Style & Substance: Dana Delany

By Farrah Weinstein / June 25, 2000
Dinner With Friends/Geffen Playhouse
When other kids were out playing, Dana Delany — now in the play "Dinner With Friends," at the Variety Arts Theater, through Sept. 7 — was watching Doris Day movies and memorizing lyrics to musicals like "Singin' in the Rain."

Delany grew up in Connecticut and attended Wesleyan University, where she majored in theater. After graduating, she came to New York and landed her first job — a Carefree sugarless gum commercial.

The blue-eyed, brunette beauty then starred in the soap "Love of Life" and in several Broadway shows.

Having performed in a few shows on the Great White Way, she headed to Hollywood, where she began appearing in episodes of the TV shows "Moonlighting" and "Magnum, P.I."

But Delany's big break came in 1988, when she began work on "China Beach," which earned her two Best Actress Emmys for her portrayal of nurse Colleen McMurphy.

She's since starred in a number of films, including "Exit to Eden," "Tombstone" and "Housesitter."

When the 44-year-old actress isn't working, she spends time with her boyfriend, wine dealer Christan Navarro.

— What made you decide to come back to theater?
— I did a pilot that didn't get picked up, so I was sick of everything. And I just want to act - so here I am.

— Are you enjoying yourself?
— It's great. I haven't done a play in about five years, since "Translations" on Broadway.

— Any projects on the horizon?
— When I finish here, I'm going to do a TV film that I'm producing, based on New York sex crime prosecutor Linda Fairstein's book "Final Jeopardy." I'll play a fictionalized version of her.

— What do you do to relax?
— Crossword puzzles.

— What can't you live without?
— Yoga. I do it everyday. I've been doing it for years.

— What's your workout routine?
— When I'm in L.A., I go to yoga at 7 a.m. for a couple of hours. Here in New York, I've rented a treadmill.

— What are some of your favorite things?
— Wine. I've graduated to the red.

— Favorite clothes?
— I wear a lot of Prada. Unfortunately, I recently had all my Prada shrunk by the cleaners. I've realized that Old Navy has a lot of good Prada knockoffs for less money.

— Favorite food?
— Egg salad sandwich is my new obsession.

— Describe your personal style.
— Sort of a simple, quiet sexiness, with a sense of humor.

— What gives you substance?
— My Lejaby bra. It's French, and they sell them at Barneys. I discovered them thanks to a costume designer. It's got good support and a great seamless underwire.

— If you could change anything about your yourself, what would it be?
— Read more, nap less.

— What do you wear when relaxing?
— My uniform is Gap khakis, a T-shirt and J.P. Tod's.

— What do you wear for a big night out?
— Makeup, because normally I don't wear any, and Cathy Waterman diamonds.

— Do you have any special beauty tips?
— I have been using NuSkin moisturizer for years. It's a really clean product that I use morning and night.

— What do you use to accessorize?
— I like '50s and '60s vintage purses that you get at flea markets.

— Whose style do you most admire?
— Honey West. I liked her because she wore those great catsuits and she was very capable of taking care of herself. I played her for Halloween once - mole and all.

— Some would say I have too many...
— Manolo Blahniks.

— Some would say I have too few...
— I deny myself nothing.

— What aspect of your style do your friends tease you about?
— My boyfriend thinks I look too preppy. He's very hip and thinks I'm square sometimes.

— What was your most embarrassing fashion moment?
— I got sent home from the sixth grade because my skirt was too short.

— If you had more free time, what would you do with it?
— Travel. I want to go to India next.

— What don't you ever leave home without?
— My Elsa Peretti money clip and a sense of humor.