Stephen J. Cannell Died (1941 – 2010)

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