The death of "Growing Pains" dad Alan Thicke triggers memories of other 80s TV shows. Were you a fan of "Designing Women"?Remember Delta Burke who played the bombastic Suzanne Sugarbaker? Ever wonder what happened to her? Put it this way: personal life kept her a lot busier than her professional one. The once-obese Burke achieved wow-worthy weight loss but the story behind it is the big eye-popper. This Southern Belle found her steel magnolia and beat back not one but three life-threatening health conditions.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Funny lady Delta Burke had serious health scare

Burke earned two Emmy Award nominations for playing the filterless and flamboyant Suzanne Sugarbaker of the Atlanta "Designing Women" firm. The buxom bombshell earned the 1974 Miss Florida title and later represented her home state of Florida in the Miss America pageant (before President-elect Donald Trump took over). But under the bouffant, the beauty queen was battling some inner demons, including increased weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, and depression.

Source: Wikimedia Alan Light. "Designing Women" Delta Burke tackles weight loss, diabetes
Source: Wikimedia Alan Light. "Designing Women" Delta Burke tackles weight loss, diabetes

The real Delta Burke behind the pretty face

The decorative brunette appeared in other shows besides "Designing Women," including "Boston Legal," "Filthy Rick," and "Touched By an Angel." But her defining role was Noletta Nethercott in the lesser-known "Sordid Lives." Always struggling with comfort eating, depression, jealousy and self-pity, Noletta finally finds her true grit and turns tables on her shaming, cheating husband. The difference is that Delta's real-life husband Gerald McRaney (another 80s star from "Simon & Simon") is supportive and caring.

Advertisement

Delta Burke is happier healthy but unemployed

Weight issues plagued the "Designing Women" star and she ended the show at an obese 215 pounds. Obesity caused anxiety, stress, and pressure to lose weight. Then came the Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Burke says she was shocked because no one in her family has it. Then she learned that Type 2 isn't inherited as much as created. Diabetics develop the lifestyle disease by diet, inactivity, or poor food choices.

Many ignore the pre-diabetes stage (also called "insulin resistance" or Metabolic syndrome) and have to go on insulin injections. Thanks to chutzpah and help from a loving husband, Delta is managing her diabetes and has lost 65 pounds. The acting roles may not be pouring in but Burke is in a happier place.

Click to read more and watch the video