American actor Robert Urich is best known for his role as Dan Tanna in Vega$. Urich worked on a number of other films and television series, including as a guest on Saturday Night Live and opposite Clint Eastwood in Mangum Force. He died at age 55 from a rare form of cancer, synovial cell sarcoma. He and his wife founded a cancer center in Michigan and were parents of three adopted children.


Actor, producer. Born December 19, 1946 in Toronto, Ohio. Urich received a four-year football scholarship to Florida State University, where he majored in communications before getting his master's in broadcast research and management from Michigan State University.

Though his heart was in acting, he joined Chicago's WGN radio as an account executive in the early 1970s before getting his first big break as Burt Reynolds' younger brother in the play The Rainmaker. At Reynolds' prompting, Urich headed to Hollywood, where he landed his first TV part on the 1973 comedy series Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. But it wasn't until his role as officer Jim Street on ABC's 1975 cop series S.W.A.T. that audiences began to take notice.

In 1976, Robert Urich played Peter Campbell in ABC's groundbreaking comedy Soap before starring in Vega$. It is for his role as detective Dan Tanna, which he played for three seasons, that many fans will best remember him.

In the 1980s, he starred in a number of movies, including the cult sci-fi comedy The Ice Pirates with Anjelica Huston and Turk 182 with Timothy Hutton. He then returned to the small screen to star as yet another private investigator on Spenser: For Hire, which ran from 1985-1988.

In 1996, Robert Urich announced that he had been diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma--a very rare form of cancer. The announcement prompted producers to cancel his TNT Western The Lazarus Man after one season. But Urich refused to go quietly.

He successfully returned to the small screen in 1997 to host Vital Signs, an ABC medical reality series. A year later, he landed the lead role as the captain on a short-lived update of ABC's classic The Love Boat. In 2001, Urich costarred in the NBC sitcom Emeril, while continuing to do a number of made-for-TV movies.

After a long and heroic fight, Urich died on April 16, 2002. He was 55.

Urich was married to Barbara Rucker from 1968 to 1974. He married Heather Menzies in 1974, with whom he has a son, Ryan, born in 1979; a daughter Emily born in 1980; and another daughter Alison born in 1998.


  • Name: Robert Michael Urich
  • Birth Year: 1946
  • Birth date: December 19, 1946
  • Birth State: Ohio
  • Birth City: Toronto
  • Birth Country: United States
  • Gender: Male
  • Best Known For: American actor Robert Urich is best known for his role as Dan Tanna in Vega$. He died at age 55 from a rare form of cancer, synovial cell sarcoma.
  • Industries
    • Television
    • Film
  • Astrological Sign: Sagittarius
  • Schools
    • Michigan State University
    • Florida State University
  • Death Year: 2002
  • Death date: April 16, 2002
  • Death State: California
  • Death City: Thousand Oaks
  • Death Country: United States

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  • Article Title: Robert Urich Biography
  • Author: Biography.com Editors
  • Website Name: The Biography.com website
  • Url: https://www.biography.com/actors/robert-urich
  • Access Date:
  • Publisher: A&E; Television Networks
  • Last Updated: April 17, 2019
  • Original Published Date: April 2, 2014