Steven Bochco, creator of L.A. Law and NYPD Blue, dies at 74
Steven Bochco, one of Hollywood most prolific and acclaimed television producers, died of complications from cancer Sunday morning in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He was 74.
“Steven Bochco passed away on Sunday morning, April 1, 2018, at 10:20 a.m., after a long battle with cancer which he faced with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor,” his lawyer, Morton L. Janklow, tells EW. “He died peacefully in his sleep with his family close by.”
Bochco battled leukemia for years, for which received a stem cell transplant in October 2014.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Bochco was the creative force behind such mega-hits as NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and Doogie Howser, M.D., to name just a few. He is credited for adding a groundbreaking dose of gritty reality to his police dramas, which ultimately changed the way such stories are depicted even today, and was known for pushing boundaries when it came to nudity and language on network television.
Bochco began his career writing and story editing on such series as Ironside, Columbo, and The Invisible Man. Hill Street Blues is considered his first major critical success as a producer, and it earned him his first two Primetime Emmys in 1981 for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. (The show garnered 98 Emmy nominations throughout its seven-season run.)
Bochco picked up a total of 10 Primetime Emmys (out of a whopping 30 nominations) and four Peabodys. He was honored with the Producers Guild of America’s David Susskind lifetime achievement award in 1999.
Additional notable credits by Bochco include Murder One, Commander in Chief, Raising the Bar, Civil Wars, and Cop Rock. The producer’s most recent series, Murder in the First, aired on TNT from 2014 until 2016.
Bochco also wrote a novel, Death By Hollywood, which was released in 2003.
Cast members from a number of Bochco’s shows, as well as fellow Hollywood writers and producers are sharing their memories of the television icon on social media.
“Steve was a friend and a colleague starting with the first episode of Colombo in 1971 that he wrote and I directed,” Steven Spielberg said in a statement to EW. “We have supported and inspired each other ever since and through many deep mutual friendships we have stayed connected for 47 years. I will miss Steve terribly.”
“It was his vision, style, taste and tenacity that made me love watching TV. It was being on #NYPDBlue that made me love working on TV,” NYPD Blue star Sharon Lawrence wrote on Twitter. “Thank you and rest well Steven Bochco. You were one of a kind.”
L.A. Law star Blair Underwood tweeted, “VERY SAD to hear that Steven Bochco passed away on Sunday. Steven hired me on LA LAW and changed the trajectory of my life and career. There are opportunities available to me today because he took a chance on a kid like me, long ago. I’ll forever be grateful to him. RIP Steven.”
“Steven Bochco sat with Jake Kasdan and myself before we started Freaks and Geeks and let us grill him for advice,” Judd Apatow recalled. “We used all of it. He was a great man and will forever be an inspiration.”
“Today, our industry lost a visionary, a creative force, a risk taker, a witty, urbane story teller with an uncanny ability to know what the world wanted. We were long-term colleagues, and longer term friends, and I am deeply saddened,” Robert Iger, Chairman and CEO Walt Disney said on Twitter. See more remembrances below: