Steven Bochco, a producer and writer best known for creating some of America’s most popular police dramas has died aged 74.
A family spokesman said Bochco died in his sleep on Sunday, April 1 after battling leukemia for several years, according to reports.
“Steven fought cancer with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor,” spokesman Phillip Arnold told the Hollywood Reporter. “He died peacefully in his sleep [at home] with his family close by.”
Bochco, who won 10 Primetime Emmys, has been credited with helping to define modern TV dramas through his work, like “Hill Street Blues” “LA Law,” and “NYPD Blue.”
The hit TV series “Hill Street Blues” was nominated for 27 Emmys in its first year. It would go on to win 26 of them, and led Bochco on a course to earn several Peabody awards in addition to his 10 Emmys.
Tributes poured in on social media as news of his death rippled through the industry.
Joss Whedon, who created the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” described Bochco as a legend who “changed television, more than once.”
Absolutely one of the biggest influences on Buffy (and me) was HILL STREET BLUES. Complex,unpredictable and unfailingly humane. Steven Bochco changed television, more than once. He’s a legend. All love to his family, R.I.P., and thank you.#LetsBeSafeOutThere
— Joss Whedon (@joss) April 2, 2018
Debra Messing, who starred in the U.S. sitcom “Will and Grace” called him a pioneer and a gentleman.
So sad to hear of Steven Bochco’s passing. He was a pioneer, a gentleman, and gave me my first job in prime time tv. Rest well, sir. You will be missed. #RIP
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) April 2, 2018
Former USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco said, “Every great modern drama owes “Hill Street” a debt.
If this is the Golden Age if television, Steven Bochco launched it and helped sustain it. Every great modern drama owes “Hill Street” a debt. https://t.co/IHrlp3xNuk
— Robert Bianco (@BiancoRobert) April 2, 2018
Born in New York, his father, Rudolph, was a violinist and his mother, Mimi, was a painter and jewelry designer. After attending New York University and Carnegie Mellon University, he went on to write several series for Universal Studios.
His big break came when he wrote the screenplay for the 1972 sci-fi film “Silent Running.” But the Associated Press reports that the disrespect Bochco met with in Hollywood put him off writing for the big screen
“Once you’ve delivered the screenplay they don’t want you around, because you’re gonna get in the way of someone else’s vision,” he said.
Bochco once recalled a fan saying that “Hill Street Blues” was the first TV series that had a memory of.
He is survived by his third wife, Dayna Kalins, his children Melissa, Jess and Sean, and two grandchildren.