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This leading man of TV dramas segued from soap operas to star as "The Sentinel" (UPN, 1996-98), a police investigator with heightened senses. Richard Burgi came from a family involved in community theater in suburban Montclair, NJ. He went to New York after high school, where he eventually landed regular roles on Manhattan-based soap operas, notably as the macho Chad Rollo on NBC's "Another World" and the mysterious and murderous Glenn Harrington on CBS' "As the World Turns." Moving west, muscular, dark-haired actor landed the role of Phillip Collier on NBC's "Days of Our Lives" before forsaking daytime for primetime, racking up numerous guest appearances on shows ranging from the sitcoms "Who's the Boss?" and "Empty Nest" to dramas like "Matlock" and "The Flash." He made his TV-movie debut in "Chameleons" (NBC, 1989) and had a more substantial role as an army major in "Danielle Steel's 'Message From Nam'" (NBC, 1993). In series, Burgi had recurring roles on "Jake and the Fatman" (CBS) and on the NBC sci-fi drama "Viper" (NBC, 1993-1994; 1996-1999). His first lead was on the short-lived "One West Waikiki" (CBS, 1994), a police drama about a medical examiner (Cheryl Ladd) and a detective (Burgi) who work together to solve homicide cases in Honolulu.
Burgi bounced back quickly when he starred as the lead on "The Sentinel" (UPN, 1995-1999), a supernatural procedural in which he played a police detective whose five senses were mystically heightened after surviving 18 months in the Peruvian jungle, helping him solve criminal cases in record time. The show managed to stick around for several seasons, but in 1998 the network threatened to axe the show. An Internet campaign organized by fans helped give "The Sentinel" another season, but UPN finally canceled the series in 1999. Burgi next starred in the made-for-TV movie, "I Married a Monster" (UPN, 1998), playing a groom who becomes possessed by an alien being intent on procreating its dying race through humans. After individual episodes of "Veronica's Closet" (NBC, 1997-2000), "Just Shoot Me" (NBC, 1996-2003) and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-15), Burgi was seen on several series in recurring roles, including "Judging Amy" (CBS, 1999-2005) as the judge's bitter ex-husband, "The District" (CBS, 2000-2004) as the captain of Internal Affairs, and "24" (Fox, 2001-10) as the imposter of a man murdered after his daughter was kidnapped.
Burgi began appearing in more feature length projects, including the supernatural movie-of-the-week "Bailey's Mistake" (ABC, 2001), about a woman (Linda Hamilton) and her two children living on a mysterious island after the death of her husband, and "Torn Apart" (Lifetime, 2004), in which he was the kidnapped husband of a doctor (Tia Carrere) forced to choose who will die-her husband or her daughter. In "Starship Troopers 2" (Starz!, 2004), he played a disillusioned captain of the Mobile Infantry who is unapologetic about killing his commander. Then after supporting roles in "Decoys" (Sci-Fi, 2004), a horror-comedy about two voluptuous c ds suspected of a series of on-campus murders, and "Darklight" (2004), about a captured demoness recruited to destroy a monster about to unleash a deadly worldwide plague, Burgi made the jump to features, starting with a small part in the action thriller "Cellular" (2004). He then appeared in the comedy "In Her Sh s" (2005) as the prospective boyfriend for a Princeton-educated attorney (Toni Collette) with low-self esteem about her appearance.
Burgi next appeared in "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-12) as the roguish ex-husband of Susan (Teri Hatcher), a role he reveled in because it allowed him to display his more mischievous side. At first, the part was recurring, but he became a member of the regular cast for the second season. Meanwhile, Burgi continued making features-he appeared in "Fun With Dick and Jane" (2005) as the smug Yuppie neighbor of a couple (Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni) forced to go on a robbing spree in order to save their well-to-do lifestyle.
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