'Hill Street Blues' Star Daniel J. Travanti on "Big Hugger" Steven Bochco: Generous But Tough

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"When he hugged you, it was like he was putting a cloak over you," the actor says of the prolific showrunner, who died Sunday at age 74.

Bochco was a rabbi, a maven. That was his inclination. He liked having people confide in him, and he helped so many people quietly. He was always generous about spreading the wealth of opportunities to women and other people.

But he was also tough. You didn’t change his dialogue. There was an actor who was changing words on the set, and Steven came down and said, “If what you say is better than what I wrote, I’ll let you change it. But it’s not. So stick to the script.”

But he said it with love. He was always delightful. He was a big hugger. And when he hugged you, it was like he was putting a cloak over you.

We had a falling-out toward the end — I won’t say over what; I’ll just say that I was right and so was he — but he will always be in my heart. He changed my career.

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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