Donald P. Bellisario life and biography

Donald P. Bellisario picture, image, poster

Donald P. Bellisario biography

Date of birth : 1935-08-08
Date of death : -
Birthplace : North Charleroi, Pennsylvania
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-05-24
Credited as : Author, Battlestar Galactica, created Airwolf

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Donald Paul Bellisario is an American television producer and screenwriter who created and sometimes wrote episodes for the TV series Magnum, P.I., Airwolf, Quantum Leap, JAG, and NCIS. He often included military veterans as characters.

After working under such television producers as Glen A. Larson, Bellisario adopted some of their production techniques, most notably utilizing a small “pool” of actors which he uses for his many productions.

He has created several successful TV series, including Magnum, P.I., Airwolf, Quantum Leap, JAG, and NCIS. Less-known creations include Tales of the Gold Monkey, Tequila & Bonetti, and First Monday. He was also a writer and producer on Black Sheep Squadron and the original Battlestar Galactica. He wrote and directed the 1988 feature film Last Rites.

One common theme running through the majority Bellisario's work is the tendency for the protagonist to be a current or former member of the United States armed forces. Examples are Tom Selleck's character in Magnum, P.I., Thomas Magnum, who is a United States Naval Academy graduate, former SEAL officer and Vietnam veteran; Jan-Michael Vincent's character Stringfellow Hawke a top helicopter combat pilot in Airwolf, also a Vietnam veteran and is still looking for his brother who is missing in action; Commander Harmon “Harm” Rabb, Jr., the main character of JAG, who is also a Naval Academy graduate and former Naval Aviator; and NCIS's main character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, who is a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant and Scout Sniper. Although the character Dr. Sam Beckett was not in the armed forces, the other main character in Quantum Leap, former Naval Aviator, Vietnam prisoner of war and retired Rear Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci, was. Another connection that some of his main characters have is 8 August birthdays. Notably, the last episode of Quantum Leap takes place on 8 August 1953, Sam Beckett's birthday, and the reverse of the last two digits of Bellisario's own birth year. Another common theme through Bellisario's work is heavy religious undertones and comparisons.

Bellisario received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004, which he showed off on "JAG" episode (Trojan Horse) in season 9.

In an interview with Sci-Fi Channel in the late 1990s, Bellisario said he was inspired to create Quantum Leap in 1988 after reading a novel about time travel. His service alongside John F. Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was the basis for a two-hour (two-part in reruns) episode of Quantum Leap, "Lee Harvey Oswald" (the fifth season premiere, originally aired 22 September 1992). The episode supports the theory that Oswald carried out the assassination on his own, something Bellisario believed he was capable of after serving with him.

Belisarius Productions, based in Los Angeles, serves as the main vehicle for Bellisario's creations, drawing its name from the Roman general Belisarius, of whose name Bellisario's own family name is an Italian-language variant. The company's production credits include Airwolf, Quantum Leap, JAG, NCIS and Magnum, P.I.

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