Stephen J Cannell died as a result of Melanoma

Stephen J Cannell, A-Team and Rockford Files writer

Author and TV director Stephen J. Cannell lost his battle against melanoma (a type of skin cancer) after complications arising from the disease at the age of 69.

He is best remembered for his smash hit TV shows The Rockford Files which starred James Garner (now an incredible 84 years old) as a maverick private investigator who could scarcely make ends meet, and The A-Team, a long running all action show which starred Mr T, Dirk Benedict and the enigmatic George Peppard, a reformed alcoholic who died in 1994 of pneumonia after complications attributed to lung cancer.

In fact during the 1980s it was nigh on impossible to avoid a Cannell show, but that was not a bad thing. His eye for an action sequence or dramatic cliffhanger was second to none and so many people look back on his work with a great fondness. The A-Team in particular was so outrageously over the top that it was almost cartoon-like, but it never failed to raise a “wow” or a laugh.

The A-Team was arguably Stephen J Cannell's defining moment

The A-Team was arguably Stephen J Cannell’s defining moment

There hasn’t been a producer of his kind since and with his passing it seems there comes a void that will be hard to fill, such was his excellence in that genre of entertainment. The need for grittier dramas and more violent action shows signalled the end of n age of innocence.

The day following his death the front page of his website http://www.cannell.com/ bore the message:

With profound sadness, we have to announce that our dear friend and colleague, Stephen Cannell, has lost a brave fight against cancer. He passed away at his home last night. He will be missed beyond measure by the Cannell Team and all of us who had the privilege and the plain good luck to work with him. Through the legacy of his body of work, with which he was able to entertain and enrich the lives of millions of viewers and thousands of readers, he will always be with us, living on in our hearts and minds, with fond memories forever.”