How many people have a holiday named after them? My dad does. On January 14, 1986, the city of Los Angeles proclaimed it: “Stephen J. Cannell Day.” That was the day he got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I was pretty young back then, but kinda remember it. He was honored at a roast at the Roosevelt Hotel, and then joined the ranks of some Hollywood’s biggest stars out on the Walk of Fame.
It’s rare for a writer to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, that honor usually goes to actors or singers, but my dad has had a pretty long career; he’s created or co-created 40 shows!
His first big hit was the Rockford Files. Few people remember, but the Rockford Files actually started off as an episode of a police show called “Toma.” My dad wanted to create a private detective unlike any other on TV at the time.
He wanted to write a detective who had flaws and wasn’t perfect. Jim Rockford asked for money up front, if your check bounced, he would take the pink slip on your car, and if the going got tough, he gave up. The network hated it, but audiences loved it.
The Rockford Files was a huge hit in the ratings and also won several Emmys. The success of that show would help my dad create his own TV production company, have more hit shows, and eventually get his star on the Walk of Fame.