Creator of ’21 Jump Street,’ ‘Rockford Files,’ ‘Wiseguy,’ ‘A-Team,’ ‘Baretta’ and Dozens of Other TV Shows Dead at 69

Oct 1, 2010  •  Post A Comment

One of the most successful television writer/producers in the business, who created or co-created almost 40 TV shows, has died of complications from melanoma, the AP reports.

Stephen J. Cannell died Thursday at his home in Pasadena.

Cannell was the creator of "The Rockford Files," "The A Team," "Wiseguy" and "The Commish," among other hit programs. He was also behind “Baretta,” “The Greatest American Hero,” “Hardcastle and McCormick” and “21 Jump Street.”

In addition to his TV work, Cannell was also a novelist.

He leaves behind his wife of 46 years, Marcia, three children and three grandchildren.


  1. Very sad day. He was a great man, great boss. He will be missed.

  2. One of the few producers who took the time to know his employees names. A very talented and nice guy.

  3. I remember working on a show of his many years ago. It was a nice job.
    Never met him although he was on the set one of two days.

  4. Stephen was a true gentlemen and talented writer.

  5. He was the first producer I ever met in town (as the supervising producer on Rockford) and his kindness, talent and great sense of humor was the gold standard for how powerful people should behave in our business. He loved writers most of all and went out of his way to show respect for everyone that he worked with. He enjoyed his success, but never lost his that creative spark and when
    he was done with the tv business easily transitioned to equal success as a novelist. He wrote great characters and more importantly had great character.

  6. I met Stephen a couple of years ago when he came through town (Sacramento) for a radio tour for his newest (at the time) book. I was walking outside to my car at the end of the day, noticed him getting out of a car and said to him “Do you know who you look like?” He said, “Who?” I said “Stephen J. Cannell.” He said, “That’s Me.” I was so excited to meet him, and he offered and signed a copy of his book for me. I was giddy all the way home since I knew I was the only radio salesperson at my company who knew the magnitude of what this man had done not only for the television industry, but to help me as a TV/entertainment junkie. What an incredible loss, but to his family, what an incredible “thank you” for sharing this giant with us. My thoughts & prayers are with you, and I’m sure Aaron Spelling and Stephen J. Cannell are planning Heaven’s newest TV season right now. Chances are good that Stephen’s show will last longer!

  7. He was one of the great ones! Stephen will truly be missed!!

  8. Thank God we have a common interest, thank you for sharing, you’re a good author. Hope to see more of your articles. Juno sincere.

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