Retro T.V. Reviews: Spenser for Hire (1985) (Part 2: Cast)
Updated: Jun 1
In Part 2 of our review of Spenser for Hire, we will look at the actors that made this TV show memorable for some of us.
Robert Urich was born on December 19th, 1946 in Toronto, Ohio.
Urich's career spanned about 30 years and he starred in both movies and television. However, it would be television that he would be known the most for. Urich played in such series as Vega$ (1978), S.W.A.T. (1975), Gavilan (1982) and of course Spenser for Hire (1985).
According to Wikipedia, Urich was not always set on going into acting full time. However, after playing in a bit part with Burt Reynolds in the production The Rainmaker, Urich decided to then move to Los Angeles.
In 1996, Urich was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Synovial Sarcoma. During his treatments he still acted and also raised money for cancer research. In fact in 2001, he appeared on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and won 125 000$. He donated it to cancer research.
Urich was married twice. The first time he was married to Barbara Rucker (1968 to 1974). The second time he was married with Heather Menzies in 1975. They were married until his death on April 16th, 2002 at the young age of 55. The cancer that he had gotten in 1996 had returned and this time around they were not able to fend it off.
Avery Brooks was born on October 2nd, 1948 in Evansville, Indiana. He studied at Rutger's University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and as Master of Fine Arts degree.
Brooks is probably best known as Captain Benjamin Sisko on the popular Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9). However, he played some other notable roles as well that people just seem to not remember him for.
He received critical acclaim for his role in the PBS's American Playhouse production of Half Slave, Half Free: Solomon Northup's Odyssey.
Brooks is also a singer. He recorded an album that was dedicated to the Legacy of Duke Ellington. For the first time in his life in 2009, he released a solo album called Here. This is a cover album for Jazz, Blues and Spoken Word.
If that was not enough, he also taught the arts at Oberlin College and Case Western Reserve University.
Brooks has been married to the same woman since 1976. Her name is Vicki Lenora Brooks and they have three adult children. She is the Assistant Dean at Rutger's University. While doing research for this character breakdown, I learned something interesting. in an interview for The 7th Rule Podcast, Avery insisted that he has not retired from acting but he claims that he is being blacklisted. However, the reasons for this are hard to find. He did advise that if a role would come up, he would be more than happy to look into it. Apparently shortly after the hashtag #WeWantAvery started trending. There have been rumours that he would reprise his role as Captain Sisko but it is unclear in what capacity at this time.
Ronald William McLarty was born on April 14th, 1947 in East Providence, Rhode Island.
McClarty like Brooks has had a wide variety of credits to his name. He first started in theatre in the 1970's. He notably appeared in the play Moonchildren.
His real first big role was as the homicide detective Sgt. Frank Belson. Once that series was over, he became a successful writer and also narrator of novels. In fact, he has won awards for his narration of books such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
After his stint on Spenser for Hire, he did have some roles in TV and Movies but it never reached the same popularity as Spenser. He did appear in 7 episodes of Law & Order as a Judge. He also stared in a TV show called Cop Rock. In 2003 he even lent his voice to the Batman: Dark Tomorrow videogame where he voiced Commissioner James Gordon.
Unfortunately, starting in 2014 he started showing signs of dementia and passed away on February 8th, 2020 at the age of 72. He was married twice. He was married to his first wife Diane Tesitor until she died in 2002. He re-married in 2004 to Kate Skinner until his death in 2020. He has 3 children.
Stock was born on May 26th, 1956 in Downers Grove, Illinois.
Barbara started her career as a host of a morning show called Mid-Morning on WTTV. She was then cast into a play named Nine.
Her first big break was playing Susan Silverman on Spenser for Hire. After that, she made a career of playing in random 80's and 90's TV shows. She appeared in CHIPs, The Facts of Life, Fantasy Island, Remington Steele, Knight Rider, Murder, She Wrote...etc.
Nowadays Barabara seems to have left acting behind and is an interior decorator in the California region. It seems she focuses on areas close to Los Angeles and Hollywood.
She can be found at the following site, https://barbarastockinteriors.houzzsite.com/about.
Richard Hanley Jaeckel was born on October 10th, 1926 in Long Beach, New York.
HIs career spanned a whopping 6 decades. He never really had huge roles but he played in a lot of TV and movies.
His first role was in the 1943 film Guadalcanal Diary. He had auditioned for the role as the director had asked him to do so. At the time he was a mail boy in the 20th Century Fox studios.
Most of his movie and TV roles will not even show up on the radar but there are a few gems in there. Before starring in Spenser for Hire, Richard played ion John Carpenter's Starman (1984). I personally remember him from Delta Force 2: The Columbian Connection (1990). Many viewers will remember him as Lt. Ben Edwards on the series Baywatch starring David Hasselhoff.
Richard was married to Antoinette Helen Marches and they had 2 sons. Unfortunately, on June 14th, 1997 Richard died from Cancer at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.
Carolyn Inez McCormick was born on September 19th, 1959 in Midland, Texas.
Carolyn seems to always be an over achiever. She graduated with honours at Wiliams College in 1981. She received a Bachelor in Fine Arts. She has also a Masters in Fine Arts at the American Conservatory Theatre.
Although she has starred in numerous TV and Movies roles, I mostly remember her from her role as Dr. Elizabeth Olivet on Law & Order. She has also had bit parts in Elementary, Judging Amy and Homicide: Life on the Streets, just to name a few.
The one thing that stunned me is that she was multiple voices in the videogame Deux Ex (2000). In fact she voiced Anna Navarre one of the main villains at the beginning of the game.
She has been married to Byron Jennings for quite a few years and she has 2 children with him. She still is active on the acting scene. It does not seem that she will be slowing down anytime soon.
So there you have it, the list of actors who appeared in the Spenser for Hire show. I hope that you learned a little about their background and what they are doing today. In Part 3, we will look at the review of the TV show.