It came as surprising news on Friday to hear that writer-producer-actor, Stephen J. Cannell had passed away at the age of 62, after a battle with cancer.
Cannell had recently been making some cameo appearances on ABC’s hit drama, “Castle” with Nathon Fallan real life mystery writer’s James Patterson and Michael Connelly as Castle’s poker buddies in several episodes of the show.
Cannell is best known for several hit television show’s during the 1970’s and ’80’s. He casted actor Jame Garner as “Jim Rockford” in the “Rockford Files” in the early 1970’s. I remember watching the “Rockford Files” on weekends and enjoying a good quality private eye show that made television view more pleasurable than some shows created on other networks.
Cannell was also responsible for such hits shows has, “Riptide”, “The-A-Team”, “Hunter”, “Barreta” with Robert Blake, “Hardcastle and McCormick”, “The Greatest American Hero” with William Kat and a host of other fan favorites, that still continue to show on cable or network television in reruns. Cannell was most known for his trademark at the end of each show at the ending credits in his office ripping out a sheet of paper from his IBM Selectric typewriter as his trademark.
Cannell not only wrote television but also made cameo appearances on current or past network shows still in production. When not writing television he wrote the “Greatest American Novel” with his “Shane Scully” mystery novels not writing television.
Cannell’s career started at the University of Oregon and continued with success in Hollywood, Cannell is reportedly to be alumus’ with George Lucus and Stephen Spielberg at the UO, according to reports I’ve heard over the years about the trio.
With Cannell’s demise from Hollywood his work will be missed greatly as many Hollywood icons are aging into the day’s where retirements are calling and a new breed of Hollywood entertainers come to life in the next century. The sounds of Cannell’s typewriter and the paper falling to the floor will probably make his office a little more ghostly, but – Stephen J. Cannell is a legend of his way and will always be apart of the Hollywood legends in good standing.