To some, Robert Urich was nothing but a great TV and film actor while to others, he was a complete man. In his younger days he was an athlete and then later he became an actor and a philanthropist.
By the time of his death in 2002, he had already appeared in over 10 movies and over 80 TV films and shows in a career that spanned three decades. Read about his death, wealth, family, and other facts of his life below.
Robert Urich Bio
The actor was born Robert Michael Urich on December 19, 1946, in Toronto, Ohio, to Cecilia Monica Urich and John Paul. He was brought up alongside his brother, Tom Urich who is also an actor in Toronto.
While his father worked as a foreman at the local mill, his mother got a job working as a dry cleaner. While growing up, he was a good athlete and it was thanks to this that he later got a football scholarship to the Florida State University where he graduated with a degree in drama and broadcasting. He would later obtain a masters in Broadcast Research and Management from Michigan State University.
While still in school, he was sidelined as a result of a head injury and that ended his footballing career. He worked after graduating as a radio ad salesman before leaving to pursue his acting career.
In 1972, he appeared in an episode of the TV show, The F.B.I. followed in 1973 with appearances in Kung Fu, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, and Marcus Welby, M.D. From this point, his TV career took a good start. The coming years saw him appearing in many more shows including Emeril (2001), The Lazarus Man (1999), and American Dreamer (1990–1991).
The first movie he appeared in was Magnum Force in 1973, followed by Endangered Species in 1982, and The Ice Pirates in 1984. He acted in a number of other movies such as Dragon Fight (1989), The Angel of Pennsylvania Avenue (1996), and Clover Bend (2002).
Urich was nominated for Golden Globe in 1980 and 1981 for his role in Vega$ (1978) and he was awarded a Star on the Walk of Fame in 1995.
Wife and Children
In his lifetime, Urich was married twice. The first was to Barbara Rucker when he was only 21 in 1968. At the time, he was working as a radio ad salesman. Urich and Rucker remained together until 1974 when they got a divorce.
Shortly afterward, he began dating Canadian-American model and actress Heather Menzies who was previously married to John Cluett between 1969 and 1973. In 1975, Urich married Heather. Although they wanted to have children, they decided to adopt after several miscarriages.
Their first two adopted children are Ryan Urich who was born in 1978 and Emily Urich, born in 1980. There is also Allison Grady Urich who was born in 1998. Of the three, only Ryan Urich has decided to tow the path of their parents as an actor who is famous for movies such as The Killer Within Me (2003) and Night Walk (1989).
In December 2017, 15 years after the death of Robert Urich, his wife Heather Menzies died at the age of 68 as a result of brain cancer she was diagnosed with in November of the same year.
Cancer, How Did He Die?
While still starring in The Lazarus Man in 1996, Urich was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as synovial sarcoma which attacks soft tissue. An actor who is known for his tough-guy roles, he continued battling the disease while not allowing his work as an actor to suffer.
As he underwent treatment for the illness, he also took to the task of advocacy towards finding a cure for cancer because of which he was recognized with the Gilda Radner Courage Award. Together with his wife, Heather Menzies-Urich, who died as a result of brain cancer, he founded the Urich Fund which was meant to assist the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in raising funds for cancer research.
In 1998, he declared that he was cancer free. However, in 2001, lumps were discovered in his body but were cleared by a “wonderful” drug. In April 2002, he died at the Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks where he was admitted for breathing problems only a week prior. He had complications that included internal bleeding and a collapsed lung. The actor passed away at the age of 55.
Before his death, Robert Urich had what could easily be described as a very successful career, having appeared in a good number of films and TV shows, taking many major roles. It is thanks to this that he had a net worth which was estimated at $3 million.