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Home Deceased Steven Bochco Passes Away in Pacific Palisades

Steven Bochco Passes Away in Pacific Palisades

Steven Bochco (Photo American Television)

Steven Bochco, a celebrated television writer and producer whose sophisticated prime-time portrayals of gritty courtrooms and police station houses redefined television dramas and pushed the boundaries of onscreen vulgarity and nudity, died on Sunday in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. He was 74.

The cause was complications of cancer, a family spokesman said. He had received a stem cell transplant October 2014 for leukemia.

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Over three decades starting in the early 1980s, Mr. Bochco, whose earlier shows “Hill Street Blues” and “L.A. Law” upended the traditional hourlong drama, was one of Hollywood’s most prolific and sought-after producers. He mixed elements of daytime soap operas — like story lines that stretch over multiple episodes and feature a rich ensemble of characters — with a true-to-life visual style and colorful language.

On “Hill Street Blues” in the 1980s and on “NYPD Blue” a decade later, Mr. Bochco lent a realism to police dramas and introduced twisting, sophisticated story lines and subplots.

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But “Hill Street Blues” was not an overnight success. After its first season, in 1981, the show ranked 87th out of 96 television series in the ratings. But a few months later, it won eight Emmy Awards, including for best drama, giving “Hill Street Blues” momentum that carried the series another six seasons on NBC. It also propelled Mr. Bochco’s career.

In 1986, he applied his trademark method to courtrooms, creating “L.A. Law” on NBC. It was no “Perry Mason.” The show brought a realism to lawyers and law firms and accurately portrayed legal issues, all while tackling tough and sensitive subjects like capital punishment and AIDS.

By the late 1980s, Mr. Bochco was in high demand. In 1987, ABC lured him away from NBC with a first-of-its-kind network exclusive: a $50 million deal to create 10 series over eight years. Two shows were hits, “NYPD Blue” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.”

Steven Bochco 2016 (Photo Chris Pizzello-Invision)
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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.