"Rockford Files" and "A-Team" creator Stephen J. Cannell has died of complications from melanoma. He was 69.
In a career that spanned three decades, Cannell also co-created "21 Jump Street," "Silk Stalkings," "The Commish" and "The Greatest American Hero." He was best known for crafting pyrotechnic-heavy action shows that mixed in a healthy dose of quips and banter.
When "A-Team" was made into a big-budget movie earlier this year, Cannell served as a producer and creative consultant.
"With profound sadness, we have to announce that our dear friend and colleague, Stephen Cannell, has lost a brave fight against cancer," a statement on Cannell's official website read. "Through the legacy of his body of work, with which he was able to entertain and enrich the lives of millions of viewers and thousands of readers, he will always be with us, living on in our hearts and minds, with fond memories forever."
Cannell broke into television as a writer on "Columbo" and "Ironside." In addition to his producing credits, He went on to write 16 novels and acted in television shows such as ABC's "Castle." Among the novels were several detective stories in a series featuring Los Angeles Police Officer Shane Scully.
But it was behind the camera that Cannell made his most lasting impact. By his own estimation, he created 40 series, wrote more than 450 episodes and produced or executive produced over 1,500 episodes. His office was based on the Paramount lot, but the bulk of his shows were distributed by Universal.
The logo for Cannell's production company featured the producer smoking a pipe while typing away on a script — an image that was parodied on "The Simpsons."
Cannell is survived by his wife Marcia; daughters, Tawnia and Chelsea; and a son, Cody. Another son Derek, died in 1981, when a sand castle he was building collapsed and suffocated him.