Stephen Joseph Cannell was born in Los Angeles on February 5, 1941, and grew up in nearby Pasadena, where he eventually settled with his wife, Marcia. Cannell’s father, Joseph, was very successful in the interior decorating business and instilled in his son a strong work ethic and a good business sense. Stephen’s mother, Carolyn Baker Cannell, was active in business as well, serving on the boards of several corporations.
Cannell’s learning disability, dyslexia, caused him to repeat the first and fourth grades in school, and he eventually had to attend a remedial school. He excelled in sports, however, and was popular, always part of the in crowd. He attended the University of Oregon, where a creative writing professor encouraged him to write. After graduation in 1964, he returned to Los Angeles and married Marcia C. Finch, with whom he fathered two sons and two daughters; one of his sons died at the age of fifteen. Cannell began working for his father and writing after work each day and on the weekends. After five years, he finally sold a television script, an episode of It Takes a Thief (1968-1970), and followed that success with scripts for Mission: Impossible (1988-1990) and Ironside (1967-1975). He was hired as story editor and head writer on Adam-12 (1968-1975), then worked as executive producer for Roy Huggins, who became his mentor. Cannell quickly expanded his activities while continuing to write scripts....
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