Dave Bell Dave Bell

Documentarian and and reality television pioneer Dave Bell has died. He passed away at his home in Leucadia, Calif. on Friday after a battle with cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 84.

Bell worked in television for over 50 years. Over the course of his half-century career, he helped pave the way for true crime docu-series, won a Peabody and an Emmy and he mentored NBCUniversal Cable chairman Bonnie Hammer.

"Dave was ahead of his time as a social documentarian who walked the talk on women's issues, equally passionate onscreen and off," Hammer said in a statement. "He was the best kind of mentor, providing the space to learn and grow but always there with support and advice when you needed it. And he embodied the qualities that matter most in any business and in life: generosity, fairness, wisdom and, above all, kindness."

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Bell founded Dave Bell Associates in the 60s. The banner was responsible for the Missing ... Have You Seen This Person documentary series, which became the basis of NBC's iconic Unsolved Mysteries. Their other famous titles include HBO's, Hooker, Skinheads and Asylum. He also left his mark with the syndicated docu-series LAPD: Life on the Beat and Missing: Reward.

The producer also expanded his talents to film. He executive produced the Peabody-winning Do You Remember Love starring Joanne Woodward and Richard Kiley. He was also behind Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek's The Long Walk Home (1990).

Bell is survived by his wive Alice, four children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.