Although he starred in the show for only one season, television actor Richard Hatch annointed himself the ambassador to cult sci fi series "Battlestar: Galactica. " After years of trying to resurrect interest in the idea, through novels and a self-produced short film, Hatch was rewarded with a recurring part on the show's new incarnation on the Sci Fi Channel.
Hatch was born in Santa Monica, California, and although he studied piano as a child, his primary interest was sports. It wasn't until a high school presentation on the assassination of President Kennedy that he developed a leaning toward performing. After attending Harbor College in San Pedro, Calif., he joined a Los Angeles repertory theater company, with whom he traveled to New York City. He performed in off-Broadway plays such as "Song of Walt Whitman" and "Young Rebels," and directed as well.
In 1970, Hatch made his television debut on the ABC daytime soap opera "All My Children," where he played the role of Philip Brent. He went on to star in the Civil-War-era drama "The Hatfields & The McCoys," (ABC, 1975). Soon thereafter, he played Detective Dan Robbins in the ABC cop drama "The Streets of San Francisco" after series star Michael Douglas departed in 1976.
Hatch took the part of Capt. Apollo in "Battlestar: Galactica," an ABC sci-fi series created by prolific producer Glen A. Larson. The premise - a wagon train of humans, fleeing from evil Cylon robots, embark on a interstellar quest to find Earth - was created a decade earlier, but the special-effects filled show capitalized on the burgeoning interest in science fiction at the time thanks to movies like "Star Wars." (1977).
Hatch's noble, earnest Apollo complemented the reckless demeanor of co-star Dirk Benedict's Starbuck, and meshed with Lorne Greene's stately performance of Adama, his father. But the expensive show began to slide in the ratings, and it was cancelled after its first year. Hatch's character did not figure into a re-conceived version, "Galactica: 1980," which also didn't survive long. Hatch went on to countless guest starring roles, continuing his ABC trend with appearances on "The Love Boat," "Dynasty" and "MacGyver." He then took parts in a number of low-profile action, thriller and sci-fi genre features, such as "Heated Vengeance" (1985), "Delta Force Commando II" (1991) and "Unseen Evil" (1999). By 2000, however, the name "Richard Hatch" was more closely associated with the Machiavellian nudist who won $1 million on American television's first "Survivor" season than the former sci fi icon.
A mainstay at sci fi conventions Hatch noted an ongoing interest in "Galactica," and penned a trilogy of novels based on characters and events from the show. The books were successful enough to spur continued installments, and Hatch went on to write a comic book series based on the show as well.
As nostalgia for the show and remakes in general began to rise, Hatch spearheaded an effort to re-launch the show, and financed a four-minute "trailer," including some former stars of the show and featuring computer-generated effects, to entice Hollywood. Although Sci Fi's critically hailed and highly rated re-launch of the show was completely independent of Hatch and his efforts, he did land a recurring part as the once-incarcerated, charismatic political figure Tom Zarek for his commitment to keeping the franchise alive. Initially written as an homage to Hatch, thanks to the actor's strong performance Zarek became a key figure on the series, posing a decided political threat for President Roslin (Mary McDonnell).