Legendary writer and producer Steven Bochco - most famous for his work on NYPD Blue - has died at the age of 74, after struggling with leukemia for several years. Family spokesman Phillip Arnold said that Bochco "fought cancer with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor," dying peacefully in his sleep with his family at his side.
A ten-time Prime Time Emmy Award winner, Bochco was renowned for bringing gritty realism, dark comedy and large ensemble casts to the small screen. Bochco was also famed for butting heads with studio executives and censors, pushing the envelope for what would be allowed on broadcast television. Bochco first found success with the police drama Hill Street Blues, which he developed for NBC with the understanding that he be allowed to do whatever he wanted with the pilot episode. Bochco expected that caveat to be a deal-breaker, but the network agreed and Hill Street Blues went on to win an astonishing 98 Emmys across 146 episodes. The series cemented Bocho's reputation as a masterful and combative producer.
"I began to hear words about myself: He’s arrogant, he’s this, he’s that," Bochco recalled in a 2002 interview with The Archive Of American Television. "My attitude was, call me what you will, but I know I have a great project here. I don’t know how many great projects there are going to be in my life, and I’m not going to screw this one up. I’d rather not do it. And they folded. They virtually folded on everything."
After creating the series L.A. Law for NBC, rival network CBS offered Bochco a job as President of the network's entertainment division in 1987. Bochco rejected it in favor of a development deal at ABC, which offered him $10 million to produce ten series over six years. This deal would include Doogie Howser MD - a dramaedy about a child prodigy who graduated from medical school at the age of 14 - and the series that many consider to be Bochco's greatest accomplishment, NYPD Blue. The police procedural would face numerous protests from conservative groups due to its frank depictions of violence and sex, while also earning multiple Emmy Awards over its 12 year run.
Steven Bochco is survived by his wife of 17 years, Dayna; children Jesse, Melissa and Sean and grandchildren Stevie Rae and Wes. He is also 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 and his first wife, actress Barbara Bosson.
Rest In Peace Steven Bochco: December 16, 1943 - April 1, 2018