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As the nominees were named, Young closed her eyes and


bowed her head in nervousness. Then Jay Leno, who was presenting the award, opened the envelope, relieving Young of her anxiety. She could open her eyes. She could lift her head. “Modern Family” had won. For the fi rst time, Young accepted the award alongside her


colleagues, deliberately standing on the fringes but purposefully wearing pink so she wouldn’t be missed. “If I get up there, I’m not burying myself in the back,” Young thought, “because I may never be here again.”


Gypsy Life American opposition to the Vietnam War was intense


when Young was a student in the late ’60s. When she wasn’t chasing stories about campus protests as a student reporter, she remembers, she was chasing boys. Her freshman year was spent “goofi ng around,” because even though she was one of few women involved in student government (then referred to as student senate), her patience for the organization’s constant dawdling wore out. Young’s dedication to politics, however, wasn’t entirely set


aside. A photographer from the Eastern Echo, on assignment to shoot government events, motivated her to stay involved: Roger Bjorkdahl (BS71) was cute, Young recalls, and she was smitten with him. The feeling was mutual, it turned out. Just a few months after she was voted into student senate,


Young was hanging out with Roger and his roommates at a New Year’s Eve house party. As she often has been throughout her career, Young was at the right place at the right time with the right people. She resigned from student senate to work on the Echo with what she calls a “band of gypsies.”


“I was like, ‘Holy crap—that’s what I want to do when I get out


of school,’ thinking I’ll never make it to Hollywood, but if I can’t get into a local TV station I’m going to work at an ad agency.” Young became a staff photographer and, eventually, the


Echo’s assistant editor, a position that would present her the opportunity to design, write and take photos. Her photo pass granted her access to coverage of Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart and the 1971 Free John Now benefi t at Ann Arbor’s Crisler Arena for John Sinclair, the Ann Arbor poet imprisoned for possession of marijuana in 1969. Yoko Ono and John Lennon performed for free, and Young was front and center, clicking away. Refl ecting on the EMU extracurriculars that eventually led her


to Los Angeles, Young asserts a post-graduation realization: “My degree didn’t mean as much as working at the school paper and being in student government.” The Echo opened many doors, including one that led her to


Greg Thom (BBA71), the features editor she worked with as she neared graduation Thom encouraged Young to check out W.B Doner & Co. (now known as simply Doner), a Southfi eld-based advertising agency. Before long, she became a secretary at Doner, but Young


had her eyes on something else. After her regular offi ce hours, she’d shadow shoots, schooling herself on the fundamentals of producing commercials. Within three years, she was making her own. “I thought, ‘If I can do this in Detroit—(make) a 30-second


commercial—could I do this in California on a 30-minute TV show? I mean, it’s got to be the same thing. I had to fi nd out.’”


The Big Break Young was just 25 when she packed her bags for Hollywood


because, she says, “I didn’t want to get old and go, ‘I should’ve gone to L.A.’” Hungry for work, the Birmingham-raised Young repeatedly


posed the same question: “Am I employable here?” She was told that television and making commercials were not at all related. That didn’t stop her. Young was gung-ho. “I’ll do anything,” she insisted. “I’ll sweep your fl oor. I’ll mop


up. I’ll deliver scripts.” Employers were constantly impressed with her


resume, determination and instincts. Once Young made L.A. her permanent residence, she took on a couple of temp jobs: she ran a photocopying machine at Paramount Studios and sat in for a receptionist at Dick Clark Productions. But then she got a call. There was an opening for a typist job. The gig wasn’t glamorous, but it was on


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