By in Movies & TV

Robert Urich, A Man Gone Too Soon

A native of Toronto, Ohio, Robert Urich credited his longevity in acting to being raised in a blue-collar family where hard work and respect for others were important principles.

His acting career spanned three decades before his death at age 55 of synovial sarcoma. It's impressive to consider that despite his death in mid-life, Urich holds the record for having the most regular roles in TV series, 30 of them.

Many of his roles were of the action variety, for which he was well-suited having played four years of football at Florida State University on a scholarship. Urich graduated from there with a BA in Broadcast and Communication, then attended Michigan State University where he attained a Master of Arts in Communication.

You may remember another actor who played football for FSU some years before Urich: Burt Reynolds. The two men met when they acted in the stage play "The Rainmaker" in 1972. Reynolds took Urich under his wing -- literally -- inviting the younger man into his home. A recommendation from Reynolds to producer Aaron Spelling resulted in Urich's first TV series, "S.W.A.T."

I remember Urich first for his role in the sitcom "Soap," then "Spenser: For Hire" and "Vega$." His boyish good looks and a smile that seemed always ready to beam caught my attention. He seemed as comfortable with comedy as he did with serious roles. If you're interested in a trip down memory lane, Youtube has these offerings: " Spenser: For Hire , " Vega$ " and " Soap ."


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Image Credit » by kellierae

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VinceSummers wrote on October 2, 2015, 1:20 PM

I never knew him. Or, if I did, I am unaware of it. I'll have to look him up. You rather caught me off-guard when you referred to his longevity being attributable to something, then he dies at only 55. That seemed crazy. But I'm thinking you mean his longevity in acting. ETA: No, I just checked. I never knew him. But that's not a surprise. I don't watch much modern programming.

Last Edited: October 2, 2015, 1:21 PM

Feisty56 wrote on October 2, 2015, 1:22 PM

Thanks, VinceSummers , I need to edit the post to make that more clear. : )

markgraham wrote on October 2, 2015, 1:30 PM

I know I was sad when he died awhile ago, but my favorite show of his was "Spenser for Hire" and I have even read some of Robert B. Parker's books that the series was based on.

JohnRoberts wrote on October 2, 2015, 1:34 PM

I remember Urich well. He was a prolific television actor who had one series after another. Who can forget SWAT and Dan Tanna? His widow was actress Heather Menzies.

lexiconlover wrote on October 2, 2015, 1:39 PM

I recognize his name, but can't picture him.

Feisty56 wrote on October 2, 2015, 2:04 PM

I enjoyed Urich in Spenser: For Hire, as well as Avery Brooks. What a duo they made!

Feisty56 wrote on October 2, 2015, 2:06 PM

I didn't realize his wife was an actress. He had a few family members who have gone into acting. Between his acting and then his activity and research for cancer, I always had the feeling he was a good person.

Feisty56 wrote on October 2, 2015, 2:08 PM

You're a little too young to have seen him in his heydey, but I think if you look at one of the YouTube links, you'll have an "ah ha" moment when you see him.

paigea wrote on October 2, 2015, 3:07 PM

He was a good actor. I didn't know he died of cancer.

MaggieD wrote on October 2, 2015, 8:27 PM

He was so talented.

CoralLevang wrote on October 2, 2015, 10:34 PM

He was a very talented actor. He wasn't very old when he died. That seems forever ago.

Feisty56 wrote on October 2, 2015, 11:32 PM

After Urich wa diagnosed with the synovial sarcoma (cancer of the fluid in the joints), he was active with the American Cancer Society as a spokesman.

Feisty56 wrote on October 2, 2015, 11:33 PM

He was, and died at a relatively young age.

Feisty56 wrote on October 2, 2015, 11:35 PM

It does seem a long time ago, doesn't it? He came to my mind when I was trying to go to sleep last night. I could place his face and his first name, but the rest was a puzzle until I could search the Web today. He actually died in 2002, which wasn't all that long ago.

wolfgirl569 wrote on October 2, 2015, 11:42 PM

I had heard the name before, but I never watched any of the shows you mentioned so did not place it as an actor

Feisty56 wrote on October 2, 2015, 11:49 PM

He really was quite a guy: athleticism, brains, acting skills. And Ohio born and raised. : )

LoudMan wrote on October 3, 2015, 6:04 AM

I remember "Soap." I fell hard for that kind of comedy.