Steven Spielberg has been in the American film industry for almost five decades. Along the way, he has made countless friends, some of them closer than others, but there was one that he knew from the very beginning of his career. His name was Steven Bochco, a prolific writer and producer working predominantly in television. Bochco died at the age of 74 on Sunday. He was known for creating a number of hit TV shows like L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and Doogie Howser, M.D. But his most famous creation was Hill Street Blues.
During its seven-season run, Hill Street Blues won a record 26 Primetime Emmy awards. Bochco himself won 10 Emmys in his career. Spielberg and Bochco’s friendship began in 1971 when Spielberg directed and Bochco wrote the Murder by the Book episode from iconic 60s and 70s crime drama series Columbo. Of course, the two went their separate ways after that. While Spielberg became the doyen and king of crafting big-screen entertainment, Bochco established a solid reputation for himself in the small-screen domain with several popular and well-received TV shows under his belt.
In the recently released HBO documentary on the life and work of Steven Spielberg, Bochco made an appearance. This is what Spielberg said about Bochco’s passing, “Steve was a friend and a colleague starting with the first episode of Columbo in 1971 that he wrote and I directed. We have supported and inspired each other ever since and through many deep mutual friendships we have stayed connected for 47 years. I will miss Steve terribly.”
Many other Hollywood personalities also spoke on the loss of Steven Bochco. Director Joss Whedon tweeted, “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. All love to his family, R.I.P., and thank you.#LetsBeSafeOutThere”
House of Cards creator Beau Willimon said, “As a kid, “Hill Street Blues” and “L.A. Law” were rituals in my house. All of us who grew up watching great TV and have benefited from the ground he broke owe pioneer Steven Bochco a debt of gratitude. RIP”