Dana Welles Delany (born March 13, 1956) is a multi-award winning American film, stage, and television actress. She is known for her role as Colleen McMurphy on the ABC television show China Beach (1988–1991), Katherine Mayfair on Desperate Housewives (2007–2010), Megan Hunt on Body of Proof (2011–present) and, as a voice-actress, Lois Lane in the DC Animated Universe as well as the television series The Batman. In an interview, she said she loves to play "complicated characters." Delany has been active in film, television, and stage since the late 1970s.
Delany was born in New York City to parents of Irish descent and was raised Catholic. She has remarked that, even as a child, she always wanted to go into acting. "The reason a person first gets into acting is because you want attention from your parents as a child," she told a reporter. In her childhood, she went with her family to many Broadway shows, and was fascinated by films.
After growing up in Stamford, Connecticut, she attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts for her senior year, and was a member of the school's first co-educational class which included jazz composer Bill Cunliffe, software executive Peter Currie, artist Julian Hatton, poet Karl Kirchwey, writer Nate Lee, editor Sara Nelson restauranteur Priscilla Martel and sculptor Gar Waterman. "Andover was the best time of my life," she recalled. She played the lead role of Nellie Forbush in the school's spring musical production of South Pacific playing opposite Peter Kapetan as Emile. She commented: "It was just a little awkward to be Nellie at first because she hesitates to marry Emile since he had once lived with a Polynesian woman -- I don't agree with her reasoning so that made things a bit hard at the beginning." She appeared in a student video directed by fellow classmate Jonathan Meath in a film class taught by Steve Marx. She graduated in 1974 with the academic honor of "cum laude" which was awarded to 80 out of 378 graduating seniors. She majored in theater at Wesleyan University, worked in summer stock productions during vacations, and graduated in 1978. Later, in an interview, she reported that she sometimes had eating issues during this time of her life. She said: "I binged... I starved ... I was one step from anorexia –a piece of toast and an apple would be all I would eat in a day."