Glen A. Larson, the television writer-producer who created Battlestar Galactica, among many other hits series, died on Friday at the age of 77. Larson’s son told The Hollywood Reporter that he died of esophageal cancer at UCLA Medical Center.
Larson’s incredibly fruitful television career came after a stint in the 1950s pop group the Four Preps. After working as a story editor and producer on It Takes a Thief, he created his first show with the western Alias Smith and Jones, followed by The Six Million Dollar Man. In 1976, Larson introduced Quincy, M.E., the crime drama about a medical examiner, played by Jack Klugman, that is seen as a precursor to popular forensic dramas like C.S.I..
Battlestar Galactica, with its enormous budget of over $1 million per episode, ran on ABC in 1978 and 1979. Although it was canceled after a single 24-episode season, the series would prove massively influential, spawning the follow-up Glactica 1980 as well as Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and later, more successful reboots of Battlestar. (Although Larson was not involved in the 2004 Sci-Fi Channel remake of Battlestar Galactica, he was credited as a consulting producer.)
Larson found more lasting success with Magnum, P.I., the Tom Selleck-starring detective show that ran from 1980 to1988. In 1982, he paired David Hasselhoff with a talking Trans-Am for Knight Rider, which lasted four seasons. Larson’s other hits include B.J. and the Bear, The Fall Guy, Manimal and In Like Flynn.
In 2004, Larson reunited with the Four Preps for a PBS special. He is survived by his wife, Jeannie, his brother Kenneth and his nine children.