I was saddened - and not a little shocked - by the news of the passing of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA's Richard Hatch last month. This is the first opportunity Starlogged has had to mark his passing.
I've unearthed this pre-BATTLESTAR 1977 article from a copy of a celeb-packed American supermarket tabloid.
Hatch was subbing for Michael Douglas on the final year of THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO at the time of publication, although Larson may already have been courting him for his new space epic as Battlestar was already deep in pre-production - as a series of occasional teleflicks - at the time.
I've always thought that Hatch was pretty underserved by the script writers on the first / only season. Despite having star billing, Dirk Benedict's Starbuck quickly emerged as being the more interesting character and grabbed the lion's share of the numerous iterations of the 'lost warrior' plot that cluttered the run. It didn't help that one of his few solo episodes was a blatant reworking of SHANE (which was subsequently blatantly reworked again as an episode of TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY a few years later).
Days before he died, I happened to see Hatch in a rare movie starring role in CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN, the 1981 misfire which I doubt did Hatch's acting resume many favours. The film itself is OK, thanks mostly to a strong cast (Angie Dickinson, Roddy McDowall and a young Michelle Pfeiffer) but suffers from too much enforced quirkiness and pratfalls. It also veers into un-PC territory by casting Peter Ustinov as Chan and Hatch as his mixed race 'number one grandson'.
Hatch was never keen to sign aboard the Battlestar (at least until he realised that filming was about to begin and he could name his price) but did manage to make it into a lifetime's career despite only shooting one season. In addition to the usual conventions and personal appearances, Hatch filled the (rather large) gaps between acting gigs by penning a series of original novels and some stories for the various comic book versions. He famously also went out and shot a trailer for a mooted revival despite not having any rights or ownership claims. His reasoning: the studio bosses couldn't envisage what an updated show might look like... so he set out (with the help of fellow cast members and assorted fans) to put together a presentation reel.
He had been slated to make an appearance in the aborted early Noughties revival and - of course - returned to the franchise for the remake. A role which finally stretched him as an actor.