Actor Richard Hatch, who was a star and a champion of the Battlestar Galactica sci-fi franchise for decades, died on 7 February 2017. He was 71.
Hatch originated the role of the heroic Captain Apollo in the series' first incarnation in 1978, a portrayal that garnered him a Golden Globe Awards nomination for Best Actor in a Television Series the following year. He also appeared in the show's critically-acclaimed reboot beginning in 2005 as populist political leader Tom Zarek.
In the years between the two versions of the series, Hatch wrote five books set in the original Galactica universe and also produced Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, a short film he shopped to Universal Studios in hopes of reviving the franchise prior to the reboot (which eventually aired on the Syfy channel in the U.S.).
Later in his career, Hatch also played the Klingon captain Kharn in Axanar, a Star Trek fan film. The film's writer and producer, Alec Peters, also confirmed the actor and acting coach's death in a statement and attributed Hatch's passing to pancreatic cancer:
[Three] weeks ago I found out he had stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. We knew he had little time left, but this is quite more sudden than we thought.
Richard was in good spirits when I visited him 2 weeks ago. He knew his time was short, but was comforted by the fact that his son would be taken care of.
Richard was a dear friend and a staunch supporter of Axanar. Kharn was literally one of his favorite roles from his 50+ year acting career. We will all miss him a great deal.
Earlier in his career, Hatch also appeared on the soap opera All My Children, the Depression-era television drama The Waltons, and the detective series The Streets of San Francisco, replacing Michael Douglas as one of the show's leads in the latter series.
Hatch is survived by a son, Paul.