Hatch was born on May 21, 1945. He started his career in theater before being cast as Philip Brent Sr. on the soap opera All My Children in the early ’70s, a role he played for two years. He began to pop up on episodes of other shows, including Hawaii Five-0 and The Waltons. In 1976 Hatch was hired to replace Michael Douglas, who after four years left the series The Streets of San Francisco. Hatch’s new character, Inspector Dan Roberts, continued with the show through the final season.
In 1978, Hatch was cast as Captain Apollo on Battlestar Galactica, a sci-fi series about a group of people living on a huge space carrier fleeing from Cylons, robots who were trying to destroy them. The people, lead by Apollo’s father Commander Adama, were looking for the lost planet Earth. Playing Apollo allowed Hatch to be the hero of the series, while his father stayed on the Galactica, Apollo would lead the fighters into battle against the Cylons. The role also allowed Hatch to show his tender side, early in the show Apollo’s wife was killed and he was left with a step-son to raise.
Even though Battlestar Galactica only lasted one season, Hatch was enamored with the role and frequently tried to find a way to bring the show back, including writing seven novels about the character’s further adventures and making a trailer for a possible continuation of the show. Hatch never got the spinoff he was looking for, but the series was eventually revived in 2004 with a dark and gritty remake that starred British actor Jamie Bamber in Hatch’s old role as Apollo. Hatch was cast in a recurring role as Tom Zarek. Zarek could not have been more different than the sensible and caring hero that Apollo had originally been. In fact, Zarek was often an antagonistic character. He was a terrorist who turned to politics to try to take over the remaining population of humans. The character remained through all four seasons of the series, as a constant thorn in the side of the various leaders.
Hatch continued to make guest appearances on various shows after the first Battlestar Galactica ended. He had recurring roles on Dynasty and Santa Barbara, and appeared in a handful of movies as well. In recent years he was seen on the webseries The Silicon Assassin Project and Walter Koenig’s InAlienable. He often appeared in commercials and did voiceover and hosting work as well.
A few weeks before his death, Hatch moved into hospice care. His legacy to the world of science fiction is a beautiful one and he will be missed.
R.I.P. Richard Hatch: May 21, 1945 – February 7, 2017