Legendary TV creator Glen A. Larson, the writer-producer behind such hit shows as Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Automan, Magnum, P.I., Knight Rider, Alias Smith & Jones, The Highwayman, and Quincy M.E. died on Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 77.
His son James told the LAT that Larson passed away of complications from esophageal cancer Friday night at UCLA Medical Center.
Larson had a string of TV hits in the 1970s and 80s, and dozens of writing and producing credits to his name. He created his first show, Alias Smith and Jones, in 1971, but left the ABC Western right after star Peter Duel committed suicide.
Larson also co-conceived Quincy M.E. with Lou Shaw. The NBC forensic drama starring Jack Klugman had an impressive eight-season run from 1976-83.
He created “Battlestar Galactica” a few years later. Although the series only lasted a single season (ABC cut the cord in 1979 after two dozen episodes partly because of its hefty production cost), it spawned a series of spinoffs. It was followed by a short-run sequel called “Galactica” then re-imagined as a three-hour miniseries by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick in 2003. The miniseries led to a regular TV show that aired until 2009, and has become a cult classic since.
Aside from “Battlestar,” reboots of his other shows, including “Knight Rider,” “Manimal,” “Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Fall Guy,” have been shopped around as films in recent years.
Larson moved on to CBS for his next massive undertaking, “Magnum, P.I.” He created the show with Donald Bellisario, with whom he had already worked with on “Quincy M.E.” and “Battlestar Galactica.” The procedural starring Tom Selleck as a suave private investigator in Hawaii aired for eight seasons from 1980-88.
Larson also wrote and exec produced “Knight Rider” (1982-86), starring David Hasselhoff, and “McCloud” for NBC. The latter earned him two of his three Emmy noms. He was also responsible for ABC’s “Fall Guy” (1981-86), “It Takes a Thief” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
More recently, Larson, who was also a singer, reunited with his 50s pop group The Four Preps in 2004 for a PBS special.
He’s survived by his wife Jeannie, brother Kenneth, former wives Carol Gourley and Janet Curtis, and nine children: James, Kimberly, Christopher, Glen, Michelle, David, Caroline, Danielle and Nicole.