LOS ANGELES – Stephen J. Cannell, the prolific television writer and producer who co-created “The Rockford Files” and “The A-Team” and later became a best-selling novelist, has died. He was 69.
Cannell died Thursday evening of complications associated with melanoma at his home in Pasadena.
In a career that began in the late 1960s when he sold his first TV script, Cannell created or co-created more than 40 TV shows, including “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” “Baretta,” “The Greatest American Hero” and “21 Jump Street.”
Cannell wrote more than 450 TV episodes and produced or executive-produced more than 1,500 episodes.
In 1978, Cannell shared an Emmy Award for outstanding drama series for “The Rockford Files.”
Cannell’s prolific output as a writer came despite having the reading disorder dyslexia.
A turning point came for him while he was a student at the University of Oregon in the early ’60s and a creative writing teacher took him aside.
“He said, ‘Look, it doesn’t matter at all to me whether you can spell or not. As long as I can read it, that’s all I require,’ ” Cannell recalled in a 1999 interview. “The feedback I got was so encouraging.”
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