October 1st, 2010
04:24 PM ET
The first thing you remember is that "vanity card."
At the end of every episode of a show produced by Stephen J. Cannell, you would see him tear a sheet out of his typewriter, which would then float into an animation making the letter "C." It's something that just about anyone who watched TV in the 1970s and '80s can remember.
Cannell died on Thursday, due to complications associated with melanoma, at the age of 69. There were 77 TV series or movies where he had a producer credit, and he was a writer on over 60 of those, not to mention a number of mystery novels (one of which he discussed with CNN.com in 2008, as seen in the video above.).
He is probably best known for the wildly successful crime dramas "The Rockford Files," "21 Jump Street," "The Commish," "Renegade," "Wiseguy," "Hardcastle and McCormick" and many, many more (he was also a major inspiration for ABC's current hit series "Castle," and made a few cameos playing himself). Growing up in the '80s, of course I watched "The A-Team," and was fascinated by the everyman heroics of "The Greatest American Hero."
For the denizens of Twitter, many of whom grew up around the same time, Cannell was the latest celebrity death to be mourned in 140 characters or less, after actor Tony Curtis and comedian Greg Giraldo.
David Hasselhoff, whose "Knight Rider" was part of the same NBC lineup as "The A-Team," wrote, "Another Hollywood legend passes."
Patton Oswalt's ("Ratatouille," "The King of Queens") tweet has received hundreds of re-tweets: "In memory of Stephen J. Cannell, everyone rip a sheet of paper out of your typewriter and let it fall to the ground."
From "Community" actress Yvette Nicole Brown: "Sad face. Stephen J. Cannell has died."
Another distinctive part of Cannell's work was the catchy theme songs. @roomerholmes wrote that "The Rockford Files" had the greatest theme song.
"I think Stephen J. Cannell's sign-off clip was as much a part of my life in the '80s as any characters he created," tweeted @rickmarshall.
What do you remember most about Cannell's work, or did you meet the man in person? Share your memories below.
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