The Way of the Word

2. October 2010

RIP Stephen J. Cannell

Filed under: books,Commentary,general,movies,RIP,TV,Uncategorized,writing — jensaltmann @ 08:48
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Stephen J. Cannell (born February 5, 1941) lost his battle against cancer on September 30, 2010. He was 69 years old.

To say that this came as a shock to me is something of an understatement; I followed him on Twitter and enjoyed his tweets, so you could say that there was a connection in the widest possible sense.

The first battle he won was the battle against dyslexia — ironic, considering that he later graduated with a bachelor of science in journalism, and became one of the most successful TV writers. The first script he sold was to Robert Wagner’s TV series It Takes a Thief, and went on to freelance for crime shows like Columbo and Ironsides.

While he was also a prolific novelist, with the 10 volume Shane Scully series of mysteries, and another 7 thrillers under his belt, he will probably be remembered most for the the approximately 40 TV shows he had a hand in creating. Among these are genre classics like The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, 21 Jump Street, Hunter, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, Wiseguy, and of course The A-Team.

Stephen J. Cannell was responsible for a lot of what entertained me in the 1980s and early 1990s. His was one of three names in that period that, when I saw it in the credits of a TV show, guaranteed that what I was about to see would entertain me.

We have lost a terrific writer. I for one am very grateful for the uncounted hours of entertainment he gave me. He will be sorely missed.


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