Growing up, I wasn’t supposed to watch soap operas. Let me ask a rhetorical question: During the summer, how do you stop teens from watching said soap operas. You can’t and we watched which is where all the girls fell in love with Richard Hatch.
All My Children was in its infancy in the late 60s/early 70s with stories that were hitting my age group close to our hearts. We were teens and the “teens” on the show spoke to us. When Tara and Phillip, fell in love, we loved Phillip also. Richard Hatch played Phillip Brent with a sincerity that came through the screens and reach all of us. When the decided to address the Vietnam War and send Phillip off to fight, well that hit home. All the teens I grew up with knew of at least one family who had lost a loved one to the war. So when the show wrote that Phillip had died, not only his television mother but all of us went into shock.
I followed Richard Hatch’s career to Battlestar Galatica“. Richard was Captain Apollo and the hero of the piece. He was determined, brave, and fearless. Plus, after losing his wife (during the pilot no less), he became a caring father. I will always remember the “Ship of Lights” episode. That one pointed out just how important the Apollo character was to the show and to the theme of goodness.
I watched Richard on shows like Streets of San Francisco. He never seemed to want the star treatment. He came across as humble and caring. He was a quiet man who didn’t seek fame. To me he should have served as a role model to those who came after him.
Rest in peace Richard Hatch. You were a gentleman and respected. Your wisdom came through to my generation and I hope others see it too.