It all began with a column titled Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young, written by Mary Schmich and published in the Chicago Tribuneon June 1, 1997. Posted on the Web, Schmich's column quickly became an international sensation. Friends e-mailed it to friends, the media picked up on it, and a star was born. There was only one problem: Everyone thought the column was an actual commencement address given by author Kurt Vonnegut. Eventually, Mary Schmich was correctly identified as the author. AMP published her advice as a gift book in 1998. The following year, Wear Sunscreen became a hit song fo Baz Luhrmann.
Mary Schmich lives in Chicago and is a columnist at the Chicago Tribune. She also writes the comic strip Brenda Starr.