If you’re reading this blog, I don’t need to explain to you who Richard Hatch was. He died today, and the fan culture community is reeling with the loss of not just another icon but of a man who championed our culture, and our show in particular. He wasn’t just one of the stars of the 1978 edition of BSG as Captain Apollo, he almost single-handedly kept the fan base going in the years before the re-imagined BSG hit the airwaves in 2004. He tried to get his own version called “Second Coming” off the ground in the late 1990s but when that didn’t work, he was convinced to join the new series as Tom Zarek. It may have started as stunt casting, but it was a role that showed many of us how truly good an actor he was. To soothe my own sense of loss, it is the Tom Zarek episodes I will be re-watching.
There will be many stories shared tonight that begin with the words “I was lucky enough to meet Richard Hatch at…” and continuing to describe a fond memory. Fans loved him. He understood not just what fan culture had done for him, but what fans were. He got it. He got us.
I spoke to Richard on the phone about 10 years ago, attempting to apologize on behalf of a local group of fans that had inadvertently insulted him. He was incredibly gracious in accepting my apology and assurances that there were indeed many local fans who were eager to meet him and would love to sponsor a subsequent visit. We had a wonderful conversation about my city and it’s fan culture. We were never able to get him to make that return visit, but when I met him in Atlanta several years later he did recall the conversation. Again, he was such a gentleman.
I’m going to have to dig my old Colonial Warrior uniform out of the box. Raise a glass of ambrosia and toast a man I was lucky enough to have met.
RIP Richard Hatch (1945-2017)