Stephen J. Cannell, one of television’s most prolific writers, passed away yesterday at the age of 69 due to complications from melanoma. If you saw an action scene on TV in the ’80s, Cannell was probably responsible for it. He created “The Rockford Files,” “21 Jump Street,” “Wiseguy,” “The Commish” “The Greatest American Hero,” “Silk Stalkings,” “The A-Team,” “Hunter,” “Baretta,” and the awesomely boilerplate-named “Hardcastle & McCormick.” Yowza.
Cannell, who famously wrote scripts on an old IBM Selectric typewriter, told Success magazine recently that he’d been getting up at 4 a.m. for 40 years to write and that he never tired of the process, even though he’d battled dyslexia as a youngster. (He employed what he called “a mop and pail crew” to clean up his prose.)
“One of my work ethic traits comes from the fact that I absolutely love what I do. I’ve never felt that writing was work,” he told the publication. “I get up every morning, and I’m not going to work, I’m going to play. I get to play cops and robbers.” [LA Times]
Holy crap, that is HARDCORE. A dyslexic becoming the most prolific writer in Hollywood is like a dude with a 4-inch dong becoming a porn star: it takes more talent and energy than most humans could ever hope to have. And that’s why he gets to look like a badass in front of a helicopter.
♪ ♫ Believe it or not, he’s resting in peace! A dyslexic who wrote TV! ♪ ♫