We loved her as the self-absorbed Suzanne Sugarbaker on the CBS show Designing Women. But before that she was a beauty queen, becoming the youngest contestant to hold the title of Miss Florida in 1974. She was 18. Winning a talent scholarship from the Miss America organization, she studied for two years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
During Burke’s time on Designing Women she gained weight and had a falling out with fellow cast member Dixie Carter and the producers. She left the show at the end of the fifth season in 1991. For those of us who watched the show, it was never the same without her. Her battle with type-2 diabetes was influential in her loss of some 60 pounds.
Since Designing Women she has continued to act in film, television and on Broadtway. She has been married to actor Gerald McRaney since 1989.