TV producer Glen Larson dies of cancer

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Television writer- producer Glen Larson, whose works include Magnum, P.I. and Battlestar Galactica, died of esophageal cancer last Friday, aged 77.

He died at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, his son James told The Hollywood Reporter.

Larson wrote and produced some of the best-known prime-time TV series of the 1970s and 1980s. They were often humorous, family-friendly shows.

He was behind series such as It Takes A Thief, starring Robert Wagner; McCloud; Quincy, M.E.; and Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff as a crimefighting hero with a superpowered Pontiac. But he is best known for Magnum, P.I. (1980- 1988), starring a mustachioed Tom Selleck as a private investigator in Hawaii.

Battlestar Galactica enjoyed a shorter run. It was taken off the air in 1979 after only one season, but became a cult hit in the 2000s.

At a cost of more than US$1 million per episode, Larson said the show could not be sustained, but he wished it had stayed on air for longer. "I was vested emotionally in Battlestar," he said in a 2009 interview.

Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider were remade in the 2000s.

Larson said his popularity was not accidental. Instead, he tailored his work for an audience whose tastes he tried to predict.

"I fell in step with an audience taste-level that I knew how to judge and deliver for consistently," he said.

While he enjoyed a loyal following, he did not see as much critical success. Though nominated for three Primetime Emmy awards - two for McCloud and one for Quincy M.E. - he never took home a statue for his work.

He said his shows "were enjoyable, they had a pretty decent dose of humour. All struck a chord in the mainstream".

"What we weren't going to do was win a shelf full of Emmys," he said. "Ours were not the kind of shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think we brought a lot of entertainment into the living room."

Born in Long Beach, California, he started his TV career at NBC, follow- ing a stint as a singer with pop group The Four Preps in the 1950s. His first TV credit came in 1966 as a writer on an episode of The Fugitive. He is also behind series such as Alias Smith And Jones, B.J. And The Bear, Switch, and The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women And War.

He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985.

He is survived by his wife Jeannie, his brother Kenneth and nine children from previous marriages.

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