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Battlestar Galactica actor Richard Hatch has died

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Richard Hatch, the actor that first shot to fame as Captain Apollo in the 1970s sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica, has died at the age of 71. According to Bleeding Cool, which broke the news, Hatch died after battling an extended illness.

Ronald D. Moore, who cast Hatch in his 2004 revival of the series, tweeted the news, as did Galactica collaborators like Edward James Olmos and series composer Bear McCreary.

Hatch got his start acting in theater in the 1960s before moving to television, where he appeared in shows like All My Children, Kung Fu, Hawaii Five-O, and numerous others. In 1978 he was cast in Glen A. Larson’s science fiction show Battlestar Galactica as Captain Apollo, leaving an indelible mark on his career and the genre itself. While many people saw Luke Skywalker or Han Solo as the hero of ‘70s science fiction, for others it was Hatch’s character, a fighter pilot who fought to save humanity following the destruction of its colonies. Hatch would go on to earn a Golden Globe nomination for the role, later appearing on a number of other television classics, including Murder, She Wrote and The Love Boat.

While Hatch did not appear in the 1980s revival Galactica 1980, he did attempt to revive the property in 1999 with a trailer for a continuation called The Second Coming. He reportedly mortgaged his own home for the project, which reunited several of his former co-stars, only for Universal Studios to pass on it. When Moore began his own work on a reimagined series (which would not be connected to the original show’s continuity), Hatch was openly critical and even hostile to the reboot.

Hatch eventually came around, however, and joined the cast of the new show as Tom Zarek, a terrorist-turned-politician. Hatch’s presence in the new Battlestar Galactica started a new chapter in his career, with the actor going on to appear in a number of science fiction and fantasy projects, including the web series The Guild and the ill-fated Star Trek fan film Prelude to Axanar.