Prolific 1970’s/1980’s TV producer and writer Glen A. Larson has passed away at the age of 77, due to complications arising from esophageal cancer. There are some of you reading this who may not know Larson’s name, but you almost certainly know his legacy as he was the producer, creator and/or writer of several fan-favourite TV series, such as Knight Rider, Magnum P.I., Battlestar Galactica, Quincy M.E. and many more.
Larson actually began his showbiz career as a pop singer, but got his big TV break in 1969 when he scripted 17 episodes of It Takes a Thief, which starred a long time acquaintance of his in Robert Wagner. Thereafter he moved to producing and writing 1970’s crime drama McCloud for which he was nominated for two Emmys, followed up by another Emmy nomination-worthy stint on the Jack Klugman starring Quincy M.E. That would be Larson’s last dalliance with awards, but really, winning gold statues was not what Larson was about.
In a 2009 interview with the Archive of American Television about his storied career, Larson described the shows he created/ran as “enjoyable, they had a pretty decent dose of humor and they all struck a chord out there in the mainstream. What we weren’t going to win … was a shelf full of Emmys. Ours were not the shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think that they brought a lot of entertainment into the living room.”
And entertain they did. Larson created/produced/wrote a staggering amount of shows that may not have been critical smashes, then or now, but were so popular that they have become firmly entrenched in the social zeitgeist. Shows like the aforementioned Knight Rider and Magnum P.I, which made international stars out of David Hasselhoff and Tom Selleck, respectively; Battlestar Galactica, which would get rebooted by Ron Moore in the early 2000’s and become a global phenomenon again; The Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy, which both boosted the career of Lee Majors and with the former title now being remade by Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg; Manimal, which is also being rebooted by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay; Automan, which has attained minor cult status over the years; Buck Rogers In the 25th Century, which inspired so many sci-fi shows/movies since then; P.S.I. Luv U, which I embarrassingly remember watching quite a lot of, and many, many more.
Larson was nothing short of a true giant of the medium and helped shape an entire generation’s taste in popular television – mine included. Besides for an utterly indelibly legacy in pop culture, Larson is also survived by his current wife, three ex-wives and nine children.
Here is the interview with the Archive of American Television for your viewing pleasure.
Last Updated: November 17, 2014