LOS ANGELES (AP) — Glen A. Larson, the writer and producer behind well-loved TV series such as the original "Battlestar Galactica," ''Knight Rider," ''Magnum, P.I." and "Quincy, M.E.," has died. He was 77.
Larson died at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center on Friday night of complications from esophageal cancer, his son, James Larson, said in a phone interview Saturday.
Glen Larson, also an accomplished singer and composer, was a powerhouse in the television landscape in the 1970s and 1980s, when he churned out hits that became staples in millions of living rooms every night.
He also co-composed the theme songs for some of his hits, including the frequently sampled tune from "Knight Rider" and the orchestral music behind "Battlestar Galactica," his son said.
"He was sort of an icon," James Larson said. "There are a lot of interesting things like that."
Glen Larson was nominated three times for an Emmy, once for a Grammy for the original score of "Battlestar Galactica," and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985.
Glen Larson was born on Jan. 3, 1937 to a Swedish immigrant mother and a Swedish-American father in Long Beach, California.
In 1956, Glen Larson joined a vocal group called The Four Preps and, with them, appeared in a Gidget film and earned three gold records. He helped write and compose some of their hits, including "26 Miles (Santa Catalina)," ''Big Man" and "Down by the Station."
Where he would make a lasting mark, however, was in television.
His first writing credit came in 1966 on an episode of "The Fugitive."
By 1968, he had worked his way up to an associate producer on the series "It Takes a Thief" and quickly rose through the ranks to produce some of the biggest TV shows of the time. At one point, he had five shows airing at once, his son said.
A list of nearly four dozen TV credits also includes "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries," ''B.J. and the Bear," ''The Fall Guy" and the TV movie "The Six Million Dollar Man."
Glen Larson is survived by his wife, Jeannie Pledger, a brother, and nine children from two different marriages.