Glen A. Larson, creator of some of prime-time television’s biggest hits in the ’70s and ’80s, including Knight Rider, Magnum P.I. and Battlestar Galactica, has died at the age 77. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the prolific writer-producer passed away on Friday from esophageal cancer at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica.
Two of Larson’s most memorable, enduring shows include Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff, and Magnum P.I., starring Tom Selleck. The crime-fighting adventures of Michael Knight and his super-smart car KITT ran for 86 episodes, from ’82-’86. Selleck’s Hawaiian-based private investigator Magnum lasted 158 episodes over eight seasons from ’80-’88.
Battlestar Galactica lasted a single season when it aired in 1978, followed by the sequel Galactica 1980, but maintained a devoted fanbase. The series was rebooted in 2004 under Ronald D. Moore, where it earned critical acclaim and a series of spinoffs. In April, Variety reported that Larson would produce a new big-screen version of BSG for Universal.
Larson also helped create Alias Smith & Jones, B.J. and The Bear, Manimal and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, and co-developed Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Larson was also a member of the ’50s pop quartet The Four Preps, and would go on to compose many of the theme songs for his shows. THR notes that after ABC originally passed on The Six Million Dollar Man, Larson rewrote it as two 90-minute telefilms that the network then greenlit. The series, starring Lee Majors as ex-astronaut Steve Austin, armed with bionic enhancements, ran from 1974 to 1978.
Larson was also in the news in 2011, after suing Universal for millions in unpaid profits.
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