Firefly Lane Producer John Sacret Young Dies at 75

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The Emmy-nominated writer and producer John Sacret Young, who co-created the Vietnam War drama China Beach, has died. CAA confirmed Thursday that the writer-producer, who previously worked on programs like The West Wing and Firefly Lane, died in Los Angeles after a 10-month fight with brain cancer. He was 75 years old at the time. 

Over the course of his career, Young received seven Emmy nominations, two Writers Guild Awards, and two Humanitas Prizes. He was renowned for mentoring young authors and crewmen on his series, including future Emmy recipients and nominees such as John Wells, Carol Flint, Lydia Woodward, Paris Qualles, and Ann Donahue among the China Beach writers room.

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“John was my mentor and my friend. He was an exceptionally gifted writer who was generous with his time, thoughtful, wickedly funny, patient and tough,” Wells stated in his comment. “He cared deeply about writing, about words and craft. He set the bar high and expected you to clear it. He took a chance on a young and inexperienced writer and I will be forever grateful for his giving me that chance.” 

Young also penned novels such as Remains: Non-Viewable, a memoir on his cousin’s death in Vietnam, The Weather Tomorrow, and Pieces of Glass — An Artoir, in addition to cinema and television. Pieces of Tinsel, his final book on his time in Hollywood, is planned to be released in 2022. 

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Young received two Emmy nominations for his work on Wells’ The West Wing, as well as for his work on the TV shows VR.5, Thanks of a Grateful Nation, and Keys later in his professional life. Young most recently worked on the Netflix blockbuster Firefly Lane as a writer and co-executive producer. 

He is survived by his wife Claudia Sloan, his brother Mason and his wife Beth Gragg, four kids, and three grandkids.

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