Hollywood has apparently traded in the “rule of threes” in favor of a much higher multiple when it comes to celebrity deaths. Tony Curtis, Sally Menke, Greg Giraldo, Gloria Stuart… and now one more name is added to the recent list of losses.

Stephen J Cannell died yesterday at his home in Pasadena. If you don’t recognize his name then it may be because you don’t like televised fun. Because if you watched TV in the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s the odds are you’ve seen and enjoyed his work in at least one lighthearted action show. The list of TV shows he created and/or wrote episodes for is staggering… a small sampling includes recognizable series like Adam-12, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Baretta, The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, Hardcastle & McCormick, Riptide, The A-Team, Stingray, Wiseguy, and 21 Jump Street. Again, that’s just a fraction of his work.

Cannell’s writing accomplishments are that much more impressive when you take into account that he had been dyslexic since early childhood. He wrote over 450 television episodes, authored 14+ mystery novels, and most recently could be seen as one of Nathan Fillion’s poker buddies on ABC’s Castle. His energy and enthusiasm for entertaining others will be missed.


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