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Stephen J. Cannell

© 2009-2010 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Well-known television writer, producer, and director Stephen J. Cannell appears in Castle as himself in the pilot episode Flowers for Your Grave, in the season 2 premiere Deep in Death, and the season 2 finale A Deadly Game. He joins fellow writers James Patterson and Michael Connelly as poker buddies of Richard Castle. He also appears on the season 1 DVD of Castle in a vignette where Nathan Fillion joins him in a write along and Cannell attempts to give Nathan a taste of what it's really like to be a murder mystery writer.


© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
  • Born February 5, 1941 in Los Angeles, California
  • Died September 30, 2010 in Pasadena, California from complications of melnoma [1]
  • Married his high school sweetheart.[1]
  • Had 4 children, two boys and two girls. His oldest child died at age 15 when a sand castle he was building collapsed on him, suffocating him.[1]

After he died, a tribute to him followed the end credits of Punked. The long-running videographic logo of his production company ran, where Cannell is shown sitting at a typewriter, pulls a piece of paper from the typewriter and tosses it over his shoulder. Normally in the video, the image of Cannell at the typewriter would fade, except for the piece of paper which would float in the air and morph into the official logo of Cannell's production company. However, in the tribute, the words "Colleague, Mentor, Friend" were added to the video and the piece of paper, floated past the words "We'll Miss You, Pal."

The show also honored Cannell in The Dead Pool (episode 3.21). Richard Castle invites his protege, Alex Conrad, to join him, Dennis Lehane, and Michael Connelly for a poker game and when Alex unknowingly goes to sit in the seat Cannell typically occupied, they stop him and explain that they have a tradition whereby when one of the group dies, they leave the seat vacant for a year.

Selected Credits[edit]

  • The A-Team - writer, creator, executive producer
Cannell's seat for poker left vacant in The Dead Pool; © 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
  • The Greatest American Hero - writer, creator, executive producer
  • Hunter - executive producer and writer of 2 episodes
  • Silk Stalkings - writer and creator
  • Renegade - writer and creator
  • The Commish - writer, creator, executive producer
  • Cobra - writer and creator
  • 21 Jump Street - writer and creator
  • Wiseguy - writer, creator, executive producer
  • Stingray - writer, creator, executive producer
  • The Rockford Files - writer, creator, producer, director of 3 episodes
  • Baretta - writer and creator, executive producer of 1 episode
  • Hardcastle and McCormick - writer, creator, executive producer
  • Adam-12 - writer, executive story consultant

He also wrote or produced TV movies or feature films based on Hunter, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, and The Rockford Files. His talent wasn't just reserved to behind the camera though. He acted in television shows too, including Pacific Blue, Diagnosis Murder, Renegade, Silk Stalkings, Santa Barbara, and Magnum, P.I..

Career as Author[edit]

After conquering television, Stephen J. Cannell embarked on a second career as a writer of novels. He created the character of Shane Scully, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, and featured him in ten of his books. He also wrote 7 other books.

The Novels

  • (2011) Vigilante (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2010) The Prostitutes' Ball (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2010) The Pallbearers (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2009) On the Grind (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2008) At First Sight
  • (2007) Three Shirt Deal (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2006) White Sister (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2005) Cold Hit (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2004) Vertical Coffin (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2003) Hollywood Tough (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2003) Runaway Heart
  • (2002) The Viking Funeral (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2001) The Tin Collectors (A Shane Scully Novel)
  • (2000) The Devil's Workshop
  • (1999) Riding the Snake
  • (1998) King Con
  • (1997) Final Victim
  • (1996) The Plan


  • Rob Bowman considered Cannell a mentor, since he gave him his first job in television working on The A-Team.
  • Suffered from undiagnosed dylexsia in his youth and as an adult remained active on the issue, advocating for adults and children with disabilities.[1]
  • The character of Jim Rockford was created for a series called Toma he was producing. ABC rejected the idea, and eventually the script was re-written and became the pilot episode of The Rockford Files.[1]
  • Won a Prime-Time Emmy in 1978 for The Rockford Files and was nominated 4 other times.
  • Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Started Stephen J. Cannell Productions, an independent production company, in 1979.

External Links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Stephen J. Cannell biography at the Internet Movie Database