Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Tribute 2017: Richard Hatch (1945 - 2017)
The press is now reporting the death of Richard Hatch (1945 - 2017), the actor (and gentleman) who portrayed Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979), and Tom Zarek in the rebooted version of the same property (2004 - 2009).
Richard Hatch had a long and illustrious career in Hollywood, starring in Santa Barbara (1990), and The Streets of San Francisco (1977), and guest-starring in series such as Fantasy Island, T.J. Hooker, Riptide, MacGyver and even Baywatch.
In terms of genre, Mr. Hatch also starred in the movie Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983) and spearheaded his own property: The Great War of Magellan (2005).
But it is for playing Captain Apollo that Mr. Hatch is best loved, at least by my generation. Mr. Hatch brought such sincerity to that role, and made Apollo a character worth admiring.
I had the great pleasure of getting to know Richard Hatch at the Main Mission Convention in New York City, in the fall of 2000. My wife and I attended dinner at a Chinese restaurant with Mr. Hatch, Destinies host Dr. Howard Margolin, and film director Kevin Connor (Motel Hell), among others.
We walked several blocks back to the hotel together and -- I've never forgotten it -- Mr. Hatch exuberantly jumped out into the street, acting out some crazy story. My wife pulled him back onto the curb just in time, as a yellow cab raced by. I told her, "you just saved Captain Apollo's life." Undaunted, Mr. Hatch went back to (exuberantly) sharing his story. The man seemed to possess boundless energy and enthusiasm.
After the convention, Mr. Hatch and I stayed in touch, and spoke on the phone several times over the next few years. We looked for awhile, for some project we could work on together, possibly one of his Battlestar books. It was an honor to know him, and to call him friend.
I have been planning for 2018 a look back here on the blog at Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979), in celebration of its 40th anniversary. I will still do so, but it will be bittersweet indeed to reach that benchmark without the man who made Captain Apollo such a beacon of decency, kindness, humanity and bravery.
Rest in Peace, Richard Hatch.