Stephen J. Cannell, one of the great creative minds in '70s-'80s television, has passed away at the age of 69.
Cannell was the man behind several TV classics, including THE ROCKFORD FILES, THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO, and BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP, aka THE BLACK SHEEP SQUADRON. (He also created the mindless A-TEAM, but we won't go there...)
Cannell first worked in his family's furniture and home decor business, Cannell & Chafin. As a child I remember going with my parents to shop in the Cannell & Chafin store in Los Angeles. It was a remarkable store which impressed me even at a young age.
Cannell's earliest TV jobs included writing for ADAM-12 (more on that here) and IT TAKES A THIEF.
In recent years Cannell became a prolific novelist; his next book is due out October 12th.
A number of years ago I attended a wonderful evening honoring Roy Huggins and THE ROCKFORD FILES in Los Angeles, with Cannell and James Garner in attendance.
The L.A. Times links to a great YouTube video of Cannell Productions logos over the years, which all featured Cannell typing on his trusty Selectric.
An announcement has been posted on Cannell's personal website. Condolences may be posted on his Facebook page.
Stephen J. Cannell, a true TV legend, gone too soon.
Saturday Update: The L.A. Times has now published a complete obituary.