Sad news broke today with the announcement that Battlestar Galactica actor Richard Hatch has died. Hatch had been suffering from pancreatic cancer and died in hospice care in Los Angeles at the age of 71.
Despite a long running career in television Hatch is mostly famous for his roles on Battlestar Galactica, both the 1978 original and the 2003 remake. In his role in the 1978 version of the space opera series he played Captain Apollo, one half of a duo completed by Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck. The series was ultimately not successful, Hatch tried for over 2 decades to revive the series. An attempt that culminated in a trailer that, although spectacular, was rejected by Universal Studios. Hatch had reportedly gone into debt by his attempt at creating the trailer.
In 2003 BSG was instead remade by Ronald D. Moore. The gritty retelling didn’t contain suave characters such as Apollo or Starbuck, but Hatch did accept a role. This was as Tom Zarek, terrorist turned politician, and who eventually became a terrorist again. What was supposed to be a small role intended as a way to mend old wounds become much larger. Tom Zarek eventually became the principal villain, for several episodes.
Hatch was a large figure in the BSG community. He co-authored tie-in novels, comic books and hosted various conventions. I consider both his roles as Apollo and Zarek as striking. If not for the differences in character Hatch managed to convey. A lot of fans might pick his portrayal as Captain Apollo as the most memorable, but I think that of Tom Zarek was dramatically more artistic.
Richard Hatch has played in many TV shows, from Santa Barbara to Murder She Wrote. He also had a role in Star Trek Axanar. At this moment it is not certain if he will be recast or if filming had already been completed. The production of Axanar has been long and troubled. Also Richard Hatch has a number of ongoing projects listed in IMDB. We will learn over the coming weeks when and if the actor will have posthumous roles.