R.I.P. Stuart Margolin, Emmy-winner from The Rockford Files, character actor and director
A friendship with the legendary James Garner opened several doors for Margolin, who appeared with the star of ''Maverick'' multiple times on screen.
Character actor Stuart Margolin, who won a pair of Emmys for his role as Angel Martin on The Rockford Files, has died. He passed Monday, Dec. 12, 2022.
Born on Jan. 31, 1940 in Davenport, Iowa, Margolin attended a boarding school in Nashville and a private school in Dallas before moving to New York with his brother, after he got "booted out of several public schools," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Eventually Margolin made his way to Southern California, and by 1961, just a couple years after graduating high school, made his debut on The Gertrude Berg Show. He follwed that up with a recurring role on Ensign O'Toole. By the mid Sixties, Margolin had small roles on The Lieutenant, Burk's Law, Channing, The Fugitive and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, to name a few.
Margolin continued to get work with small character-acting roles in shows like The F.B.I., That Girl, The Monkees and The Virginian. In 1969, he was part of a group of actors on Love, American Style that appeared in blackout sketches, ones that linked segments of the show together.
In the early Seventies, Margolin could be seen on various episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cannon, Gunsmoke and on the early-season M*A*S*H episodes, "Bananas, Crackers and Nuts" and "Operation Noselift."
His appearances on Love, American Style caught the eye of one James Garner, the legendary star from Maverick. According to THR, Garner was getting ready to launch his first network series since Maverick in 1970 called Nichols, and was looking for a sidekick. After seeing Margolin in Love, American Style, Garner had his man.
"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. It wasn't a scene that should have gotten a laugh, but the actor was so good, he broke me up," Garner wrote in his 2011 memoir, per THR.
Appearing as Deputy Mitch Mitchell on Nichols, Margolin's career continued in the right direction, and his friendship with James Garner continued to flourish. The tandem teamed up again in The Rockford Files, a series in which Margolin received a pair of Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series.
He played Angel, who served time with Rockford (Garner), and became one of his closest friends, though he couldn't always be trusted.
Margolin also appeared on the big screen. His first big appearance came in Kelly's Heroes in 1970, as Pvt. Little Joe. He could also be seen in The Gambler, Futureworld, S.O.B. and Death Wish to name a few. He once again worked with his friend James Garner in the 1981 series Bret Maverick. This time, Margolin played Philo Sandeen, who called himself Standing Bear, per THR.
In addition to being in front of the camera, Margolin had several directing credits to his name. He was behind episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Wonder Woman, The Love Boat, Magnum P.I. along with The Rockford Files and others.
What started with small character-acting roles turned into a steady and successful entertainment career for Stuart Margolin.
He was 82.