RENOWNED television writer-producer Glen Larson, whose works include “Magnum, P.I.” and “Battlestar Galactica,” has died of cancer at age 77, the Hollywood Reporter said Saturday.
The famed television titan died at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, of esophageal cancer late Friday, his son James told the entertainment insider magazine.
Larson wrote and produced the television series “It Takes a Thief,” starring Robert Wagner, “McCloud,” “Quincy, M.E.” and “Knight Rider,” featuring David Hasselhoff as a crime fighting hero with a superpowered Pontiac.
But Larson is perhaps best known for the 1980-1988 “Magnum, P.I.” starring a mustachioed Tom Selleck as a private investigator in Hawaii.
The original “Battlestar Galactica” was on air for only one season before it was cancelLed in 1979, and became a cult hit among loyal fans in the 2000s after the series was remade.
In a 2009 interview with the Archive of American Television, Larson said his popularity was not accidental. Instead, he tailored his work for an audience whose tastes he tried to predict.
“I fell in step with an audience taste-level that I knew how to judge and deliver for consistently,” he said.
While Larson enjoyed popularity and a loyal following, he did not see as much critical success.
Though nominated for three Primetime Emmy awards, he never took home a statue for his work.
Larson said he had no regrets about his failure to win awards, and was satisfied with having pleased audiences during his lengthy television career.
“What we weren’t going to do was win a shelf full of Emmys… ours were not the kind of shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think we brought a lot of entertainment into the living room.”
Critics accused him of copying other series in his own shows, most notably with “Battlestar” which was thought to be based on “Star Wars,” a claim Larson dismissed.
“Television networks are a lot like automobile manufacturers, or anyone else who’s in commerce. If something out there catches on with the public… I guess you can call it ‘market research’,” he said.
Born in Long Beach, California, Larson started out his career in the television business as an NBC page, following a stint as a singer with the pop group The Four Preps in the 1950s.
Larson is also behind series such as “Alias Smith and Jones,” “B.J. and the Bear” and “Switch”.
He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985.
He is survived by his wife Jeannie and nine children from previous marriages.
A memorial service will be held in the near future, his son said.