Stephen J. Cannell -- creator of The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, Wiseguy, The A-Team, Silk Stalkings, Profit, 21 Jump Street and Baa Baa Black Sheep, and the novelist behind the popular Shane Scully thriller series, died September 30th, 2010 at his home in California, of complications from melanoma. He was 69 years old.
Cannell was one of television's most successful independent producers of action-adventure dramas throughout the 1980s and early 1990s; at one point in the late 80s, he had 5 of his series on the air simultaneously. Cannell originally had tremendous difficulty in school, as he suffered from the reading disability dyslexia. He persevered until college, when a creative writing teacher encouraged him to continue writing despite his difficulties.
In the 1970s, he became a story editor on ADAM 12, for producer Jack Webb, and continued to write and produce series such as THE ROCKFORD FILES and BARETTA for Universal, with Roy Huggins serving as a working mentor to him. In 1979, he launched his own independent tv production company, so as to have greater creative and financial control over the series he created, and went on to tremendous success. Having been mentored successfully, he served as the mentor to many others in the industry and was always willing to share writing tips with up-and-coming writers.
Throughout the years, his personal goal was to become a best-selling novelist, and after his company got out of television production in the late 1990s, he finally got the chance to live out his dream. He is the author of over 15 bestsellers, including 9 in the Shane Scully series; a tenth is due later in October.
More information about Cannell is available at:
His official web site
and dozens of other web sites across the internet.