'Cops' Creator John Langley Dead at 78 of an Apparent Heart Attack

Cops was cancelled in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis

John Langley
John Langley. Photo: Todd Oren/Getty

John Langley, the creator and executive producer of Cops, has died. He was 78.

Langley died on Saturday of an apparent heart attack in Baja, Mexico, his representatives have confirmed to PEOPLE.

Langley was competing in the Coast to Coast Ensenada-San Felipe 250 off-road race. TMZ adds that his son Zak was with him at the time.

Langley is now survived by his wife Maggie, sons Zak and Morgan, daughters Sarah Langley Dews and Jennifer Blair, and seven grandchildren.

Born in Oklahoma City in 1943, Langley began his career in the early 1960s, serving in the intelligence unit of the U.S. Army before later graduating from Cal State Dominguez Hills and attending U.C. Irvine for grad school after, per Variety.

Later in life, Langley began his stint in reality television with his 1986 special American Vice: The Doping of a Nation. The project showed live drug arrests on primetime television.

John Langley
Jacob Andrzejczak/Getty

He then went on to produce various series, including Inside American Jail, Las Vegas Jailhouse, Street Patrol, and Undercover Stings, as well as documentaries including Terrorism: Target USA and Who Killed JFK?

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But in the late 1980s, Langley got his big break when he and production partner Malcolm Barbour were able to get Cops on the air after trying for many years to find a home network for the show.

In its inaugural years, the series was nominated for Emmy awards in the outstanding informational series category four times.

Langley also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February 2011 for his contributions to the entertainment industry.

Back in 2009, Langley told the TV Academy, "I'm a kid of the '60s. I'm sort of anti-authoritarian by nature. If you told me I was going to do a show about cops, I would have said, 'What am I going to call it, Pigs?'"

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Cops was originally broadcast by Fox for the series' first 25 seasons before it was cancelled in May 2013 and later picked up by Spike TV — which became the Paramount Network in 2018.

The series was later canceled again in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. "Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don't have any current or future plans for it to return," a network spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline at the time.

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