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October 7, 2015

The Five: Best Robert Urich shows

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 2nd 2006 9:40AM
Spenser: For HireEarlier today I was doing some digging around to see if Spenser: For Hire was being released on DVD anytime soon. No luck yet, but it got me thinking. For several years in a row, it seemed like Robert Urich had a new TV show every single fall. Not all of them were successful, but it tells you something about the actor, how much he was liked by fans and the networks, because he was in over a dozen TV series starting in 1973. And that's not counting all the shows he guest-starred in and all the miniseries where he had a role.

Here are the five best Robert Urich TV shows. Urich died in April of 2002:

1. Spenser: For Hire: Sure, I have a special place in my heart for this show, because it was filmed on location in Boston. But that's not the only reason to love this show. This private eye was uncommonly smart and literate for a detective show, it was well-cast, and that on location added a lot of atmosphere and realism to the show. Oh, and no matter what Robert Parker says, Urich was the ultimate Spenser (and Avery Brooks the ultimate Hawk), and the first person narration worked marvelously.

2. Vegas: Sure, it was cheesy and very late 70s. All that Vegas glitziness and the emphasis on car chases and boobs, but this was a very entertaining private eye drama. I always wanted to have an apartment where you could drive you car into the living room like Dan Tanna did, but I always worried about the gas and oil smell.

3. Soap: Urich played tennis pro Peter Campbell, who was murdered in the first season of the show. He wasn't on the show long, but this was an influential, funny show, and Urich was perfectly cast.

4. The Lazarus Man: Urich played a man left for dead in the South during the Civil War, but manages to dig himself out of the grave. Who is he? This was a rather interesting period mystery, one of the earliest shows on UPN.

5. S.W.A.T.: I was obsessed with this show when I was a kid. I used to play S.W.A.T. in my backyard, I used to hum the theme song. I probably would have bought S.W.A.T. pajamas and S.W.A.T. cereal if they had them at the time. This was a fun action show, which made an art out of jumping off of roofs with the help of strong rope.

(I almost picked Tabitha, because I really liked that show for the one season it was on, but alas, this is The Five not The Six.)

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Samantha Tucker

Thank goodness! I was beginning to think that I was the only person on planet earth who eagerly awaits the release of Spenser:For Hire on DVD. What is taking so long? Every other primetime series in America's television history is already on DVD. Spenser and Hawk can never be remade or recast....they remain in a class by themselves.

October 04 2006 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I totally agree. The casting could not have been better for "Spenser for Hire". I, too, was a huge fan of Robert Urich. I really hated that he died so young. I also loved the tv movies he was in..even if some were a little predictable...Mr. Urich made them worth watching. I wish they would bring Spenser back to television. I also liked the fact that he was married to actress Heather Menses (sp.?) who played the oldest of the Von Trapp children in the movie "The Sound of Music" because that is one of my favorite movies of all time.

October 02 2006 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Regarding Tabitha, that show is burned into my memory because the opening scene was a 21 year old Lisa Hartman-Black in a nightie. Inspired casting--she looked like she could be Elizabeth Montgomery's daughter.

October 02 2006 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian Sheridan

PS- the fair-to-middling Spenser movies for Lifetime cable are on DVD but not the series. COME ON - Let's see SPENSER FOR HIRE SEASON ONE!

October 02 2006 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian Sheridan

I just want to add that from everyone who I know who encountered Mr. Urich during his heyday said he was a total gentleman and a real class act. He never seem to let his popularity go to his head. A great family man and a total pro. His kind is missed!

October 02 2006 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, never mind, that was Greg Evigan. Sorry! Hit the post button too soon.

October 02 2006 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Was he the lead in BJ and the Bear as well?

October 02 2006 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Chichian

I agree both Urich and Brooks were perfectly cast as Spenser and Hawk. I can not read a Spenser novel without hearing their voices in my head.

October 02 2006 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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