2 Apr 2018

Hill Street Blues creator Steven Bochco dies

7:25 pm on 2 April 2018

US television producer and writer Steven Bochco, who created some of America's best known police drama series, has died aged 74.

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Steven Bochco in 2006. Photo: AFP

Born in New York, he helped define modern TV drama through work like Hill Street Blues, LA Law and NYPD Blue.

His award-winning innovations included story lines spread over several hour-long programmes, ensemble casts and edgy content.

Bochco had been battling a rare form of leukaemia for several years.

The writer was nominated for 30 Emmy awards and won 10 of them. The seven series of cop show Hill Street Blues won a further 26.

The son of a painter and violin virtuoso, he grew up in Manhattan. After studying at New York University and the Carnegie Institute of Technology, he went to work for Universal Pictures as a writer and story editor on the detective series Ironside and Columbo.

From 2014 until 2016, he wrote and produced Murder in the First, a US police drama starring Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson.

As news of Bochco's death emerged, actors and industry insiders paid tribute to a man who changed their art-form forever.

Actress Debra Messing, who starred in the US sitcom Will & Grace, called him "a pioneer, a gentleman".

Joss Whedon, creator of the cult TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cited him as a major personal influence.

Former USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco summed up: "If this is the Golden Age of television, Steven Bochco launched it and helped sustain it. Every great modern drama owes 'Hill Street' a debt."

Bochco is survived by his third wife, Dayna Kalins, his children Melissa Bochco, Jesse Bochco and Sean Flanagan, and two grandchildren.