10/01/2013 06:40 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2013

'China Beach' 25th Anniversary: Dana Delany Didn't Realize 'How Special It Was' At The Time

"China Beach," which premiered 25 years ago, won Dana Delany two Emmy awards for her portrayal of Coleen McMurphy, a U.S. Army nurse during the Vietnam War -- but the star admitted that she didn't realize what a groundbreaking series it was at the time.

During a recent visit to HuffPost Live, Delany shared, "I think I didn't even know at the time how special it was. I thought, 'oh this is fantastic, a great role, they're all going to be like this!' And then you find out later on, 'no, they're not all like that.'"

Delany, who most recently starred on ABC's canceled "Body of Proof," credits "China Beach" with changing the trajectory of her career. "It's very much influenced the choices I've made as an actor -- sometimes to my detriment, because things I've turned down have gone on to be huge hits," she said. "But if I don't think it's sending the proper message out … Especially when it comes to women, I feel very strongly about portraying women in a strong light and after 'China Beach' I don't think I ever played a victim again. I just couldn't."

As for whether the show could exist in today's television landscape, Delany opined, "I think it would be a cable show now."

Do you miss "China Beach"?

Critics Picks 2013-2014

Subscribe to the Entertainment email.
Home to your favorite fan theories and the best movie recs.