John Sacret Young, 1946-2021

John Sacret Young, the writer and TV and movie producer best known for being the co-creator of the pioneering TV show, China Beach, died June 3 at age 75 from brain cancer. Young and William Broyles Jr.–a writer and editor and former U.S. Marine who served in the Vietnam War–conceived of the idea of a weekly TV drama series centering on a group of nurses stationed at an evac hospital near DaNang during the war.

They sold it to ABC, and China Beach brought one aspect of the Vietnam War into America’s living rooms for three seasons, from 1988-91. Dana Delany (left) who played the main character, nurse McMurphy, received two Best Actress Emmy awards. Marg Helgenberger, in the role of an American prostitute, won one.

In 1980, Young received a Writers Guild Award for his adaptation Philip Caputo’s classic Vietnam War memoir, A Rumor of War, into a TV miniseries. Young’s 2005 memoir, Remains: Non-Viewable, deals with the impact of the 1969 death of his cousin Doug, a Marine lance corporal who lost his life in the Vietnam War.

June 24, 2021


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