Robert Urich was practically inescapable on television from the 1970s through the 1990s. We remember Urich’s life today as well as other notable people who died this day in history.
Robert Urich was practically inescapable on television from the 1970s through the 1990s. He turned up in everything from a “Bewitched” spinoff to gritty detective shows, a “Love Boat” reboot, and even a made-for-TV film about a murderous bulldozer. His greatest success came as the titular detective on three seasons of “Spenser: For Hire” and the numerous movie follow-ups. After Urich was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 1996, he devoted a significant portion of his time to raising funds for cancer research while continuing to act. His last role, a movie for the Animal Planet cable TV channel, aired the night before he died. We remember Urich’s life today as well as other notable people who died this day in history.
2018: Harry Anderson, actor and magician well known for his role as Judge Stone on the sitcom, “Night Court,” dies at 65.
2013: Pat Summerall, U.S. NFL kicker and broadcaster remembered best for his NFL play-by-play alongside John Madden for CBS and also for announcing the U.S. Open tennis championships, dies at 82.
Summerall was part of network television broadcasts for 16 Super Bowls. His last championship game was Feb. 3, 2002, for Fox, also his last game with longtime partner Madden. The popular duo worked together for 21 years, moving to Fox in 1994 after years as the lead team for CBS. At the end of their final broadcast together, Madden described Summerall as “a treasure” and the “spirit of the National Football League” in a tribute to the partner who complemented the former coach so well. Read more
2013: George Beverly Shea, Canadian gospel singer who was described as America’s Beloved Gospel Singer and known for his solos at Billy Graham religious crusades, dies at 104.
Shea’s rendition of “How Great Thou Art” came to define the faith of a Protestant generation that Graham helped bring to Jesus Christ. He performed live before an estimated 200 million people at crusades over the years – taking him from North Dakota to North Korea and beyond. He joined Graham’s crusade team in 1947 and stayed until Graham’s declining health ended most of the evangelist’s public appearances nearly 60 years later. Read more
2013: Rita MacNeil, Canadian country and folk singer and one of the best-selling artists in Canada in the 1990s, dies at 68.
2011: Sol Saks, U.S. screenwriter known best as the creator of the classic sitcom “Bewitched,” dies at 100.
Saks wrote the pilot script for “Bewitched,” but he never wrote another episode of the ABC series about a witch married to a mortal. The show starring Elizabeth Montgomery ran from 1964 to 1972. Read more
2007: Virginia Tech Tragedy: 32 people are killed on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University campus.
A single gunman opened fire at two different locations on the Virginia Tech campus, killing 32 people and wounding 25 others. Almost unprecedented in its scope and horror, the shooting left the campus in deep mourning. Read more
2002: Robert Urich, U.S. actor well-known for his starring roles on the TV series Vega$ and Spenser: For Hire, dies of cancer at 55.
Urich earned his first television role on the 1973 comedy series “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.” He also appeared on the TV series “S.W.A.T.” before being cast as Peter Campbell on “Soap.” One of Urich’s most recognizable roles came as private detective Dan Tanna in “Vega$.” He later starred on another detective series, “Spenser: For Hire,” which was based on Robert Parker’s novels. Later on, Urich appeared in “The Lazarus Man” and the brief NBC sitcom “Emeril.” Read more
2002: Ruth Fertel, U.S. businesswoman who started the Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain from one restaurant she opened in New Orleans in 1965, dies at 75.
2001: Michael Ritchie, U.S. movie director whose films include “The Candidate,” “The Bad News Bears” and “Fletch,” dies at 62.
1999: Skip Spence, U.S. guitarist, drummer and songwriter who was the original drummer for Jefferson Airplane and co-founded the band Moby Grape, dies at 52.
1994: Ralph Ellison, U.S. author known best for his novel “Invisible Man,” dies at 80.
1992: Andy Russell, U.S. pop singer remembered best for his hit songs “Besame Mucho” and “Amor,” dies at 72.
1992: Neville Brand, U.S. actor who appeared on many TV shows and movies including “Love Me Tender” with Elvis Presley, dies at 71.
1985: Scott Brady, U.S. actor who appeared in numerous movies and on TV series such as “All in the Family” and “The Rockford Files,” dies at 60.
1968: Edna Ferber, U.S. author who wrote many well-known novels including “Showboat” and “Giant,” dies at 82.
1968: Fay Bainter, U.S. stage and movie actress who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in “Jezebel,” dies at 74.
1959: Charles Halton, U.S. actor who appeared in more than 180 movies, including the role of Mr. Carter, the bank examiner, in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” dies at 83.
1850: Marie Tussaud, French wax sculptor and founder of Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, dies at 88.