(Featured photo is of Bob Young on the set of “Poms.” Courtesy photo)
One of the newer members of the Screen Actors Guild recently worked on a film project in Walterboro, S.C.
Former Augusta Mayor and newscaster Bob Young plays a lawyer in a film called The Eighth Round which was shot in April at the same courthouse where the Alex Murdaugh trial played out.
The book is based on Zeke Wilson’s precedent-setting case against the Massachusetts Boxing Commission. Wilson, who is African American, argued that the boxing commission racially discriminated against him. the head of the commission was also African American.
“A judge ruled that the state of Massachusetts did discriminate. The promoter wrote a book based on that case – The Eighth Round,” said Young. “I play the attorney who defends the boxing commission.”
The case happened in 2000. Wilson, a native of Frogmore, S.C., was a champion boxer in the Marine Corps and after leaving the military, he became a promoter. In other news reports, Wilson said that no one wanted to touch his case, so he represented himself and won.
While he hasn’t always been an actor, Young has followed a career path that often revolved around a camera.
The Thomson native was first introduced to broadcasting while in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. In the late 1960s, he served at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado, where he worked on training films.
From 1969 to 1971, he was in Vietnam where he became part of the Armed Forces Vietnam Network.
He worked for WBBQ radio before becoming a television journalist and anchoring for WJBF-TV, the ABC affiliate. His experience in Vietnam earned him a role behind the scenes of the ABC drama China Beach about a medical team in Vietnam.
“I was a consultant to the show. I gave them general information about the environment and equipment used,” he said.
They decided to create a character who did Young’s military job and called on Young for more information. He was interviewed about his time in the AFVN for an episode called Souvenirs that aired in 1990. That episode won an Emmy and a Peabody Award.
“My first big Hollywood contract was with Warner Brothers for China Beach,” he said.
He continued at WJBF until his mayoral run. He served as mayor of Augusta from 1999-2005 and resigned when President George W. Bush tapped him to serve as the regional director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Regional Development in Atlanta.
As mayor, Young and Barry White, who was then head of the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau, flew out to California to find out more about bringing the film industry to Augusta. That was years before Atlanta gained a foothold.
Augusta was lacking in a couple of areas — a skilled technical workforce and a soundstage. Young said the idea was shelved.
After the HUD post ended, Young looked for a way to fill his time and found his way back to the camera.
“I saw a posting about a film in Crawfordville called Get Low,” he said.
According to IMDB.com, Get Low, a 2009 film which starred Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Robert Duval is “a movie spun out of equal parks folk tale, fable and real-life legend about the mysterious 1930s Tennessee hermit who famously threw his own rollicking funeral party…while he was still alive.”
Young was a background actor and worked on the film for five days.
Over the years, he’s added other credits to his resume taking part in films such as The Blindside, Agent Game, Poms, Southern Gospel and The Other Side of Me.
Poms with Diane Keaton was a favorite of his. He was one of the poker players in Keaton’s kitchen.
“We had the most fun playing poker. Nobody knew how to play,” he said. “It was a quick scene, but it was a lot of fun.”
Young appears in a few film projects a year.
The author of multiple novels, Young said there’s the possibility that one of them will be made into a feature film.
“Christopher Forbes bought rights to The Treasure Train. We signed the paperwork about a year ago. He said he wanted to cast it with as much local talent as possible.”
Young said filming on that could begin this summer.
Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at email@example.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.
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