Robert Urich, TV Actor Who Played Chicago, Dead at 55

News   Robert Urich, TV Actor Who Played Chicago, Dead at 55 Robert Urich, the actor known TV audiences for "Vega$" and "Spenser: For Hire," and who briefly played Billy Flynn in the hit Broadway revival of Chicago, died early April 16 after a struggle with cancer.
Robert Urich with Bebe Neuwirth at his Jan. 5, 2000 opening in Chicago.
Robert Urich with Bebe Neuwirth at his Jan. 5, 2000 opening in Chicago. (Photo by Photo by Aubrey Reuben)

Robert Urich, the actor known TV audiences for "Vega$" and "Spenser: For Hire," and who briefly played Billy Flynn in the hit Broadway revival of Chicago, died early April 16 after a struggle with cancer.

Mr. Urich, 55, died in a hospital in Thousand Oaks, CA, surrounded by friends and family, a publicist said.

He was known for playing sexy tough guys in TV crime shows ("S.W.A.T.," "Spenser," "Vega$") and would later play the cruise-ship captain in the resurrected "Love Boat: The Next Wave," a syndicated series. Not known as a song and dance man, he stepped into the national tour of Chicago in late 1999, playing Detroit and Washington, DC, before stepping into the Broadway company Jan. 5, 2000. He was scheduled for six weeks but bowed out early.

In 1996, Mr. Urich was diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma, a rare cancer of the joints, according to the Associated Press. Following treatments, the cancer had gone into remission.

Among his TV credits are "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," "Soap" and "Emeril," among others.

Mr. Urich was an Ohio native who attended Florida State University on a football scholarship. He earned a master's degree in broadcast research and management from Michigan State University, the AP reported.

An early stage role was playing Burt Reynolds' younger brother in a staging of The Rainmaker.

With his wife, Heather Menzies, who survives him, he founded the Heather and Robert Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research at the University of Michigan.

Survivors include children Allison, Ryan and Emily, two brothers, a sister and his mother. A memorial service is planned for April 19 in Los Angeles.