Co-Star and TV Director of “The Rockford Files,” Stuart Margolin, Dies at 82

Stuart Margolin, 1980. (Photo by Getty Images)
Image credit: Getty Images

Stuart Margolin, a two-time Emmy winner best remembered for playing Evelyn “Angel” Martin in “The Rockford Files,” passed away on Monday in Staunton, Virginia, from natural causes, according to family members. He was 82.

Margolin also starred in the movies Days of Heaven and S.O.B. and the television shows MAS*H, The Fall Guy, Cannon, Hill Street Blues, and 30 Rock.

Margolin’s stepson, “Bosch: Legacy” actor Max Martini, posted a touching tribute to the veteran actor on Instagram and described how his immediate family was by his side in his final moments: “The two most significant events in my life were the birth of my children and being by my stepfather’s bedside when he died away this morning. I’m holding his hands with my mother, brother, and myself.

Early in the 1960s, Margolin made his acting debut in guest star parts on shows like “The Gertrude Berg Show” and “Ensign O’Toole,” which were both in black and white. Before landing a regular role on “Love, American Style,” he made intermittent appearances on such programs as “Bewitched,” “That Girl,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and “The Partridge Family.” In 1973, he even directed an episode of the show.

However, James Garner’s recurrent role as sidekick Deputy Mitchell on NBC’s 1971 sitcom “Nichols” provided the rising star with his big break.

We had conducted screen tests but were unsuccessful in finding what we were seeking for until I came across a clip from “Love, American Style” one day. Margolin was mentioned by Garner in his 2011 autobiography, “The Garner Files.” “The actor was so good that he broke me up even though the sequence wasn’t meant to be funny. He was the perfect fit, in my opinion.

Margolin and Garner’s friendship outside of the screen led to him being offered a part in “The Rockford Files,” an NBC series that featured private investigator and former con man Jim Rockford as he solved crimes. In the show, Angel, played by Margolin, is a habitual liar who made friends with Jim when he was incarcerated.

In the 1990s, he appeared in several “Rockford Files” TV movies in a similar capacity.

The multi-hyphenate also served as the director of several TV episodes, including three episodes of “Intelligence” in the early 2000s, seven episodes of “The Love Boat,” and two episodes of “Wonder Woman” from 1977.

The two most recent works by Margolin are “What the Night Can Do,” which she authored and starred in under the direction of stepson Christopher Martini, and a voice acting part in the earlier this year released short film “Home.”

Also Read: Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch’s composer on Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet and more, dies aged 85 | Music

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