew up in Marlborough, MA, and she is the middle of three sisters. She’s always dreamt of going to New York and becoming an actress. She graduated almost half a year earlier ahead of her high school class.
As soon as she finished high school at Marlborough High School in 1980, she went to Manhattan to go to The Julliard School in NYC with a half-scholarship. She stayed at a YMCA until she and her classmate found an apartment to live in.
By 1984, she had graduated with a B.F.A. degree in Acting 1984 after she completed her training in performing arts.
She started landing some roles
After a couple of years in regional theater, she was cast in soap operas (The Edge of Night, One Life to Live), then landed a role on Melrose Place, where she earned her breakthrough role in 1992.
After leaving Melrose Place, Cross took time off from acting in order to attend college in Los Angeles. But she would appear on screen from time to time while she was working on her Master degree online.
In 2000, she starred in the critically acclaimed film ‘Dancing in September’ and her outstanding performance earned her a lead role in Living in Fear, which was released in 2001.
According to Cross, after Melrose Place, she was often typecast as “crazy”. Although it was understandable, she hoped for a chance at one point to be offered other roles. But that chance came when she returned to full-time acting in 2002 as Dr. Linda Abbott from Everwood, a TV drama series.
Greg Berlanti, the creator of the show, saw Marcia Cross as a great fit for Dr. Abbott’s character.
According to Berlanti, (who by the way has never seen Melrose Place), Marcia comes off a lot like Linda’s character.
She kept studying hard
While she took on the role, she was still working on her Masters degree online. She received a Master’s in Psychology from Antioch University, an online college in Los Angeles in 2003.
But Everwood was just the beginning. In 2004, Cross made her mark in America’s most popular show, “Desperate Housewives.”. During that year, Cross was nominated for several awards and won a few for her portrayal of the perfectionist homemaker, Bree Van De Kamp.
Cross auditioned for the role of Mary Alice Young, but series creator Marc Cherry saw her as a better fit for Bree.
In Desperate Housewives, Bree Van de Kamp is amongst the 4 main protagonists. As the series progressed, her main struggle was to maintain a perfect life in spite of different obstacles like divorce, alcoholism, and widowhood.
There has been a huge acclaim for Bree, both for the storylines and for Cross’s portrayal of the character. Cross receives high marks from Tim Goodman for her talented portrayal of uptight Bree and for putting a lot of shadings on a character that appears on the surface to be perfect.
Cross got nominated for the 2005 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in the season 1 episode, “Running to Stand Still”. The show’s Season 2 “Next” and Season 3 episode “Listen to the Rain on the Roof”, as well as the Season 4 episode “Now You Know,” also made the Top 10 Pre-Nomination Finalist listing for the same award.
The actress has been nominated three times for the Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy; her first three nominations were for her work on the show. Also in 2005, she was nominated for a Prism Award for Outstanding Performance in a Comedy Series (relating to Bree’s alcoholism), as well as a TV Critics Association award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Comedy.
Aside from being nominated for an Emmy Award, three Golden Globes, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards, Cross also received several awards for her TV shows in 2004-05. For her performance in the show’s second season, she received a Satellite Award as well. In total, eight seasons of the series were produced before its finale in 2012.
In 2015, Marcia Cross joined the cast of Quantico, portraying the character of President Claire Haas, a former Democratic vice-presidential candidate. She also guest-starred on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Marcia Cross proves that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. At 41, she was able to pursue her Masters in Psychology through an online college while making appearances on TV. Ever since then, she has gone to rack up numerous awards for her work.