In a 1972 production of ‘The Rainmaker,’ Urich played the role of Burt Reynolds’ younger brother and received his big break.
He then went on to star in a number of other well-known programs and films, including ‘Magnum Force,’ ‘Final Run,’ and ‘S.W.A.T.’
Parents John P. Urich and Cecelia Urich welcomed their son into the world in December 1946. Because of the noisy environment in which he worked as a steelworker.
Urich’s father had hearing loss, although his mother gave him tender care. Urich had a typical childhood and grew up wanting to work in Hollywood as an actor.
Urich was married twice, first to Heather Menzies from 1975 until his passing in 2002. He was first married to Barbara Rucker from 1968 to 1974.
The actor didn’t have any children with his first marriage, but after struggling with infertility, the actor and his second wife adopted three children: son Ryan and daughters Allison and Emily.
Although both Menzies and Rucker were actors, Urich’s romantic relationships with each of the women were very different. Because Urich was older in his second marriage, he was much more caring of his spouse.
As his marriage to Menzies lasted a lot longer than his marriage to Rucker, being more mature turned out to be the key to a happy marriage. Urich and Menzies first came into contact while auditioning for a commercial in an acting class.
They later co-starred in an episode of ‘The Love Boat.’ Menzies originally dismissed Urich as a ‘clever aleck,’ but by the end of the lesson, she had changed her mind. Then Urich said:
Menzies was the woman that Urich’s father would eventually marry as soon as he learned about her when his son met her in the acting class. A short while later, he was shown to be correct.
Increasing the family
Even though Urich and Menzies both had successful Hollywood jobs, the couple was planning to have kids. Menzies became pregnant with the couple’s first child after only a brief marriage to Urich. She disclosed:
Unfortunately, the young actress lost the couple’s unborn child during her first pregnancy. Their spirits were dwindling when the same thing repeated itself with their second and third pregnancy. They were broken-hearted but really wanted to have a family.
They eventually discovered a way to grow their family after working on projects and traveling for some time.
Tom Miller, the director of Catholic Charities in Los Angeles at the time, informed the couple of their decision to adopt and added them to the adoption waiting list.
Urich explained that they had to wait a very long time to be able to adopt their first child. Through adoption, the couple ultimately added three children to their family.
Urich had a straightforward, calm home life with his wife and three kids throughout the height of his professional career.
The actor was enjoying success on-screen and was in the public eye more than ever, but he knew he could return to his family life as soon as he went home.
However, something that was simmering below the surface would completely upend Urich and his family.
The actor’s health was in jeopardy, and he would spend years fighting an uphill struggle. The first person Urich spoke to explain his worries was his wife.
Menzies and Urich enjoyed power walking together, and during one of these strolls, while they discussed ideas and plans for the future, Urich told his wife that he had discovered a pea-sized lump while taking a shower. Menzies remembered thinking:
The pair didn’t learn just how dangerous something so small may be until Urich decided to get the lump examined by a doctor later.
Synovial tissue sarcoma, a type of cancer that frequently affects the arms, legs, feet, and joints including the ankles and elbows, was identified as the actor’s disease.
For a few years, the actor heroically battled the illness with Menzies constantly by his side to lend encouragement. But on April 16, 2002, in Thousand Oaks, California, Urich succumbed to the illness for good.
After her husband passed away, Menzies dedicated herself to aiding those fighting cancer. After Urich’s passing, she established the Robert Urich Foundation, which raises money for cancer research. She disclosed:
‘I promised to make it my life’s work to pursue his dream and vision: a future in which the word ‘cancer’ is merely a reminder of a battle we have triumphed,’
Sadly, the ‘Sound of Music’ actress lost her fight with cancer and passed away on Christmas Eve in 2017. According to Ryan Urich, the actress was surrounded by her family when she passed away.
Urich was pleased that his son co-starred with him in ‘Survive the Savage Sea,’ but the boy chose to pursue medicine after seeing his father battle cancer.
When his father underwent his third round of cancer treatment, the boy was studying biology. Ryan, Urich’s son, said:
I became a doctor because there was nothing I could do to help my father medically, but perhaps through helping someone else.
Ryan Urich remembers his father lovingly while helping others who had his father’s disease and thought he was a beautifully strong man who played with his grandchildren up to two days before he went away.