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Actor Richard Hatch, who originated the role of Apollo on the science fiction television series "Battlestar Galactica," died Tuesday (Feb. 7) of pancreatic cancer, according to press reports. He was 71. 

Hatch was best known for his portrayal of Captain Apollo on the original "Battlestar Galactica" TV series from 1978 to 1979. When the series was revived in 2004 he portrayed the prisoner-turned-politician Tom Zarek. More recently, Hatch appeared in the "Star Trek" fan film "Prelude to Axanar" and its sequel "Axanar" as Commander Kharn. At New York Comic Con in 2010, Hatch talked with Space.com's sister site Newsarama to discuss his science fiction work. 

Actor Richard Hatch portrayed Captain Apollo in the original version of "Battlestar Galactica," which ran from 1978-9.
Actor Richard Hatch portrayed Captain Apollo in the original version of "Battlestar Galactica," which ran from 1978-9.
Credit: Richard Hatch

"It's amazing to have been on two shows, both [were] ground-breaking," Hatch told Newsarama's Justin Tyler at the time. "This show kind of like broke the ceiling of saying sci-fi can really be character-driven. It's about something; it mirrors back and reflects what's going on in the world. Great sci-fi has always been visioniary. So, we finally got a chance to do that."

'Battlestar Galactica's' Richard Hatch Talks 'Star Trek' and Sci-Fi History

Born in Santa Monica, California, Hatch landed acted in theater before landing a role on "All My Children" in 1970, according to CNN . Other roles followed, leading up to his appearance on "Battlestar Galactica."

In addition to "Battlestar Galactica" and "Star Trek," Hatch wrote science fiction books set in the "Battlestar Galactica" universe and created his own space opera "The Great War of Magellan."

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+