Brenda Lee Strong (born March 25, 1960) is an American actress and yoga instructor, known for her role as Mary Alice Young on the television show Desperate Housewives.
She is also known for portraying Sally Sasser on Sports Night and starred on short-lived series such as Scorch (1992) and The Help (2004).
She is well known to viewers for her recurring role on Sports Night, in which she played Sally Sasser, the nemesis of Felicity Huffman's Dana Whitaker. She also guest starred on The WB's popular 7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls and Everwood. While working for The WB, she also had a guest appearances on Ally McBeal, Nip/Tuck, CSI, Malcolm in the Middle, and the short-lived The Lyon’s Den.
Strong appeared in movies such as The Craft, Spaceballs, The Deep End of the Ocean, Red Dragon, Black Dog, Exposed, Starship Troopers and Starship Troopers 2 (her character died in the original but she returned in a different role in the second movie). More recently, she can be seen in the dramatic Lifetime movie Family in Hiding which premiered on August 6, 2006, as well as Curb Your Enthusiasm where she plays a love interest of Larry David. Strong also appeared in the 2009 movie Ocean of Pearls.
Between 2004 and 2006, she co-starred in a motion picture trilogy entitled The Work and the Glory based on a bestselling nine-volume series of the same name by author Gerald N. Lund.
Strong made an appearance on Boston Legal as a judge presiding over a murder trial in 2008.
Strong currently appears, mostly off-screen, on Desperate Housewives, opposite Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria and Teri Hatcher. She plays the deceased Mary Alice Young, who narrates the events of her friends' and neighbors' lives from beyond the grave.
Strong's character has narrated all but two episodes of the series. One of the two exceptions was the episode narrated by Steven Culp when his character Rex Van de Kamp was killed by George Williams in Season 1. The other episode was narrated by Nicollette Sheridan during the episode in which her character Edie Britt was killed in 2009.
Strong has appeared several times in flashbacks and in a dream episode in which Lynette struggles to understand why she could not stop Mary Alice's suicide. She played another deceased wife on the television series Everwood, appearing mainly in flashback sequences as the late Julia Brown. Coincidentally, Marcia Cross played Dr. Linda Brown, a love interest for Brown's widower, during the second season of Everwood.