Richard Hatch Passes at 71

It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the passing of Richard Hatch.  The Battlestar Galactica star died after a battle with pancreatic cancer this afternoon.

This is a little personal to me and to members of the staff here at Word of the Nerd.  We had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing him twice.  Once at DragonCon in 2015, then on a special episode of the Word of the Nerd Podcast in early 2016.  He left a lasting impression on those of us fortunate to have had worked with him.


Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek from Battlestar Galactica (2004)
Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek from Battlestar Galactica (2004)

In preparing for his appearance on our podcast, he was so upbeat and friendly that you couldn’t help feeling relaxed around him.  He had a positivity about him that not only inspired me in the brief time I spent talking to him, there was no doubt that he left everyone he met with that same feeling of inspiration.  Even over a video Skype call, you could feel his enthusiasm and passion for everything he did.  I have often said of Richard Hatch, that if you didn’t come away from meeting him with an almost magical inspirational feeling, then you’ve got something broken inside you.  Links to our podcast and video interviews with Richard are posted below.

Richard Hatch began his career in 1971 with a role on All My Children.  That led to a number of other roles during the 70s and 80s on shows such as Hawaii Five-O, CHiPs, Fantasy Island, Dynasty, Murder She Wrote, The Love Boat, T.J. Hooker, Baywatch, and MacGyver.  However, his most famous role was that of Captain Apollo on the 1979 sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica for which he nominated for a Golden Globe.  Having only lasted one season, the show developed a cult following and spawned a spin-off series Galactica 1980 (in which Hatch did not appear in) and a complete reboot on the SyFy Channel from 2003 to 2009.  Hatch had a recurring role as Tom Zarek, the political rival of President Laura Roslin played by Mary McDonnell.

Richard Hatch as Klingon Supreme Commander Kharn from Prelude To Axanar
Klingon Supreme Commander Kharn from Prelude To Axanar

Alec Peters, creator of Star Trek Axanar had this to say about his passing, “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.”

He was in a way a Renascence Man, having been an actor, author, director, producer, and teacher.  He wrote five Galactica novels in the 90s that led up to a spirited attempt at resurrecting Battlestar Galactica.  He assembled a number of original BSG cast members for the project to convince Universal Studios to back a feature film.  After pouring a great deal of time and his own money into producing a trailer for the potential film, Universal turned it down.  He was quite public in his disappointment and even spoke out against Ron Moore’s remake of the series in 2003.  After developing a mutual respect for one another, Moore offered him a recurring role on the series in 2004.  In addition to his many other pursuits, he taught an acting workshop in Los Angeles that he was quite proud of and talked about often.

One of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met, Richard Hatch will be missed by all who knew him.



Word of the Nerd Podcast Episode 54


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About the author

Bryan Brown

The founder of Word of the Nerd and semi-fearless leader. Bryan is an all around nerd, from Star Trek to comic books to collecting action figures. If it's nerd related, he's into it or at least has an opinion on it.

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