Stephen J. Cannell: 1941 - 2010
Stephen J. Cannell passed away yesterday, due to complications from melanoma. He was 69. He was also one kick-ass television writer and creator. If you grew up in the 1970s or 1980s, the prolific work of Cannell was unavoidable.
He got his start in the late 60s, writing for shows like "Colombo," and "Ironsides." He developed his first series in 1974, "The Rockford Files," and after that, he essentially supplied the networks with their primetime programming, creating or co-creating 40 shows, including "The A-Team," "The Greatest American Hero," "Hardcastle and McCormick," "Renegade," and "Wiseguy." He even dabbled in acting, in shows like "Magnum P.I.," and, most recently, "Castle." He did it all despite having dyslexia.
He created shows for a very specific period in American culture. Few of his programs would hold up well in 2010, but he also had a knack for creating shows with iconic theme songs, which probably will continue to live on for centuries. In honor of his extraordinary television life -- he wrote upwards of 450 hours of television during his career -- I leave you with the three best theme songs from his television shows.
Rest in peace, Mr. Cannell.