Stephen J. Cannell, RIP

Word is spreading that Socal native Stephen J. Cannell died last night in his Pasadena home due to complications associated with melanoma. What a shock! He was only 69.

A prolific writer and producer, Cannell created or co-created almost 40 TV series including "Baretta," "The Greatest American Hero," "Hardcastle and McCormick," "21 Jump Street," "The A-Team" and "Wiseguy.

He will be most revered for creating that quintessential Angeleno Jim Rockford of "The Rockford Files," which introduced viewers to hitherto unseen L.A. landscapes and residents. Can you imagine Sgt. Joe Friday of "Dragnet" returning home every night to his trailer in Paradise Cove, Malibu?

Cannell's shows gave so many familiar faces their first breaks: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Goldblum, Johnny Depp...

So many icons have passed away in the past ten days: Eddie Fisher, Tony Curtis, Arthur Penn, Patty Fox... It's like St. Peter wanted to close Heaven's Third Quarter books with a stellar collection of souls.

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