Robert Michael Urich (December 19, 1946 – April 16, 2002) was an American film, television and stage actor and television producer. Over the course of his 30-year career, he starred in a record 15 television series. Urich began his career in television in the early 1970s. After guest stints and roles in short-lived television series, he won a costarring role in the action/crime drama series S.W.A.T. in 1975. In 1976, he landed the role of Dan Tanna in the crime drama series Vega$. It aired on ABC from 1978 to 1981, and earned him two Golden Globe Award nominations. In addition to his work in television, he also starred in several feature films, including Magnum Force (1973), The Ice Pirates (1984), and Turk 182 (1985). From 1985 to 1988, he portrayed the title role in the detective television series Spenser: For Hire, based on Robert B. Parker's popular series of mystery novels. In 1988, he began hosting the documentary series National Geographic Explorer. He won a CableACE Award for his work on the series. He was also awarded a Golden Boot Award for his work in Western television series and films. In 1996, Urich starred in the The Lazarus Man. It was canceled shortly after he announced that he was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare cancer, in July 1996. He sought treatment for his illness while continuing his career and also worked to raise money for cancer research. He was declared cancer free in 1998 and returned to television in the UPN series, The Love Boat: The Next Wave. In 2000, he made his Broadway debut as Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago. Urich's last role was in the NBC sitcom Emeril in 2001. In fall 2001, his cancer returned. He died of synovial sarcoma in Thousand Oaks, California, in 2002 at the age of 55.