Who is Robert Urich and Is He Dead or Still Alive?

Robert Urich was one of the many celebrities whose impact in the entertainment industry cannot be forgotten, even as the industry keeps evolving. His successful career in the industry spanned for three decades with starring roles in over fifteen television series. He was one of those actors who easily established a special bond with audiences and his impact would remain memorable.

While some may remember him as Spencer, following his role in 65 episodes of the three-year-long television series, Spenser for Hire, to others, he is Captain Jim Kennedy III in Love Boat: The Next Wave. There are other projects Robert took part in that he will always be remembered for. They include Magnum Force, The Ice Pirates, Turk 182, and The President’s Man: A Line in the Sand. His hard-working nature succeeded in earning him a good number of awards and nominations, including the Golden Globe and Golden Boot Awards. Read about Robert Urich’s acting career, wealth, family, and other facts below.

Robert Urich’s Biography

Born Robert Michael Urich in Toronto, Ohio, the American actor has his birth date as December 19, 1946. His parents are Cecilia Monica and John Paul Urich, he has a brother named Tom Urich who is also into acting, and he belongs to Rusyn and Slovak ethnic group.

Robert grew up as a sports enthusiast and after high school, he attended Florida State University where he was offered a football scholarship to play as a centre. He graduated from the University in 1968, receiving a degree in Radio and Television Communications. He also attended Michigan State University for his Master’s degree in Broadcast Research and Management. Not long after he ended his program at the Michigan State University, he got his very first job at WGN-TV. His first job at the Chicago-licenced TV station was as a salesman and after some time, he was promoted to work as a weatherman.

Robert got his first big break when he received his first acting role as Burt Reynolds’ younger brother in the play, The Rainmaker. Considering his performance and the fame he received from the play, he decided to fully focus on pursuing an acting career. He finally made his TV debut in 1973 with a guest role as ‘Davie Stroud’ in the TV series, The F.B.I. The following year was quite busy for Robert who landed roles in both films and television series like Magnum Force, Kung Fu, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Marcus Welby, M.D. 

Robert Urich’s first lead role was in a TV series, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, where he played Bob Sanders. The next notable role he later took was in the drama series, S.W.A.T. where he appeared as Officer Jim Street in 37 episodes, sharing the screen with the likes of Steve Forrest, Mark Shera and Rod Perry. Urich’s role of a private detective Dan Tanna in the 1966 drama series, Vega$, not only increased his fame but also fetched him two Golden Globe Awards nominations.

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Robert Urich hosted a TV documentary series National Geographic Explorer which became a success, earning him the CableACE Award. He, however, made his last TV appearance in Emeril, and although the TV film received severe criticism, Robert was applauded for his role in it.

Robert Urich’s Net Worth

Urich accumulated almost all his wealth from his acting career, earning jaw-dropping income from films like Endangered Species. Other similar film projects that increased his income include Vega$, Spenser: For Hire, Love Boat: The Next Wave and Spenser: The Judas Goat. He’s believed to have accumulated as much as $3 million as his net worth.

Robert Urich’s Wife and Kids

Robert Urich with his wife Menzies-Urich – Image Source

Urich was married twice, his first wife was Barbara Rucker, an actress he married in 1968 but divorced in 1974, six years after. The following year, he married Heather Menzies, a Canadian-American actress and model born in Toronto to her Scottish parents who emigrated to Canada. Menzies and Robert met for the first time while filming a commercial in which they portrayed husband and wife. The couple never had children of their own, instead, they adopted three – two daughters named Allison and Emily, and a son named Ryan.

In December 2017, Robert’s wife Heather died of cancer of the brain. She was diagnosed with the disease in November of the same year and she died at the age of 68.

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Is He Dead or Still Alive?

While celebrity death hoaxes are still on the rise, Robert Urich is actually deceased. He passed away on April 16, 2002, after suffering from rare cancer form known as synovial sarcoma. The actor was diagnosed with the disease that attacks soft tissues supporting the bones and vital organs in 1966. Upon discovering his illness, Robert never allowed it to affect his career. Hence, he continued to take on movie and TV roles while undergoing treatment. He also advocated for scientists to find a cure for the cancer and his efforts, he was awarded the Gilda Radner Courage Award. With his wife, Heather, he founded the Urich Fund which assisted a Comprehensive cancer centre in raising cancer research funds.

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In November 2001, Robert was hospitalised at the Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center due to breathing problems. He also developed some internal complications like collapsed lungs and internal bleeding before he finally passed on in April 2002, at the age of 55.  Robert’s cremated ashes were buried in Prince Edward County, Ohio, Canada.

Chika Udeh
Chika Udeh
Chika holds a B.A in English language/History and has over 5 years experience in content development and journalism. She loves playing with writing, wordsmiths, and storytelling in all its forms, and when she is not writing about famous people and events that matter, she is probably listening or dancing to some cool jams.


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