A prolific and legendary TV show producer, writer, and creator has died. Stephen J. Cannell passed away in Los Angeles last night from complications associated with melanoma. He was just 69 years old.
Cannell grew up in Pasadena, California, and was raised by parents who owned a chain of furniture stores. Despite struggling with dyslexia, he graduated from the University of Oregon in 1964 with a degree in journalism. He worked in the family business for four years after college, until he sold a script to Universal Studios for the It Takes a Thief series. It was the beginning of a very long association with the studio.
Soonafter, he was writing for shows like Ironside and Columbo and became a story editor Adam-12 in its fourth season. He went on to create or co-create more than 30 TV series, script more than 450 episodes, and produce or executive produce more than 1,500 hours of television.