Legacy of Dan Tanna: Unforgettable Star of ‘Vegas’ Lives On Through His Remarkable Offspring and Captivating Grandchildren, Defying Time’s Grasp at 55

Robert Urich gained fame for his notable portrayals of Dan Tanna in the television series “Vega$” and Spenser in “Spenser: For Hire.” In addition to his successful acting career, he enjoyed a loving marriage and had children before his untimely passing at the age of 55.

In May 2023, heartwarming photographs of his grandchildren surfaced, but unfortunately, their grandfather had already departed before getting the chance to meet them. One of the books chronicling the life of this extraordinary actor, titled “The Robert Urich Story – An Extraordinary Life,” recounted the beautiful tale of how Robert encountered his second wife, Heather Menzies. Their paths crossed after Robert’s first marriage to actress Barbara Rucker ended in 1974, following a six-year relationship. Fate brought Robert and Heather together during their appearance in a commercial for Libby’s Corned Beef Hash.

Judy Landers, Robert Urich, and Phyllis Davis in “Vega$” in 1978 | Source: Getty Images

At the time of their meeting, Heather, only 23 years old, had no intentions of pursuing a romantic involvement with another actor. She had been diligently saving money for a backpacking adventure across Europe, planning to sleep in hostels and explore the continent. Heather had already purchased her ticket for the trip, scheduled to commence a month later, and eagerly anticipated leaving behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. However, the thought of her departure left Robert feeling overwhelmed. One day, he confronted Heather and inquired about her plans, to which she confirmed her intent to go. Unexpectedly, she extended an invitation for him to join her.

Finding no reason to decline the offer, Robert took care of their utility bill and went against his usual nature of not planning things in advance. He purchased his ticket and embarked on the journey with Heather. His uncharacteristic response surprised his girlfriend, but it was during their time in Europe that they fell deeply in love.

Heather Menzies as Cybill Hartman and Robert Urich as Larry Hartman as guest stars on “The Love Boat” season two on December 9, 1978 | Source: Getty Images

The young couple had only known each other for a few weeks when they set off on their European adventure, causing their friends to think they were slightly crazy. However, their mode of travel shifted away from backpacking and hostel stays due to Robert’s possession of an American Express card. Instead, they spent three weeks staying in bed and breakfast accommodations and rented a car to explore the various destinations until the funds on the card ran out. They traveled from the Isle of Skye to Paris, where they stayed at a hotel with a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower. Robert would read poems to Heather while she bathed in an antique bathtub.

Looking back, Heather believed that their souls merged during their time in Europe, and that was the moment they knew they would live their lives as one. Upon returning home, Heather visited Robert one day, and out of the blue, he asked her if they should go to her place to feed her cat or stay and feed his dog. Her response aligned with his thoughts, suggesting they should go to her place to take care of her cat. And that’s how they ended up moving in together. Exactly one year after their initial encounter, on November 21, 1975, they exchanged vows and remained married until Robert’s passing.

Heather Menzies and Robert Urich at the screening of “Robin and Marian” on March 26, 1976, in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images

Dr. Ryan Urich, the couple’s son, revealed in a 2019 interview that his parents’ relationship thrived because they didn’t feel the need to impress or manipulate each other like many others in Hollywood. They had a deep understanding of one another, and for them, a perfect day meant being together. Although Heather and Robert’s time together as a married couple was not as long as they would have hoped, it was filled with love, and Robert embraced his role as a father to their three children.

Following his travels for National Geographic’s “On Assignment,” Ryan’s father’s cancer resurfaced as Ryan approached the end of high school. Ryan vividly remembers the challenging drives to the hospital for his father’s chemotherapy treatments, feeling guilty for every bump on the road that caused discomfort to his sensitive father. Despite the family’s unwavering support, Robert Urich lost his battle with cancer in 2002, passing away at a hospital in Thousand Oaks, surrounded by his loved ones.

Robert Urich and Heather Menzies backstage after watching “The Hasty Heart” at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. on January 12, 1984 | Source: Getty Images

Motivated by his inability to provide medical assistance to his father, Ryan decided to pursue a career in medicine, hoping to make a difference for others facing similar struggles. Emily, on the other hand, became an ER nurse. Together, they established The Urich Foundation, a cancer charity aimed at supporting those affected by the disease. Ryan expressed that their mission is driven by the desire to help others, as they understand the impact of cancer firsthand.

Tragically, in 2017, Menzies, Robert’s wife, was also taken away from her children by terminal brain cancer at the age of 68, merely four weeks after her diagnosis. Despite the sorrow of their loss, it brings some solace to know that Menzies did not experience pain during her final days. In addition to their children, Robert and Heather left behind two grandchildren—Michelle and Lana—who were born in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Heather Menzies and Robert Urich at The Tel Aviv Foundation Gala Honoring Robert Wise on January 21, 1989, in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images

As time has passed, Ryan, born in 1979, was the first of the Urich children, followed by Emily in 1980, and Allison completed the family with her arrival in 1998. Sadly, Robert did not have the opportunity to meet his grandchildren personally, as he passed away before their births. However, Menzies had the joy of witnessing the arrival of Michelle and Lana into the world before her own untimely passing.

Robert Urich and Heather Menzies at the ABC Television Fall Season Kick-Off Party on September 11, 1991, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

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