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Steven Bochco Dies; Legendary TV Writer/Producer Was 74

Steven Bochco, the beloved television show creator and producer who won 10 Emmy Awards over the course of an illustrious career, has passed away.

He was 74 years old.

Although the exact cause of death has not been confirmed, Bochco suffered from leukemia, having received a stem cell transplant from an anonymous 23-year-old in late 2014.

A family spokesperson confirmed this sad piece of news on Sunday night.

“Steven fought cancer with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor,” Phillip Arnold said, adding:

“He died peacefully in his sleep [at home] with his family close by.”

It’s possible that you had never heard of Steven Bochco before this, but, if you’re a fan of the small screen, it’s inconceivable that you have not heard of his work.

The producer was behind such all-time hits as Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and Doogie Howser M.D.

Bochco was known for taking creative risks and pushing the proverbial envelope of what was accepted on television.

Take the show Cop Rock, for example, which was an actual musical set inside a police station.

Or Murder One, which followed a single murder case over an entire season.

Or the aforementioned NYPD Blue, which created quite the controversy for ABC back in the 1990s due to its mixture of violence, crude language and nudity.

(The drama went on to win 20 Emmys.)

Once asked how he could be so bold about taking chances with the shows he developed, Bochco referenced a then-unprecedented 10-series contract he had signed with ABC and replied:

“With my deal, how could I not?”

In 1999, the Producers Guild of America honored Bochco with its David Susskind lifetime achievement award, describing his record of quality programs as “the standard all television producers strive for.”

Today, many showrunners credit Bochco as an influence, believing that the ongoing era of “Peak TV” would have been impossible to achieve without him.

“Steven Bochco sat with Jake Kasdan and myself before we started Freaks and Geeks and let us grill him for advice,” Tweeted Judd Apatow in response to this news.

“We used all of it.  He was a great man and will forever be an inspiration.”

Many other giants in the TV industry also passed along their thoughts on Twitter:

twitter reaction

Added former USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco:

 “If this is the Golden Age of television, Steven Bochco launched it and helped sustain it. Every great modern drama owes Hill Street a debt.

Bochco’s survivors include sister Joanna Frank, who portrayed Sheila Brackman, the wife of Douglas Brackman Jr. (her real-life husband Alan Rachins), on L.A. Law… his wife of 17 years, Dayna… kids Jesse, Sean and Melissa… and grandchildren Wes and Stevie Rae.

Our thoughts go out to his family members, friends and loved ones.

May Steven Bochco rest in peace.