Glen A. Larson, creator of TV’s Quincy M.E., Magnum, P.I. and Battlestar Galactica, has passed away. He was 77.
Larson died Friday night of esophageal cancer at UCLA Medical Center, his son told The Hollywood Reporter.
Larson started out as a musician, serving as one of the Four Preps in the 1950s. After making the move to television, he served as a writer on a number of popular series including The Fugitive and It Takes a Thief.
It wasn't long before he got into the genre storytelling business, penning an alternate pilot for The Six Million Dollar Man after executives passed on the show's first draft.
In 1978, Battlestar Galactica aired, and was one of the most popular new shows on TV. Despite that, then-astronomical production costs prevented the series from being picked up. Nevertheless, there would be a pair of TV movies between 1978 and 1980, followed by a ten-episode Galactica 1980 series.
Larson was known for taking advantage of what was "hot" at the moment, with Battlestar coming on the heels of Star Wars (John Dykstra, who worked on Star Wars, oversaw its special effects), Alias Smith and Jones coming on the heels of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and more. It proved controversial, but effective. Fox actually sued Battlestar studio Universal for infringing on Star Wars copyrights but lost the suit.
Battlestar Galactica was the object of one of the most successful television remakes of all time, while Knight Rider and The Six Million Dollar Man never got off the ground.
Throughout his career, his work was more enjoyed by the public than adored by critics -- but Larson won three Emmy nominations, two for producing McCloud and one (for outstanding drama) for Quincy.