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Marcia Cross: Red Haired Desperate Housewife


Marcia Cross ABC Desperate Housewives 2004

ABC/Moshe Brakha All Rights Reserved

If you think that Marcia Cross who plays the super repressed and neurotically perfect, Bree Van De Kamp on Desperate Housewives is anything like her character in real life, you are in for a big shock.

The ruby haired Aries actress (March 25, 1962), who recently appeared on the May 17th edition of Ellen DeGeneres admitted that other than their red hair, Marcia and Bree as different as night and day.

Indeed, Marcia confessed to Ellen that a recent deliveryman to her home expressed surprise at how disorganized Marcia's home was and how different it was to her Bree character.

Marcia laughed and told Ellen that her house is definitely "messy" and not at all prim, proper and perfectly maintained as the Van De Kamp household.

Starting In Soapland

Marcia Cross 5th Annual Project A.L.S. Benefit Gala Honoring Ben Stiller Westin Century Plaza Hotel Century City, CA May 6, 2005

Jason Kirk All Rights Reserved

Marcia Cross made her acting debut in sixth grade in a school play. From that moment, she was determined to become an actress. At age 18 she was accepted as a Drama major at the Juilliard School.

In 1984 as Liz Correll on the long running soap opera The Edge of Night. After a few years of appearing in a few TV shows, Marcia popped up Another World as Tanya in 1986. Then she took on the role of Kathryn "Kate" Sanders on One Life To Live from 1986 until 1987.

From 1991 until 1992 she was on Knots Landing as Victoria Broyelard during the same time that Nicollette Sheridan was on the nighttime soap/drama.

Note: For more on Nicolette Sheridan read the following article: Nicollette Sheridan: A Desperate Blonde Haired Housewife

In 1992 Marcia hit pay dirt as the insane Dr. Kimberly Shaw Mancini who actually had a lobotomy before blowing up Heather Locklear's apartment on the sizzling Melrose Place. Marcia's time on the nighttime show spanned the years 1992-1993 and 1994 until 1997.

While appearing on a series of nighttime soaps, Marcia also guest starred on an amazing array of award winning series including Cheers, Who's The Boss, Ned And Stacy with Debra Messing who became a good friend, Seinfeld, Boy Meets World, Ally McBeal, CSI and The King Of Queens to name just a few of her many appearances over the years.

Psychology Is Good For Acting

Marcia Cross Movieline's Hollywood Life's 7th Annual Young Hollywood Awards Henry Fonda Theater Hollywood, CA May 1, 2005

David Edwards All Rights Reserved

After she finally left Melrose the actress decided that she wanted to do something else with her life. As she explained to Ellen DeGeneres, she went to college to become a psychologist.

Although she continued to act to support herself while in school and even appeared on TV's Everwood in 2002, Marcia eventually won her Masters Degree in Psychology and was actually beginning to build a private practice when she was contacted by the producers for Desperate Housewives.

Ellen teased Marcia that it probably freaked out some of her counseling clients when they figured out that she was a well-known actress. Marcia laughed and promised that she had managed to keep her private practice completely separate from her acting career.

Even though Marcia worked hard to become a therapist, when Desperate Housewives called, she could not resist the temptation to audition.

Ironically Marcia admitted to Ellen that she originally wanted the role of Mary Alice because it seemed like it would be fun to just be dead and do the narration of the show. She smiled and said it would have been nice to be Mary Alice because "she would have avoided all the hassled of hair and make-up and could have just hung out off camera instead of being a main character.

Unfortunately or fortunately for the viewers, the producers would have none of that and after a few auditions, award Marcia the part of Bree.

Flipped Out

Marcia Cross 5th Annual Project A.L.S. Benefit Gala Honoring Ben Stiller Westin Century Plaza Hotel Century City, CA May 6, 2005

Jason Kirk All Rights Reserved

Marcia is famous for her flawless porcelain complexion and spectacular glossy red tresses that form a slight widow's peak at the top of her forehead. Her glossy red tresses perfectly frame her soft heart shaped face and draw attention to her pretty face and beautiful eyes.

(Image of Marcia Cross at the Padres Contra El Cancer 20th Anniversary Gala, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 2005.

In her role as Bree, Marcia has re-ignited interest in the flip which was a popular style worn in the early 1960s by Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke show.

Not only does Bree Van De Kamp have every hair neatly in place, she gravitates towards super conservative variations of her flipped do that are compatible with her uber uptight attitudes.

The reality of the flip, according to Marcia's comments made to USA Today is that Bree's "severe hair flip was modeling after a typical 1950s Smith College student."

While Bree is uptight, full of secret sadness, constrained and totally repressed, Marcia smiles and laughs easily and was completely willing to act like a goof by singing a childhood song for Ellen and her television audience.

The tall willowy beauty hopped right up and sang and danced with Ellen trying to keep up. The impromptu performance was hilarious but showed a fun, sassy side to Marcia.

During her Ellen appearance Marcia wore her normally shoulder length hair with long hair straight extensions that gave her a striking new image. It has been reported by the media that the actress prefers not to pose with her Bree flipped hairstyle when she is not in character. And who could blame her? The actress is stunning with her off-camera array of curly, wavy and sassy shoulder length styles.

Spicy Red Shoulder Length Hair

Marcia Cross Chopard & Elton John Oscar After Party Pacific Design Center West Los Angeles, CA February 27, 2005

David Edwards All Rights Reserved

Marcia's hair color is a rich, earthy red with hints of spicy orange touches. Her gorgeous hue is inspired by the latest fashion trends to embrace eclectic, sexy and feminine shades. Expect to see redheads multiplying before your very eyes over the next few months.

So you may be wondering how many hours it takes the Desperate Housewife hairdressers to create that prim and proper perfectly flipped style that Bree wears around the neighborhood. Talk to anyone in the TV Land know and they will most likely tell you that Bree's style is probably a wig designed to have a perfectly coiffed 50s style flip at the bottom.

Marcia Cross 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award Arrivals February 5, 2005

Jason Kirk All Rights Reserved

If you think about it, what better way to guarantee a perfectly duplicated Bree hairstyle without all the muss and fuss of constantly subjecting Marcia's gorgeous strands to nonstop styling torture.

A lot of television stars wear a combination of wigs, half wigs and extensions. Why would the rules be any different for Marcia?

How To Steal Marcia's Look

When Marcia strolls down the Red Carpets her stiff flip is nowhere to be seen. Besides admitting to being messy in her private life, the fiery redhead is also a fan of comfort. She has been spotted shopping around Brentwood, California wearing casual cargo pants and comfy boots.

It's no surprise that the gorgeous actress cleans up nicely. While her love of relaxed, no-fuss, no muss attire is often reflected in an off-the-face, middle or side parted stick straight style, she does randomly mix up her coiffure with versatile ringlets, waves, and twists that work perfectly with her face shape, eyes and lips.

Marcia also appears to enjoy wearing her hair sleekly tucked behind her ears cascading slightly over her shoulders in soft curls. Besides the rumors of a carefully flipped wig for Housewives, Marcia, like most successful actresses appears to be no stranger to hair extensions. She does seem to prefer styles without any type of bangs of fringe.

Marcia Cross 31st Annual People's Choice Awards January 9, 2005 Pasadena, CA

David Edwards All Rights Reserved

To achieve Marcia's sleek and straight styles complete the following steps:


Marcia's hair on Red Carpet appearances appears shiny and glossy. Over the years she has stayed close to her favorite rich red shades and away from drastic color changes which has been beneficial to her tresses.

This means that she still has to pay attention to using gentle shampoo formulas to carefully nurture her red hues and keep her chemically processed hair silky and full of movement.

Start with a hair treatment program from Phyto designed to protect and maintain delicate red hues. Or select a red enhancing shampoo or color mask like Rene Furterer Color Enhancing Mask in Auburn designed to maintain and protect your ruby hues.

Other red hue maintenance products include Okara Repairing Shampoo or Ken Paves Healthy Hair - Boost Up Color Drops - Red 28.4ml. h

For ultra dry or super fragile strands, select a super moisturizing shampoo formula like Phytojoba or one designed for your specific hair type, texture and current condition. Experiment with diluting the shampoo for extra gentleness.


Marcia Cross Trevor Project's "Cracked Xmas 7" Honoring Debra Messing & Megan Mullally at The Wiltern LG Los Angeles, CA December 5, 2004

Marty Hause All Rights Reserved

Gently squeeze excess water out of the strands. Apply your favorite leave-in conditioner with your fingers. Match the conditioning product to your hair type, texture and condition.

Work the conditioner into the driest parts of your hair. Leave on for up to five minutes. Rinse well. Finish with a cool to cold water rinse.


Towel blot your strands to remove excess water. Apply your favorite detangling product or leave-in conditioning product based on your type, texture and current condition of your strands.

Keep in mind that if you have fine or thin strands, you will want to use a very light detangling spray. For medium to thicker strands, use a heavier conditioning product.

If you are prone to frizz, experiment with frizz fighting formulas like Phytodefrisant or John Frieda Frizz Ease that help provide a sleeker smoother finish.


Marcia Cross & Nicolette Sheridfan Desperate Housewives May, 2005

ABC/Ron Tom All Rights Reserved

If you want to go for Marcia's sleek straight style, be sure to either apply a defrisant product like Phytodefrisant or a straightening balm like KMS Flatout Straightening Creme.

Distribute a dime-sized dollop of the product of your choice into the palms of your hands and mix well. Use your fingers to work the product completely through your tresses.


Separate your hair into 2" sections and blow dry with a large round brush, starting near the back of the head and working around to the front on either side.

Beginning at the back of your head, blow-dry hair in half-inch pieces using a large round brush. To create extra volume, hold brush in the hair near the scalp until the hair cools (about five seconds), then move the brush down and through to the ends of the hair.


To create a super straight finish, use a hot flat iron to touch up any sections that require a smoother texture.


If desired, spray lightly with the hairspray of your choice. Finish with a shine serum or spray. Apply to the palms of your hands and lightly brush across the surface of your hair.

Optional Looks

Marcia Cross ABC Desperate Housewives One Wonderful Day May 22, 2005

ABC/Ron Tom All Rights Reserved

If you prefer to go with Marcia's flipped Bree style, skip Step 6 above and as you dry each section switch to using a round metal or steel brush as you blow dry the ends. Roll the ends up into a flip and then direct the blow dryer heat to each section. A round metal brush will act as a hot curling iron.

When hair is completely dry, if the flip is not tight enough, use a medium barrel curling iron to curl ends up.

Or if you prefer, use medium to small sized hot rollers and roll hair in an upward direction to form a flip. Let the upward curls completely cool. Use your fingers to carefully form a flipped curve around the bottom edge of your style.

Spray well with your favorite hairspray and then use your fingers to gently arrange the finished flip. Finish with a light application of your favorite shine product.

Experiment with different parts and tucking parts of the side hair behind the ears for a different look.


Marcia Cross One Wonderful Day May 22, 2005

ABC/Ron Tom All Rights Reserved

Nicole Frank is a hairstylist for the cast of Desperate Housewives. She explained to ABC Action News in Philadelphia, near her hometown, "she does Marcia's hair for big Hollywood events".

Marcia, according to Nicole "would rather be at home watching it on TV. So we spend four hours, but it's mostly chit-chat. She's serving fruit and saying "she doesn't want to go and I'm saying...come on Marcia. You look great. Let's get in the car!"

Even the most beautiful women in the world like Marcia have to worry about how they look. After all, it takes a lot of work to look drop dead gorgeous but Marcia seems to always pass with flying color.

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