'Battlestar Galactica' Star Richard Hatch Dead at 71

Actor played Captain Apollo in 1978 original, Tom Zarek in lauded mid-2000s reboot

Richard Hatch, the actor and writer best known for his work on the original 'Battlestar Galactica' and the mid-2000s reboot, has died. Credit: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty

Richard Hatch, the actor and writer best known for his work on the original Battlestar Galactica and the mid-2000s reboot, died Tuesday, Variety reports. He was 71.

"I will always remember him fondly for his inspiring sense of youthful wonder, his boundless passion for creative expression, and his huge, kind heart," Hatch's manager, Michael Kaliski, said.

Hatch was reportedly battling stage four pancreatic cancer, according to Alec Peters, the writer and producer of Axanar, a series of Star Trek fan films that starred Hatch. "Richard was in good spirits when I visited him two weeks ago," Peters wrote on Facebook. "He knew his time was short, but was comforted by the fact that his son would be taken care of."

Early in his career, Hatch worked as a character actor on a variety of television shows ranging from soap operas like All My Children to primetime hits like Hawaii Five-O and The Waltons. In 1976, he scored his first major TV role on the final season of the crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco, replacing Michael Douglas.

Two years later, he earned his career-defining role as the spacefighter pilot Captain Apollo on the original run of Battlestar Galactica. Though the show swiftly attracted a fervent fan base, it was canceled after just one season. Nevertheless, Hatch garnered a Golden Globe nomination for his work on the show.

Over the next several decades, Hatch appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, but remained committed to Battlestar Galactica. In the late Nineties he began writing a series of novels and created a pilot film for a reboot that failed to get picked up. However, after Ronald D. Moore successfully revived the series in 2003, he tapped Hatch for a recurring role as Tom Zarek, a terrorist-turned-politician.

On his website, Hatch reflected on his time in the original Battlestar Galactica, calling the show "a milestone." He continued, "It afforded me the opportunity to live out my childhood dreams and fantasies. Hurtling through space with reckless abandon, playing the dashing hero, battling Cylons, monsters and super-villains – what more could a man want?"