John Sacret Young

John Sacret Young


John Sacret Young began his television work on the Emmy winning Best Drama series Police Story, and has since created, written, or Executive Produced six additional series and multiple pilots, mini-series and movies of the week.

He co-created with William Broyles, Jr., wrote, and executive produced the ground-breaking series China Beach. For his work on the show, John received five Emmy and four Writer’s Guild Award nominations. The WGA honored him with the Award for an episode he also directed.

The West Wing brought him two more Emmy and two more WGA nominations.

In total, Young has been nominated for seven Emmys and seven Writers Guild of America Awards.

John won his second WGA Award for the mini-series, A Rumor of War.

He’s also written and produced feature films and has been honored with two Christopher Awards for the Academy Award nominated Testament starring Jane Alexander and Kevin Costner, and the film Romero with Raul Julia and Richard Jordan.

Several times nominated, Young’s the holder as well of a Golden Globe, a Peabody Award, and John’s original mini-series about the Gulf War, Thanks of a Grateful Nation, was honored with his fifth HUMANITAS Prize nomination as a writer and second win. As a producer he has four additional HUMANITAS awards.

Young’s book, Remains: Non-Viewable was a Los Angeles Times best seller.

Elmore Leonard said of it: “Young writes so well his memoir works as a novel. He brings to life real people in dramatic situations, with indelible grace and the restless energy of emotions that even the passage of time cannot quell.” Scott Turow wrote, “…a compelling portrait of many worlds—Yankee New England, Vietnam and Hollywood—and of high adventures, antic moments, and the cycles of love and grief. Every page is wrought with indelible grace and the restless energy of emotions that even the passage of time cannot quell.” The LA Times’ Susan Salter Reynolds said, “Every family should be blessed by a historian as compassionate and wise as JSY.” And, Steve Weinberg from The San Francisco Chronicle told his readers, “Like the rest of the memoir, the title is poignant, subtle and brilliant…. Want to study compelling prose? Read Young. Almost every sentence is perfectly crafted…. This book contains something for just about any thinking reader.”

In reviewing John’s first novel The Weather Tomorrow, The New Yorker called him “a writer of effortless dexterity and a true, unaffected originality . . . The story he tells cuts right to the bone.” Newsweek’s Jean Strouse heralded it, “…an exceptionally fine first novel.” Art Seidenbaum of the Los Angeles Times said, “This is serious, touching, original fiction.” And The Los Angeles Herald Examiner’s Digby Diehl proclaimed, “A brilliant debut by an L.A. novelist. Young is the first new voice in decades that might be compared to the young William Faulkner…What a rarity to discover a new Los Angeles writer whose control of language is precise and confident, whose sentences sparkle and glide and zoom.”

Young has lectured at USC, UC Santa Barbara, the Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton Presidential Libraries, and taught at Princeton University. He has contributed pieces to the book Doing It for the Money, Written By magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. As well he has written extensively about American art.

He is on the board of the Firestone Library at Princeton, HUMANITAS, and the Writers Guild Foundation.


  • Generations (Writer, Executive Producer, Director, 2010)
  • Quarterlife (Director, 2008)
  • The West Wing (Writer, Producer: 2004 – 2006)
  • Deceit (Writer, Executive Producer, Director, 2005)
  • King of the World (Writer, Director, Executive Producer: 2000) - Adapted from David Remnick’s acclaimed New Yorker article, "King of the World," examines the life of Cassius Clay, the man the world came to know and honor as Muhammad Ali.
  • Sirens (Writer, Director, Executive Producer: 1999) - A couple of cops assume a white woman, making out with a black man, is being raped and shoot to kill. The woman sets out to bring the cops to justice, but it’s her word against theirs.
  • Thanks of a Grateful Nation (Writer, Executive Producer: 1998) - As thousands of Desert Storm vets develop medical problems, they discover the military has something to hide. Groups of servicemen and women, as well as members of Congress, join forces to uncover the truth.
  • Keys (Writer, Director, Executive Producer: 1994) - Police investigate the random murder/assault/child kidnapping of a seemingly average family. Marg Helgenberger, pre-CSI, seeks clues to the motive behind the crime and the whereabouts of the missing child. At the same time she is haunted by her own similar tragedy.
  • A Rumor of War (Writer: 1980) - Adapted from Phillip Caputo’s best-selling memoirs, the award-winning film examines the tragic loss of innocence when a young Marine Lieutenant is brought up on charges for giving an order, which led to the death of several Vietnamese civilians. Found innocent, but in many respects he believed of himself and maybe of the war itself that he was legally innocent but morally guilty.
  • China Beach (Co-Creator, Writer, Director, Executive Producer: 1988 –1991)

Other Credits:

  • Orleans (Co-creator, executive producer, writer, director) starring Larry Hagman.
  • Level 9 (Co-created by Michael Connelly, executive producer, writer, director)
  • VR 5 (Executive producer, writer, director)
  • Fire on the Mountain, MOW from a book by Edward Abbey (Writer, producer) starring Buddy Ebsen and Ron Howard
  • Champions: A Love Story, a GE Theater Presentation (Writer, producer)
  • Special Olympics (MOW, writer, also a book)
  • Police Story (Writer)
  • The Fitzpatricks (Creator, Writer, Executive Consultant)
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