A legend in the realm of television, Glen A. Larson was best known as the producer of such action packed TV hits as "Quincy M.E." (NBC, 1976-1983), "Battlestar Galactica" (ABC, 1978-79), and "Knight Rider" (NBC, 1982-86). A native of California, Larson attended Hollywood High School alongside Robert Wagner, whom he would one day work with on the series "It Takes a Thief" (ABC, 1968-1970). Larson's first foray into show business, however, came in the form of a music career. Singing with a clean-cut vocal group called The Four Preps, Larson was signed to Capitol Records, where his band produced three gold albums, and even appeared on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" (ABC, 1952-1966) and in the movie "Gidget" (1959).
Though he enjoyed being a musician, Larson came to find the rigorous touring lifestyle that came with it to be draining, and so he began to look for other options. His first break came in 1966, when he sold an idea for an episode of "The Fugitive" (ABC, 1963-67). He next signed on to write an episode of "It Takes a Thief," and clicked so well with the series that he was brought on as a producer and regular writer on the show. Soon, Larson was producing and writing his own series, a Western called "Alias Smith and Jones" (ABC, 1971-73). Many more would follow, with Larson either writing, producing, or both. His series "McCloud" (NBC, 1970-77) would garner two Emmy nominations, while "Quincy M.E." would set the stage for later TV dramas that focus on the forensic end of crime solving like "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-).
Always keen to employ ideas that seemed in line with popular culture, Larson took particular joy in producing the science fiction series "Battlestar Galactica" (ABC, 1978-79), which came on the heels of "Star Wars" (1977). Larson integrated concepts into the show from his own religious background with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such as the show's Quorum of Twelve, and impressed the industry by securing a then unprecedented budget of $1 million per episode. Though the series would ultimately be cancelled after just one season, it would later inspire two telefilms and a popular "reboot" on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2004, attracting a new generation of fans.
Larson wrote and produced many more prominent series over the coming decade, focusing mainly on action oriented themes. He would follow the adventures of a movie stunt man on "The Fall Guy" (ABC, 1981-86), a futuristic talking Trans Am on "Knight Rider," and a former ball-player turned private investigator on "Magnum P.I." (CBS, 1980-88). Larson even retained an executive producer credit on the 2004 version of "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci-Fi Channel, 2004-09) and its spin-off "Caprica" (Syfy, 2009-2010).
Larson reunited with his bandmates from The Four Preps for the 2004 PBS reunion show "Magical Moments." He was married a total of three times, though he largely kept his personal life private. Larson died of esophageal cancer at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica in 2014 at the age of 74. He was survived by his wife Jeannie Marie Pledger and his nine children.
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Produced his first hit series, the Western "Alias Smith and Jones."
Secured a budget of $1 million per episode for his series "Battlestar Galactica," a then un-precedented sum.
Produced the crime hit "Magnum P.I." starring a then-unknown named Tom Selleck.