Marcia Anne Cross (born March 25, 1962) is an American television actress, best known for her roles as Dr. Kimberly Shaw on Fox soap opera Melrose Place (1992–1997), and Bree Van de Kamp on the ABC comedy-drama series Desperate Housewives (2004–2012).
Cross was born in Marlborough, Massachusetts. She is one of three daughters of Janet, a teacher, and Mark Cross, a personnel manager. Cross was raised Catholic, and attended Marlborough High School, from where she graduated in 1980. Upon graduating high school, Cross received a half-scholarship to Juilliard, and graduated in 1984 with a B.F.A. in Acting.
Cross began her television career in 1984 on the soap opera The Edge of Night, playing the recurring role of Liz Correll. Afterwards, she relocated from New York to Los Angeles, and soon landed roles in television movies such as The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James, co-starring with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. In 1986, she joined the cast of the ABC daytime soap opera One Life to Live, where she played the role of Kate Sanders, until 1987. She followed this with guest-starring roles on primetime shows such as Who's the Boss?, Quantum Leap,Knots Landing and Cheers.
In 1992, Cross won the role Dr. Kimberly Shaw on the FOX's primetime soap opera Melrose Place. Initially cast for one episode, she so impressed the producers that they kept bringing her back. By the second season, her character was emerging as the mentally unbalanced antagonist of the show. She left in the fifth season. She also appeared on the episodes of sitcoms, such as Seinfeld, Boy Meets World, Ally McBeal, Spin City and King of Queens. Her dramatic roles include appearances on CSI, Strong Medicine, Profiler and Touched by an Angel.Her film credits include independent movies Bad Influence (1990), Always Say Goodbye (1996), Just Peck (2009) and Bringing Up Bobby (2011). In 2003, Cross spent a season co-starring as Linda Abbott on WB's series Everwood.
In 2004, Cross won the role Bree Van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives. The show was the breakout hit of the 2004–05 television season, and Cross was nominated for several awards for her role, including an Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards (winning two with cast). She also received a Satellite Award for her performance in the show's second season. The series ran for eight seasons until it concluded in 2012.