Richard was born on July 30, 1958 in Montclair, New Jersey. He is married to Lori Kahn, and they have two sons.
For Richard, a strong interest in music and theater is in his blood. His parents and three siblings were interested in the performing arts and the Burgi home was a fertile environment. "It was a crazy household. My dad and mom would play music, and my older brother and I played in bands, so there was always some activity going on... I think my dad's credo was, 'Keep your eyes and ears open, a smile on your face and your big mouth shut.'"
Richard recalls, "my brother and I had a detective agency when we were kids. We were really enamored with these kids' novels, the Brains Benton series. They're rather obscure. They were, I guess, a thinking boys' alternative to the Hardy Boys. Not that the Hardy Boys were idiots. But, I mean, these were really wildly constructed stories that these two junior detectives went through. So he and I had fashioned ourselves after Brains Benton and his partner, and had a laboratory and all these Erlenmeyer flasks –- beakers and condensers. And we'd make this and boil that. And we had gunpowder, and we'd light fires in the basement. And it was total insanity. But the final straw, as far as my parents were concerned, was when... well, the house caught on fire one day. It got messy. So we had to retire early."
As a teenager, he was also interested in the Secret Service. "I loved the name, I loved the idea of the stealthy nature of protecting and serving, doing all that cloak and dagger bull."
His first foray into acting was "when an old girlfriend was directing a play when I was in high school, and she asked me to come in and read. I was playing in a band and playing sports, and I thought, sure, I can fit it in."
After finishing school, Richard traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, laying the foundation for an interest in travel that continues to this day.
Though a career in acting was always one of Richard's goals, it took a while for the goal to become a reality. "At the time when I made the decision to be an actor, I was 28, and a lot of those tumultuous late teen-early twenties years, I was supporting myself in various jobs. So I knew in high school I was going to be an actor, I had this vision in my head, this voice or premonition, whatever you want to call it, that's what I was going to do, but I was kind of like, well, I don't know how to go about that."
He finally ended up in New York City and got a job at the Manhattan Squash Club as a squash pro, playing in tournaments and working construction jobs. Richard began studying acting and gaining acting experience with commercials and cameos, which led to regular roles on several daytime dramas.
When Richard left Days of Our Lives, the co-executive producer said "Richard has such great timing, whether dramatic or comedic." During his stint on the show, he liked to pull pranks on his co-star, Arianna Chase. She said, "I'll have a dramatic scene and he'll say dirty things under his breath right before we go on the air. He's very funny, but he's a naughty little boy."
Knocked askew by his father's death, Richard found that acting helped stabilize his world. "Every time you go in front of a camera or get on the boards, you're out there on a limb and have no idea what's going to happen," he explained. "It's kind of like when I was a kid and I used to jump off high cliffs into water; I never knew if I was going to make it. I have the training and a sense of method, but I just try to allow for the magic of the moment to manifest."
A move to Los Angeles allowed him to read for different types of roles. A recurring role as Lane Cassidy in Viper led to a lead role in One West Waikiki with Cheryl Ladd.
His time on One West Waikiki ended up being short-lived, because the show was soon canceled by CBS, although a total of twenty episodes were produced and released into syndication. "It was a great job with great people. We did solid numbers, including 14th in the week for the first episode, but the network changed the guard, as it seems to do a lot, and that was that."
His character, Mack Wolfe, was a man fighting demons, struggling to become a hero. "I think it was organic in that way to take him in that direction, because I think to watch people struggle through their dark elements is appealing. Going through it and out and up into a joyful, winning, positive, light area is appealing... and the possibility of sliding back."
As the character Jim Ellison in four seasons of The Sentinel, Richard played "a champion of the light, of the good, that's where he is, that's where I am in some way."
Richard has been keeping busy since The Sentinel ceased production, guesting on a number of popular Primetime dramas and sitcoms. A spot on the CBS hit Touched By An Angel was followed by a recurring role on the controversial – and short-lived – FOX sitcom Action. Next up was the NBC sitcom Veronica's Closet, followed by NBC's drama Providence, and a role opposite Linda Hamilton in the ABC telemovie Bailey's Mistake. The Fall 2000 season found Richard on the hit CBS drama, The District, in the recurring role of Captain Vincent Hunter of Internal Affairs. That same season also saw him guesting on the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me and the PAX network's Twice in A Lifetime. Richard finished an eleven-episode run on the recurring-character cast of the breakout smash FOX drama, Twenty Four (playing both Alan York and Kevin Carroll) in early 2002, and finished principal photography on a new feature film titled Wheelmen, in late 2001. The film is scheduled to premiere in early August. Most recently, Richard has joined the recurring cast of the hit CBS drama Judging Amy, playing the part of ex-husband Michael Cassidy.
Right now, Richard cherishes his time with his family. Marriage and fatherhood agree with him; in fact, they "changed my life around," he says. "I'm more in love than I've ever been. I can't imagine anything that surpasses this."
Time with family dovetails with Richard's other loves -- music, surfing, nature and bird-watching. Richard is the proud owner of a vintage Buddy Miles drum-set and enjoys playing it whenever possible; during a recent appearance on Access Hollywood, he revealed that get-togethers in the Burgi household often turn into impromptu concerts, with adults grabbing instruments and children singing along. An enthusiastic surfer and nature lover, Richard spends as much time outdoors as possible, either at the beach or hiking through the hills with his family. Introducing his sons to the natural world is an added pleasure. He feels a strong connection to nature and is an advocate of environmental protection and preservation.
Richard supports the work of the Surfrider Foundation, a San Clemente, CA - based organization which works to protect and preserve shoreline and coastal environments. "Life comes and goes, and I think we need to save our planet and not hurt it," he explains. "I like to be proactive, but at the same time I like to work in a grass roots way and impact my environment as best I can."
Richard is also an avid bird-watcher, an interest he discovered as a ten-year-old. In keeping with his fondness for birds and his dedication to hands-on, "grass roots" work, Richard has expressed interest in the work of the Orange County Bird of Prey Center, a volunteer-run organization which promotes the welfare of birds of prey through rehabilitation, preservation, and education programs. His love of the sea has also led him to the Laguna Beach, CA - based Friends of the Sea Lion Marine Mammal Center, also a volunteer-run and supported organization which tends to the needs of sick and injured sea mammals through programs similar in nature to those of the Bird of Prey Center.
"I've had three clear thoughts in my life. One, I was going to get married and have a family, one I was going to be an actor and one I was going to surf." He's managed to combine all three goals successfully.… Expand
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