Magnum, P.I. And Knight Rider Producer Joel Rogosin Has Died Due To Coronavirus

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Knight Rider and Magnum, P.I. are two of the iconic television series of the 1980s, and now one of the producers responsible for bringing them to the small screen has passed away due to the coronavirus pandemic. Joel Rogosin, who was prolific throughout the entertainment industry for more than four decades, died at the age of 87.

Joel Rogosin died at 87-years-old on Tuesday, April 21 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund's nursing facility in Woodland Hills, California. His death is due to complications from coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19. He is the fifth person at the facility to die due to coronavirus complications.

Joel Rogosin got his start in showbiz all the way back in 1957, working as a Columbia Pictures messenger. It only took him until 1961 to begin producing 77 Sunset Strip, which was then the #1 show on TV. Rogosin went on to produce several high-profile projects on the small screen. One of his most acclaimed projects was Ironside, which ran from 1967-1975, about a San Francisco police consultant who was paralyzed from the waist down following a shooting.

He went on to become a producer for two iconic series: Magnum, P.I. (which was rebooted for CBS in 2018) in 1982 and Knight Rider (starring David Hasselhoff) from 1983-1984. Joel Rogosin was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series three times throughout his career. His first and second nominations were for Ironside, in 1970 and 1971. The third was for Magnum, P.I. in 1983. Rogosin was also known for Surfside 6 (1960-1962), The Virginian (1962-1971), Longstreet (1971-1972), and The Blue Knight (1975-1976), among others.

Motion Picture and Television Fund President and CEO Bob Beitcher released a statement (via Variety) honoring Joel Rogosin's legacy in the television industry:

They didn’t call them showrunners back then, but back in the days of 3 networks and nothing else they were the backbone of the TV industry. There weren’t writers rooms and long conversations with multiple creatives and a laundry list of producers; there were actual producers like Joel responsible for making it work every day, overseeing the development and writing of all the scripts, hiring and prepping the directors, casting each episode, overseeing all the editing and scoring, and approving the final cut and color correction.

Joel Rogosin is survived by his wife, Deborah, of 67 years, as well as three daughters and five grandchildren. Tragically, Rogosin is the fifth resident at the MPTF facility to die due to coronavirus over the past two weeks. There are 162 residents at MPTF, of whom 16 tested positive for COVID-19. Two are hospitalized, while 14 are in an isolation wing. Nine of the 400 MPTF employees tested positive for COVID-19 as well.

Our thoughts here at CinemaBlend are with the friends, family, and loved ones of Joel Rogosin in this difficult time.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).