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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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