UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — In the 1991 series finale of China Beach
, Dana Delany's Vietnam War nurse, Colleen McMurphy, was aged nearly two decades for a flash-forward visit to the Vietnam Memorial.
Thinking back on the silver streak added to her hair, Delany, a two-time Emmy winner for the role, chuckles.
"That's funny, isn't it?" recalls Delany, seated on the front porch of her new home on Desperate Housewives
' Wisteria Lane. She makes her debut in the show's Sept. 30 Season 4 premiere. "I'm now older than the age (ABC) had me playing then, and I certainly don't look like they aged me for this."
She's not bragging, just stating the obvious. At 51, Delany, with her wavy strawberry hair and fit physique, is just as glam as the other housewives, who are mostly still in their early 40s. That includes Teri Hatcher, who welcomed the newcomer with a bottle of Delany's favorite red wine.
"She fit into the universe right from the start," says series creator Marc Cherry.
That's a good thing, because unlike the last "new" housewife — Alfre Woodard's Betty Applewhite, who sold her house after one season — Delany is planning on planting roots, stating emphatically, "I signed a six-year contract."
Though he remains coy about Delany's future, Cherry admits he has been trying to get her on his show since Day 1. She auditioned for the role of Bree but turned it down several times, believing it was too close to the wicked mom she played on her short-lived 2001 prime-time soap, Pasadena
"For three years, this has been hanging over my head, and I finally landed her," Cherry says, beaming.