(CNN) -- Robert Urich, the versatile television actor who starred in at least 15 shows over his 30-year career, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 55.
Urich died in Thousand Oaks, California, surrounded by family and friends, according to publicist Cindy Guagenti. The actor announced in 1996 that he was suffering from synovial cell sarcoma, a rare cancer that attacks the body's joints, and underwent several treatments to fight the cancer during the last years of his life.
Urich was an almost constant presence on television during his career. In fact, according to the trivia book "10,000 Answers: The Ultimate Trivia Encyclopedia" (Random House Reference, 2001), Urich holds the record for starring in the most TV shows, with 15.
Robert Urich's standing as one of TV's most prolific actors is borne out in highlights of his career starting in 1973.
EW.com: All About Robert Urich
His credits include "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" (1973); "S.W.A.T" (1975-'76); "Soap" (for its first season, 1977-'78); "Vega$" (1978-'81); and "Spenser: For Hire" (1985-'88).
Among his most recent roles: the captain on "Love Boat: The Next Wave" and a talent agent on the short-lived sitcom "Emeril."
The actor also appeared in a handful of theatrical films, including "Magnum Force" (1973) and "Turk 182!" (1985).
First co-star: Burt Reynolds
Urich posed in character for this 1987 photo for the ABC show "Spenser: For Hire."
Robert Urich was born in Toronto, Ohio, on December 19, 1946. A star athlete in high school, he won a football scholarship to Florida State University, where he took a bachelor's degree in communications. He later earned a master's degree from Michigan State in broadcast research and management, and went to work in the broadcasting business as a salesman for Chicago's WGN.
After a short stint as a TV weatherman, he received his break as an actor when Burt Reynolds, another Florida State alum, helped him land a role playing Reynolds' younger brother onstage in a production of Richard Nash's "The Rainmaker."
Hi Carol, weel done. I did not know he had died until your post. Only one thing that I saw wrong Burt Reynolds attended FSU, but did not graduate. However, he did donate money to FSU and they named the football player's old dorm- Reynolds Hall after him.
Gosh, I am sorry he died. OH did anyone hear about the 4 Soldiers who died in Afganistan couple days ago. Their credits include......wives...kids and serving their country. Maybe they should have gone into acting.
Rick, believe me, as a wife and a daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I do not discount the servicemen in anyway at all. I rarely watch the news, but was trying to see the weather and this came on before. Right after the weather, I left for work.
Service men, retired, or active are VERY important to me.