Actor. Born Robert Michael Urich in Toronto, Ohio, he was an athlete in high school, and won a football scholarship to Florida State University where he earned a BA in communications. He then transferred to Michigan State where he earned an MA in broadcast research. He debuted as a television actor in 1972 with a guest role on the series ‘The FBI.’ Other bit roles followed until he broke out with the continuing character of Jim Street in the 1975 – 1976 season of ‘SWAT,’ followed by that of the ill fated Peter Campbell in the quirky ‘Soap’ in 1977. One of his best known roles, Dan Tana, was introduced on a 1978 episode of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ before being spun off into his own series, ‘Vega$’ which proved popular and ran from 1978 – 1981. His work in feature films included a cult favorite, ‘The Ice Pirates’ in 1984 and ‘Turk 182′ in 1985, but his second signature role was another television series, ‘Spenser: For Hire’ which ran from 1985 – 1988, reprising the role of Spenser for several television movies in 1993, 1994, and 1995. Urich won a Cable Ace Award in 1992 as host for his work with National Geographic’s ‘Explorer’ series, and a 1992 Emmy award for narrating the Explorer film ‘U-Boats: Terror on Our Shores.’ In 1996, he began production of a new series, ‘Lazarus Man,’ that same year he was diagnosed with Synovial Cell Sarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer. Urich underwent surgery and treatment during which he spoke very publicly about his illness and was the named national spokesman for the American Cancer Society in 1998. He was awarded the Gilda Radner Courage Award from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He also accepted roles in numerous television series and made for television movies such as ‘The Nanny’ in 1997; ‘Love Boat: The Next Wave’ in 1998; ‘Miracle on the 17th Green’ in 1999; ‘For Love of Olivia’ in 2001; and his final performance, ‘Night of the Wolf’ in 2002. He succumbed to the illness one day after its premier on the Animal Planet Network. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 7083 Hollywood Blvd.
- December, 19, 1946
- April, 16, 2002