Stuart Margolin, best known for playing the con man Evelyn “Angel” Martin on The Rockford Files, died Monday at the age of 82.
Margolin won two Emmys for his portrayal of Angel on “The Rockford Files.” Angel had served time in San Quentin with private investigator Jim Rockford, played by James Garner.
“We’d made screen tests but couldn’t find what we were looking for until one day I saw a clip from ‘Love, American Style,’” Garner recalled. “It wasn’t a scene that should have gotten a laugh, but the actor was so good, he broke me up. I knew he was the one for the part.”
“I was being sought after as a young character actor and comedian until I had a choice to be on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ or on ‘Nichols’ with Jim Garner,” Margolin said in 2017. “I chose to work with Jim Garner because I thought I’d have more fun, which I never regretted.”
“It was a great series with great writers and the favorite show Jim ever did. It closed down after a year, and then I was approached by Jim’s executive producer and Stephen J. Cannell to be part of ‘The Rockford Files,’” he continued. “So my career got a little bigger, I won a couple of Emmys, and I’ve had a real steady career over the years with a lot of parts.”
Margolin, born in Davenport, Iowa, spent time learning his craft from Barney Brown, who also taught Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, and Robert Duvall, The Hollywood Reporter noted.
He debuted on TV in 1961 on “The Gertrude Berg Show”, then followed with appearances on “Ensign O’Toole,” “Burke’s Law,” “The Fugitive,” “12 O’Clock High,” “Occasional Wife,” “Ben Casey,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Monkees.”
In films, Margolin appeared in “S.O.B.,” “A Fine Mess,” “The Stone Killer” and “Death Wish.”
Margolin did more than act; he also directed episodes of “The Rockford Files” as well as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Wonder Woman,” “Touched By An Angel,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Northern Exposure,” and “The Love Boat.”
Margolin’s stepson, Max Martini, wrote in a tribute on Instagram:
The two most profound moments in my life… the birth of my kids and being bedside as my step-father passed this morning. My mother, brother and I holding his hands. All the time in between birth and death, life, is up to us to fill with equally profound moments. Anyway, it made me realize how much time I’ve wasted on things that were never going to amount to anything. Just a profound realization I thought I’d share. Love you Stuart Margolin. A great actor/writer/producer/director. But more importantly, a profoundly gifted step-father that was always there with love and support for his family. RIP Pappy. Keep ‘em cold.