Stephen J. Cannell Died (1941 – 2010)

October 4th, 2010 // 20 Comments
Stephen J. Canell RIP

My initial plan was to hit the gossip running. This needed to happen first.

The creative force behind everything awesome in the 80s – and the epic Lorenzo Lamas vehicle Renegade – Stephen J. Cannell died Thursday after a battle with melanoma, according to the LA Times:

“Aside from being a legendary television producer and prolific writer, Stephen was also a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather, and a loyal friend. Mr. Cannell is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 46 years, Marcia, their three children, Tawnia, Chelsea and Cody and three grandchildren. Stephen was a pillar of strength within his family and he touched everyone he met. He will be most deeply missed.”
Cannell, who famously wrote scripts on an old IBM Selectric typewriter, told Success magazine recently that he’d been getting up at 4 a.m. for 40 years to write and that he never tired of the process, even though he’d battled dyslexia as a youngster. (He employed what he called “a mop and pail crew” to clean up his prose.)

For those of you unfamiliar with the name, perhaps these shows will jog your memory:

21 Jump Street
The Greatest American Hero
The Rockford Files
Silk Stalkings

And those were just some of the series he created, not to mention the numerous ones he wrote for including Mission: Impossible. If they bury this guy under a tree, it’ll decompose into to no less than twenty pilots, half of which will be better than CSI: Wherever the Fuck.

Rest in Peace, Stephen.

Photo: Los Angeles Times


  1. Kady

    How sad…..I hate that people like this have to die and Lindsay Lohan is still running around out there.

    • Lindsay Lohan will die sooner or later, just like the rest of us. However, the difference between her dying and Mr. Cannell dying is that no one will have a nice thing to say about her. Even her parents will be too busy blaming and suing the courts/rehab centers/each other to make time to write a kind obituary for her.

  2. Nicely written Fish.

  3. Mike Walker

    Never watched much TV like that but Wiseguy was one of my favorites, the first season notably. A great cast with Ray Sharkey, Kevin Spacey and the much missed Ken Wahl.

  4. v-tard

    Huge nostalgia bomb from that YouTube video.

    Thank you Mr Cannell, for all the cheesy goodness of A-Team.

    Odd…IMDB says he never did a single episode of Murder, She Wrote. COuld have sworn he did…

    Does anybody else LOATHE the new IMDB look? They did fucking “Facebook reboot” on us.

  5. Ash Bones

    Silk Stalkings was great.

  6. captain america

    I hated it when people called him an alcoholic & drug-addict!!

  7. A true talent and a credit to his profession…. he will be missed.

  8. Old Guy

    Fish, glad you were around to write the eulogy for my childhood.

  9. Nancy Pelosi

    THis guy was 80′s TV. From GAH to the A-Team this was a talented guy who gave the people what they wanted. I wish we had more good TV where every week there was a new story line. The way storyline TV shows are written today you need to be a “fan” of the show to get into it. This guy wrote in a style where you could tune in randomly and still enjoy the show.

    RIP Mr. Cannell. When you see George Peppard tell him, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Also ask him if he nailed Hepburn.

  10. Elroy

    He was hung like a horse, but usedhis power wisely. Stay thirsty my friend

  11. I am a huge fan of his work. In his bio it states that he lost a son to a freak sandcastle accident, that is just fucked up. RIP Stephen.

  12. Righty Whitey

    Silk Stalkings was perhaps the best show on cable television ever. Nothing like good ol’ hot tit’s and ass and an interesting storyline. If that complete joke rubbish of a show 30 Crock wins awards, Silk Stalkings should’ve won about 100 or so during it’s airing. RIP dude.

  13. nooooooooo

    Seriously, nooooooooooo I loved watching him drop input on Castle and even appear on the show. :/ guy was a mastermind of evening television for my lifetime.

  14. Tony Foxtrot

    Not surprised it was Melanoma, judging from his pumpkin skin.

  15. 21 Jump Street
    The Greatest American Hero
    The Rockford Files
    Silk Stalkings

    Great Shows???? the A-Team was POPULAR but hardly great. The Rockford Files was alright, but the rest?

    Ok he died, that’s too bad, we all eventually will. Great? If that’s great, then Aaron Spelling is going to be made into a Demi-God for the Shmaltz Dramas he created???? Ick … great, a word overused wayyyyyy too much in Hollywood.

  16. Miss Sophisticate

    RIP A Classy gentleman who created classics

  17. Brooke

    The A-Team AND 21 Jump Street? Oh man, this guy crafted my childhood! Sort of. Now whenever I see his ending tag on old reruns I will respectfully bow my head. Rest in peace, man.

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