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If Stephen J. Cannell, who died at age 69 over the weekend after a battle with cancer, has to make any argument to get through the Pearly Gates, all he has to say is this:

“I co-created ‘The Rockford Files’.”

That’ll be enough.

Cannell wrote for series that ranged from “It Takes A Thief” to “Toma,” created series such as “The A-Team,” “The Greatest American Hero” and “Wiseguy,” eventually became a novelist turning out more than a dozen thrillers, and even did a bit of acting, playing himself on “Castle” and even serving as a kind of unofficial mentor to the producers and star Nathan Fillion.

But without a doubt, the best thing he ever did was create the character of Jim Rockford, brought to life so memorably by James Garner. Rockford was a kind of anomaly in the American private eye genre - he was an ex-con who had been pardoned because he actually was innocent, his father was ashamed of his career choices but loved him anyway, he lived in a beat-up trailer in Malibu, and he hated to get into fights (though he was great in car chases). But most of all, Rockford brought a kind of bemused irony to the genre - soft-boiled rather than hard-boiled, and with a bit of the con man in him. You couldn’t help but love him, and Rockford was a television mainstay for six memorable seasons.

And Cannell was primarily responsible, producing the series ands writing many of the episodes.

That’d be enough for me.
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