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Delta Burke throws herself into drama

Delta Burke is talking about being thrown up against a wall _ and the bruises she suffered _ during the filming of the TV movie Dangerous Child.

Burke plays Sally Cambridge, a divorcee whose teenage son abuses her. The Lifetime movie, which airs tonight at 8, delves into a rarely diagnosed problem.

Developed with the help of psychologists, the story is not based on any one family but is drawn from the experiences of many.

"What it shows to anyone who is dealing with this in their life is that they are not alone," said Burke.

She noted that such teen anger and violence are often hidden by families who are frightened, ashamed and don't know where to turn for help.

Burke suffered a few bruises during filming. Although she wasn't afraid of doing the fight scenes, the actor said she needed some help from her stuntwoman.

Burke said it's fun to do as much physical action as you dare because "the kid in you will come out."

Fans have responded not just to Burke's Southern belle Suzanne Sugarbaker on the CBS sitcom Designing Women, but also to her real-life vulnerability. She's battled low self-esteem, diabetes, panic attacks, weight gain and depression.

Burke and her husband, actor Gerald McRaney, live in Los Angeles with several dogs and a cockatoo named Lily. Burke said she's not as ambitious as she once was and marvels at those who believe they can do it all.

"I don't know how actresses do it," she said. "It's all I can do to do what I do, with just my dogs and a bird and a husband that's there for me and loves me."

_ Times wires