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Posted at 3:18 PM ET, 10/ 1/2010

'A-Team' creator Stephen J. Cannell dead

By Liz Kelly

Stephen J. Cannell in 2006. (AP)

Could this week get any deathier?

Stephen J. Cannell -- creator of juggernaut TV shows, from "The A-Team" to "21 Jump Street" -- has died of complications from melanoma, becoming only the latest in a series of high profile deaths this week, including actor Tony Curtis, comedian Greg Giraldo, director Arthur Penn and actress Gloria Stuart.

Cannell started out as a writer on "Columbo" and "Adam-12" before evolving into a producer. He created (according to Wikipedia) nearly 40 television series with credits including "The Rockford Files," the afore-mentioned "21 Jump Street" (where a guy named Johnny Depp got his start), "Wiseguy" and "The Greatest American Hero," to name just a few. He also acted, and most recently appeared as himself on "Castle" as one of Castle's poker buddies (along with writers James Patterson and Michael Connelly).

In addition to his TV credits, Cannell also penned 14 detective novels.

He will be missed.

Source: The Associated Press

By Liz Kelly  | October 1, 2010; 3:18 PM ET
Categories:  TV  
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Comments

I'd have cited "The Rockford Files" in the title of the post, not "The A-Team."

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | October 1, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

This just sucks. I think he was involved in 90% of the tv shows of my childhood.

Living on a wing and prayer. RIP Stephen J. Cannell.

Posted by: epjd | October 1, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Rockford was a cool show. A-Team was a cynical piece of garbage. If you ever want to see an actor who is very obviously in it for the paycheck with no respect for what he is doing, watch George Peppard on any episode of the A-Team.

Posted by: mw09 | October 1, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

And Black Sheep Squadron.

I mean Robert Conrad did need another gig after the Wild, Wild West. Needed to keep up on those gym dues.

Posted by: elias_howe | October 1, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

And he was an innovator of the producer's vanity card. Before him, it was just a name-only thing. After his personalized card, everybody was doing something to show off how creative they were in imitation.

Posted by: hlabadie | October 1, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

mw09, I no longer recall the exact chronology, but for at least part of the duration of "The A-Team" Peppard was battling cancer, so yes, he needed the income/health insurance. Plus, an argument could be made that from a psychological basis he needed to work to stave off possible depression over his illness.

elias, Robert Conrad also needed to keep up his supply of batteries, since he kept knocking them onto the floor, right?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | October 1, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Believe it or not, I'm walking on air...

Posted by: MzFitz | October 1, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

And, thus-ly bring to mind that hoary greeting, "Are those a couple of "D" cells in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?"

Posted by: elias_howe | October 1, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Ernest Olson won a jury decision for copy write infringement of his satirical comedy story about three mismatched viet nam veterans coerced by govt agents into hood winking drug smugglers...nbc brandon tartikoff gave olsons registered copy write script to Cannell ..in order to develop the A Team...and create a separation from NBC involvement....olson was offered $700,000. to settle the day before the jury decision....olson won the jury decision...it was never covered by the press....federal Judge rafeedie over turned the Jury decision for olson stating that the jury did not understand the the case....olson vs NBC...ironic how cannell died, tartakoff as well...karma I suspect...opra...reassemble the jury

Posted by: observer81 | October 2, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Steven Cannell could write entertaining tales. Whether for TV, or as novels.

No, not great stuff. But wonderful stuff nonetheless.

R.I.P., you will be missed.

Posted by: bcastner | October 2, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

A memorial site was created for Stephen J. Cannell! Honor his memory by contributing to his memorial site stephenjcannell.people2remember.com/

Posted by: estael_oscora | October 4, 2010 5:16 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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