Tributes were pouring in Monday for Steven Bochco, the writer and producer behind the iconic 1980s and ’90s TV shows “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law” and “NYPD Blue,” after Bochco’s death Sunday at the age of 74.
The details of Bochco’s death were not immediately clear, although he had battled leukemia in recent years and received a stem cell transplant from an anonymous 23-year-old in late 2014, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Steven fought cancer with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor,” spokesman Phillip Arnold told THR. “He died peacefully in his sleep with his family close by.”
The New York Times reported that Bochco died in Pacific Palisades.
Arnold said details about a memorial service would be forthcoming.
In addition to his three most famous shows, the 10-time Emmy Award winner also was behind the Neil Patrick Harris ABC comedy-drama “Doogie Howser, M.D.” and the TNT drama “Murder in the First.”
Bochco’s colleagues and admirers quickly took to Twitter to mourn the prolific creator.
“It was his vision, style, taste and tenacity that made me love watching TV,” wrote actress Sharon Lawrence, who appeared on “NYPD Blue.”
Bob Iger, the chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, who worked with Bochco at ABC in the 1990s, tweeted: “Steven Bochco: 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.”
From Corbin Bernsen, one of the stars of “L.A. Law”: “I will be forever grateful to Steven Bochco for the key to the lock that opened the door to a career. At the same time he taught me more about our humanity; our faults and strengths, how they survive side by side, despite our human insistence on seeing them as opposing forces.”
From actor Ken Olin: “I was 28, married, & the father of a baby boy when the creator of `Hill St. Blues’ came to NYC to cast a show about minor league baseball. Steven Bochco gave me my first break on `Bay City Blues’ and brought me to Hollywood. I’m eternally grateful to him for my career. RIP boss.”
From actress Debra Messing: “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”
And from writer/producer/director Judd Apatow: “Steven Bochco sat with Jake Kasdan and myself before we started Freaks and Geeks and let us grill him for advice. We used all of it. He was a great man and will forever be an inspiration.”
Bochco was born in New York City, but cut his show business teeth at Universal Studios in the mid-1960s.
He wrote for television in the early 1970s, getting one of his big breaks by penning a “Columbo” episode directed by a young Steven Spielberg in 1971.
His enduring legacy rests on “Hill Street Blues,” the gritty NBC drama that offered a more nuanced and realistic portrayal of police life than American audiences were used to seeing in cop shows from the 1970s. It ran from 1981-87.
“L.A. Law” (1986-94) and “NYPD Blue” (1993-2005) followed, with both shows enjoying long prime-time runs.
Not everything Bochco touched turned to gold. His 1990 show, “Cop Rock” — an attempt at a police musical — was a legendary flop.
Bochco is survived by his sister Joanna Frank, who played Sheila Brackman, the wife of Douglas Brackman Jr. — her real-life husband Alan Rachins — on “L.A. Law”; Bochco’s wife of 17 years, Dayna; and his children Jesse, Jeffrey and Melissa. His first wife was actress Barbara Bosson.