The Reel Cinemaniac: RIP Bochco

The Reel Cinemaniac / Josh Simpkins

The TV world is saying goodbye to one of the industry’s game-changing producers. I do not make this claim lightly, dear friends and neighbors. As the talent pool of TV creators swells with the medium’s endless progression from one stage to another via outlets such as streaming services, tried and true-blue talent only comes around once or twice a generation, if we’re lucky. Sadly, I must report that writer and producer Steven Bochco, the prolific TV creator responsible for hits including Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue, passed away on Sunday April 1, 2018, at his home after a long battle with leukemia. He was 74.

Born to a painter and a concert violinist in New York City on December 16, 1943, Steven Ronald Bochco set himself for a life within the entertainment industry, graduating from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon U) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with an MCA Writing Fellowship. Throughout the 1970s, he cut his teeth writing for popular series such as The Bold Ones: The New Doctors (1969-73), McMillan & Wife (1974-77), Columbo (1971-90) and many more. After short-lived creations like the James Earl Jones-led Paris (1979-80) and Ensemble-Drama Bay City Blues (1983), Bochco’s career really took off in the 1980s and 1990s with a string of hits including Hill Street Blues (1981-87), L.A. Law (1986-94), Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989-93), Murder One (1995-97), and NYPD Blue (1993-2005).

Winning ten Primetime Emmys across his storied career, Bochco also co-created the John Ritter-starring off-beat cop Comedy-Drama Hooperman (1987-89), the Mariel Hemingway-starring Drama Civil Wars (1991-93), the infamously short-lived Musical Drama Cop Rock (1990), the Animated Comedy Capitol Critters (1992-95), the Legal-Drama Raising the Bar (2008-09), and most recently, the TNT Crime-Drama Murder in the First (2014-16) starring Taye Diggs. Many stars from these fantastic programs cite Bochco as a role model and mentor for his work behind the scenes.

Bochco is survived by his wife of 17 years, producer Dayna Kalins, daughter, actress Melissa Bochco, and son, director Jesse Bochco. All happy thoughts and prayers go out to the Bochco family during this difficult time. Rest in Paradise, Steven Bochco.

Joshua Simpkins, affectionately known as “Big” Josh to his friends and family, has resided in the scenic KRV for most of his life. He is an alumnus of Kern Valley High School Class of 1997 and graduated with honors from Cerro Coso Community College Lake Isabella Campus in 2009. Josh is a devoted husband, loving father, and extremely proud grandpa. Not to mention his great love of the cinema is apparent in his film critiques.