Steven Bochco, the famed writer and producer of hit television series like NYPD Blue and LA Law, died Sunday morning of leukemia. He was 74.

Steven Bochco Death News

Bochco died surrounded by family and friends, personal assistant Phillip Arnold told the media.

The 10-time Primetime Emmy Award winner was also behind comedy-drama Doogie Howser, M.D., which starred Neil Patrick Harrisas well as Hill Street Blues. 

 

Bob Iger, the chairman and CEO of Disney, tweeted: “Today, our industry lost a visionary, a creative force, a risk taker, a witty, urbane story teller with an uncanny ability to know what the world wanted. We were long-term colleagues, and longer term friends., and I am deeply saddened.”

Fellow producer and screenwriter Joss Whedon said: “Absolutely one of the biggest influences on Buffy (and me) was HILL STREET BLUES. Complex, unpredictable and unfailingly humane. Steven Bochco changed television, more than once. He’s a legend.”

Bochco knowingly set out to establish new, more permissive standards beginning in the 1980s for what was allowed on television in terms of language and nudity with then-ABC Entertainment chief Iger, beginning with NYPD Blue. 

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Bochco received 30 Emmy nominations during his illustrious career.

In 1999, the Producers Guild of America honored Bochco with its David Susskind Lifetime Achievement Award, describing his record of quality programs as “the standard all television producers strive for.”

“If this is the Golden Age of television, Steven Bochco launched it and helped sustain it,” wrote USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco. “Every great modern drama owes ‘Hill Street’ a debt.”

More recently, Bochco became disillusioned with the major networks, and moved to TNT to produce the drama Murder in the First.

Bochco began as a TV writer in the 1960s, working on such series as Columbo. He then began creating shows. After a few short-lived series, he co-created Hill Street Blues with Michael Kozoll. The show won several Emmys and saw its audience surge when NBC introduced The Cosby Show in 1984.

Bochco had several family members in Hollywood. His wife, Dayna, was a TV executive, and his sister, Joanna Frank, an actress. Of his three children, his son Jesse has become an accomplished TV director. His first wife was actress Barbara Bosson, who co-starred in Hill Street.

Here are more tributes from actors and producers to the legend, including Harris, Judd Apatow and Debra Messing.