Urich sues over canceled show

Seeks $1,470,000 for breach of contract

This article was corrected on April 14, 2000.

Actor Robert Urich has sued Castle Rock Television, charging that the company terminated his television series “Lazarus Man” and refused to pay him because he had cancer.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in L.A. Superior Court, alleges that Urich — best known for his starring role in the television series “Spenser for Hire” — and his production company Look Up Prods. 95, entered into an agreement with Castle Rock in 1995 for Urich to act in a television pilot of “Lazarus Man.” Under the deal, he was to be paid $70,000 per one-hour episode for the first season, and $73,000 per episode for the second broadcast season. Those amounts were on a pay-or-play basis, according to the lawsuit.

Castle Rock exercised the option for the first season in September 1995 and for the second season in June 1996. In July 1996, Urich informed Castle Rock that he had cancer and would have to undergo treatment, but according to the complaint at no time was Urich unable to perform under the agreement and Castle Rock had no information that would have created a reasonable apprehension about Urich’s ability to perform.

According to the complaint, Castle Rock terminated the agreement a month later, despite California’s “strong public policy” against employment discrimination on the basis of disability.

Urich is suing for breach of contract and seeks $1,470,000, the amount he would have received for the second season on “Lazarus Man.”

The complaint did not explicitly state a reason for the time lag between 1996 and the date of the filing.

A Castle Rock rep said: “We are unaware of the filing of this lawsuit. If such a lawsuit has been filed, we will respond.”

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