Delta Burke went from a very shy youngster to a household name as the persnickety Suzanne Sugarbaker on the hit TV show "Designing Women." Along the way, she overcame a lifelong battle with eating disorders to become a proud plus-size designer and model, inspiring women everywhere to accept their bodies just the way they are.
Burke's career started when she joined a local theater troupe and began entering every beauty contest she could, eventually becoming the youngest winner ever of the Miss Florida pageant at age 17. But even at this early age, the pressure to succeed started to take a toll. In the months before the Miss America pageant, Burke began to gain weight. In an effort to reshape her full-figured curves, she began popping diet pills, paving the way for a lifelong battle with eating disorders.
Burke didn't place in the Miss America contest, but her performance in the talent competition landed her a scholarship to a drama school in London. When she finished, Burke set out to fulfill her ambition of being a Hollywood somebody. She began landing minor parts and appearing as a guest star on many TV shows. It was during one of these appearances that she met the person who would change the path of her career: producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. In 1982, she cast Burke as a scheming ex-beauty queen in "Filthy Rich," a show co-starring actress Dixie Carter. Four years later, the three women teamed up again. Bloodworth-Thomason asked Burke to revive the ex-beauty queen character in a new series called "Designing Women."
The actress became the self-involved Suzanne Sugarbaker, and a TV star was born. The mammoth success of the sitcom had its downside, however. Relations between Bloodworth-Thomason, Burke and co-star Carter became strained, and Burke turned to food to ease the stress. Tabloids began publishing hurtful stories about her weight gain. In an episode entitled "They Shoot Fat Women, Don't They?," Burke got to bite back and address her battle with weight gain publicly and with dignity.
She received an Emmy nomination for the role as well as achieving five successful seasons on the air. In 1992, she appeared on her own show, "Delta." More recently, Burke co-starred in the Lifetime Original Movie "Going for Broke." Burke even teamed up with all five of her former cast mates for a "Designing Women" reunion special.
The actress has launched a successful plus-size clothing line, and continues to act. She has appeared on the TV comedy "Popular" as Cherry Cherry, oil baronness and mom to cheerleader extraordinaire Mary Cherry, as a guest performer on "Touched By An Angel" and "Any Day Now," and as a long-suffering mother in Lifetime's original movie, "Dangerous Child." Back on the small screen and finally at peace with her body, Burke encourages other women to accept themselves, whether they are size 6 or 16.
Burke has also tackled depression, a disease she now openly admits to struggling with for much of her life. Burke was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 41, while she was struggling with her weight and depression.
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Delta Burke is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics including Obesity, Fitness and Personal Growth. The estimated speaking fee range to book Delta Burke for live events is $50,000 - $100,000. Please contact us for virtual event fees. Delta Burke can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Jean Smart, Tracey Gold and Lily Collins. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Delta Burke for an upcoming event.
Delta Style has 46 ratings and 7 reviews. Kim said: I found her childhood and early beginnings to be interesting. I also found the glimpse of her Hollywo...
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