Steven Bochco, TV creator of "Hill Street Blues," "NYPD Blue," dead at 74

Steven Bochco, a TV producer/writer behind many hit shows over the years, has died at age 74, according to a representative at Steven Bochco Productions. The spokesperson said Bochco died peacefully Sunday morning at 10:20 a.m.

"Steven fought cancer with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor," Phillip Arnold said in a statement provided to CBS News. "He died peacefully in his sleep with his family close by."

Bochco's TV credits include a wide array of programs such as "Hill Street Blues," L.A. Law," "Doogie Howser, M.D." and "NYPD Blue." Many of them were shows related to the law genre.

Steven Bochco
Actors Dennis Franz and Jacqueline Obradors and show creator Steven Bochco attend a "NYPD Blue" press conference for the Television Crictics Association winter tour on Jan. 20, 2005, at the 20th Century Fox studio lot in Los Angeles, Calif. Getty

The Associated Press writes that "Hill Street Blues" challenged, even confounded the meager audience that sampled it in 1981. Then after critical acclaim, the series began to connect with viewers, while scoring a history-making 27 Emmy nominations its first year.

Bochco has won 10 primetime Emmy awards throughout his career including four Peabody awards. The AP reports that Bochco once remembered a fan telling him that "Hill Street Blues" was the first TV series with a memory.

"That's what I always thought of myself doing in the context of TV: craft a show that over time would have a memory," he told AP in an interview two years ago. "I sensed that very early in my career. It just took me another 10 or 12 years to get to the point where I earned the right to take a shot at it."

Bochco grew up in Manhattan and got his first big break writing the screenplay for the 1972 sci-film film "Silent Running." But it was that project, according to AP, that shifted his sights from the big screen to television.

He was also the author of a self-published memoir "Truth Is a Total Defense: My Fifty Years in Television."

Details about a memorial service will be forthcoming and the family requests privacy during this time.