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Larry DiTillio, a genre-based television writer most known for co-creating the character of She-Ra with J. Michael Straczynski, has passed away. The news was confirmed by Straczynski in a lengthy Facebook post. Straczynski also created Babylon 5 on which DiTillio served as a writer.
"About an hour ago, I learned that writer and all around family guy Larry DiTillio had passed away after a long illness. He was a good and kind man, and I wanted to tell you a little about him," wrote Straczynski. "I met Larry while working on He-Man at Filmation Studios. Technically, five days after I started working there because I’d never worked on a TV show before, and buckled down to try and learn as much as I could as fast as I could, and never had the fortitude to go across the hall to introduce myself because it was clear that Larry was the brains behind much of the He-Man mythos. He was a world builder and a fierce creative force, so I wanted to stake out my territory and earn the courage to talk to him."
A member of the Writers Guild of America since the early 1970s, DiTillio's other writing credits can be found in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Rock 'n' Wrestling, Centurions, Galaxy High School, Bionic Six, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future,The Real Ghostbusters, Swamp Thing, Deadly Nightmares, Hypernauts, and Beast Wars: Transformers.
"[It was] sheer idiot luck," DiTillio once told Marv Wolfman on breaking into the entertainment industry. "After 6 years of film school (4 at NYU, 2 at UCLA Grad) I was stupid enough to go door-to-door on Sunset Boulevard looking for an agent. Most of them threw me out with horrified looks. One was so amused, she agreed to read my scripts. She became my agent; a few months later she got me a deal to write a movie and presto I was in the business. 13 years later I was actually able to make a living at it."
In addition to writing for the initial He-Man series in the 1980s, DiTillio returned to the IP in the 2002 reboot, Masters of the Universe vs. the Snake Men. However, She-Ra remains, perhaps, his biggest contribution to the Filmation mythos.
"Filmation didn't have a lot of 'directives.' Once they made the deal with Mattel, they just kind of left us to figure it out," Straczynski told SYFY WIRE in an interview published last month. "One of the things Larry [DiTillio] and I decided, very early on, was that She-Ra couldn't just be 'He-Man with boobs.' The show had to go deeper than that, especially given that we were creating this for a female lead character."
DiTillio's legacy lives on in the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power series currently on Netflix. Created by Noelle Stevenson, the critically-acclaimed animated reboot will receive a second season April 26.