Unsolved Mysteries Host Robert Stack’s Cause of Death: How Did He Die?

Robert Stack Unsolved Mysteries

Getty Actor Robert Stack poses with his hand in his pants pocket in a circa 1954 promotional portrait for director William A Wellman's film "The High and the Mighty."

Part 2 of Unsolved Mysteries released on Netflix on October 19. The reboot of the true-crime series is operating without a set narrative voice, as the original Unsolved Mysteries host, Robert Stack, passed away on May 14, 2003.

According to CBS news, Stacks’ wife Rosemarie confirmed that he died of heart failure at the age of 84. She said that she found him slumped over in their home; the couple lived in Los Angeles, California together.

Stack Battled Prostate Cancer Prior to His Death

In 2002, Stack underwent treatment for prostate cancer, according to The Globe and Mail. At the time, his publicist Jerry Pam said he was receiving outpatient treatment, adding “He’s fine.”

He received radiation to treat the tumor, and had overcome the cancer prior to his death. After Stack’s passing, CBS News reported that his wife revealed that his passing was unrelated to his prior cancer battle. She said, “He was feeling so good. He had a bout with a tumor but that was gone. It wasn’t that, it was his heart. He was too weak. He wouldn’t have lived through a bypass.”

At the time of his passing Stack was survived by his wife, who he married in 1956, and their two children, Elizabeth and Charles. In the wake of Stack’s death, both children were with their mother at their parents’ Los Angeles home.

According to Stacks IMDb profile, he hosted Unsolved Mysteries from 1987 until 2002. In addition to hosting the original Unsolved Mysteries series, Stack starred as Eliot Ness on The Untouchables from 1959 until 1953. Some of his other notable credits included Airplane!, Hercules, and The Name of the Game. His last credited role as an actor was in 2002, when he voiced Reynolds Penland on King of the Hill.

The Herald Tribune reported that Stack compared his responsibility as the host on Unsolved Mysteries to his The Untouchables role; in a 1998 interview, he said, “I think there’s a definite carry-over from Eliot Ness. Somebody once said, ‘You really think you’re Eliot Ness.’ No, I don’t think I’m Ness, but I sure as hell know I’m not Al Capone.’”

‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Part 2 Preview

Unsolved Mysteries part 2 introduces 6 new episodes to the rebooted Netflix series. The episodes are entitled Tsunami Spirits, Stolen Kids, Lady in the Lake, Washington Insider Murder, A Death in Oslo and Death Row Fugitive.

The official synopsis for the second volume teases:

“In six new episodes, Unsolved Mysteries explores more unexplained disappearances, tragic events, and bizarre occurrences. What led to the death of a well-respected political insider? Was an unidentified woman found dead in Oslo, Norway, part of a secret intelligence operation? Did the sudden loss of lives in Japan’s 2011 tsunami result in supernatural encounters? Perhaps viewers hold vital clues that will help solve these mysteries. Detectives, journalists, and family members offer intriguing theories in this gripping series from the creators of the original docuseries.”

In an interview with the New York Post, Unsolved Mysteries creator Terry Dunn Meuer discussed their decision not to use a new host in Stack’s place. He said, “We talked about that for long time, even about using an unseen narrator, but we decided it was really tough to fill Robert Stack’s shoes. He was an iconic host for so many years. The other part of the equation was that we wanted this be in the documentary world, where the people whose mysteries these episodes involve are more present and more of the storytellers. In addition to interviewing family members and law enforcement, we go on location to get more of a sense of each case. We don’t try to come down on one point of view and try to create as balanced a story as we can.”

Part 2 of Unsolved Mysteries is released on Netflix on Monday, October 19 at 12am PT and 3am ET.

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