Emmy Award winner and Starsky & Hutch creator William Blinn has died at the age of 83.
Blinn passed from natural causes on Thursday at an assisted living community in Burbank, Calif., his daughter, Anneliese Johnson, told The Hollywood Reporter.
In addition to Starsky, which ran for four seasons and produced a total of 93 episodes, Blinn developed Eight Is Enough, Hunter, The Interns, The Rookies and The MacKenzies of Paradise Cove. He also lent his writing chops to critically acclaimed projects like Roots, Fame and Brian’s Song. He was nominated for five Emmys throughout his career, winning for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for Brian’s Song in 1972 (which also earned him a Peabody Award), and again for his work adapting Roots in 1977.
He served as a co-writer on Purple Rain, the musical drama starring the global superstar Prince. Blinn met the singer before accepting the job, and wondered how he could pull off a screenplay about a young, flamboyant leader of a Minneapolis band called The Revolution. That is, until Prince took him for a drive and played him “When Doves Cry,” a song the musician had specifically written for the movie.
“He played the song for me, and he had the speaker system from heaven,” Blinn told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2004. “For someone my age, I like rock music, but I don’t like a lot of it. Nevertheless, [the song] was melodic and played with great intensity. I said, ‘Man, you’ve certainly got a foundation. This can pay off at the end.’”
In addition to his aforementioned daughter, he is survived by a son, Chris, and his grandchildren, Mackenzie, Eden, Zachary and Zoe.