Richard Hatch, Battlestar’s Greatest Champion

February 7, 2017


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.richardhatchbattlestar

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)


One comment

  1. This definitely felt like the end of an era when I heard the news. I never got to meet him, but I am grateful to him for childhood memories, and then also for unintentionally laying the foundation for the re-imagined series to ever come to life, even though it didn’t happen as he’s originally conceived.

    He was smart and gracious enough to recognize where the Battlestar ship was sailing in 2003, and unlike some people I could name, saw how the new show was very different yet well-done and relevant to its time. And he was big enough to let his mind be changed. As you said, he was always BSG’s biggest champion, and it kind of broke my heart when they killed him off as a villain.

    I’ve lost track lately of what he’d been doing since BSG, except seeing him at the occasional con. But in the articles after his death, I read that he made a movie that has Leah Cairns and Walter Koenig in it, that is supposed to be coming out this year, called Diminuendo, and it sounds interesting. I hope it still comes out.

    In the meantime, I shall go back and watch all his great Season 1 and Season 2 episodes. 🙂

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