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I first met Glen A. Larson in 1979, when he wanted me to do a show called Magnum, P.I., which was a nice position to be in. Glen, who died on Nov. 14 at age 77, was one of those guys I knew of as a giant in our industry–he had already created Battlestar Galactica and the medical drama Quincy, M.E.–and I was really flattered.

At one point we were talking about some problems I had with the script, and he said I should come see him in Hawaii, where the show took place and where he had a house. I said I couldn’t because I was taking care of my teenage son. He said, “Well, bring him!” I said he would get bored, and he said, “Have him bring a friend.” He really wanted me there, so I went. Money seemed to be no object–we went out to dinner every night that week.

It was the beginning of a friendship that lasted for many years as he created shows like Knight Rider and The Fall Guy. Glen had a gracious quality and a wonderful sense of irony about life. Every time he called, I was happy to call him back, and every time I saw him, I was happy to see him. I saw him for the last time about a year ago, and he seemed fine. The news was shocking–guys like Glen you think will live forever.

Selleck is an Emmy- and Golden Globe–winning actor

This appears in the December 01, 2014 issue of TIME.

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