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.

The Everett Collection

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.

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35 Comments

epickett 17 months ago
When I heard he had died, I told my wife "He was JUST on MASH the other night, too!" The episode where he was a plastic surgeon was on MeTV about 4 days before. I also liked him in Kelly's Heroes(one of my favorite 'war movies').
Runeshaper 17 months ago
R.I.P. Stuart Margolin. Sounds like a man that contributed a lot to his career 😊
manny4552 17 months ago
Stuart Margolin was a good actor.. he was everywhere it seems
DannyZ 17 months ago

Stuart

One of my favorite actors

The Rockford Files season two

'Chicken Little is a Little Chicken'

With Ray Danton

The "garden speech"

The best



Michael_Eberly 17 months ago
Man it's so sad to lose this one, He was such a great actor in M*A*S*H, Maverick and Gunsmoke!
KawiVulc 17 months ago
Aw... RIP. Always could be counted on for a good performance. A standouts among standouts in "Kelly's Heroes".
CreatureFeatureFan 17 months ago
Stuart Margolin. BIG SMILE 🙂 What an incredible actor. Always a pleasure to see. He will be missed greatly.
Jeffrey 17 months ago
Yes, R.I.P. Stuart Margolin. I especially loved you in ''The Rockford Files''. You were great in that. I also watched and liked you in the M*A*S*H Episode where you played a plastic surgeon. You loved Margaret's jowls.
popeye1995 17 months ago
GOD BLESS
R.I.P.
MISSING YOU ALREADY
Cougar 17 months ago
I enjoyed his acting. Sorry for the family's loss. He will be missed.
LalaLucy 17 months ago
Great character actor. Really enjoyed him. Prayers to all mourning his loss.
mjjg 17 months ago
God Bless Mr. Margolin. - loved him in M*A*S*H when he played the Plastic Surgeon
AlbertHanson 17 months ago
He was one of the bright spots in the film Futureworld, otherwise a turkey of a movie.
MarianHueyTaylor 17 months ago
I believe he was also in some of the early episodes of Criminal Minds. Also in one episode of Touched By An Angel.
Rita6868 17 months ago
Loved Stuart in so many things.I liked all of his acting but really enjoyed his comedy.I liked him on all of the "Love American Style" episodes but my favorite still is The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode as the over zealous suitor.Fond memories of you Stuart.I always knew I would see some good acting when you walked into the room.Thank You!Love You Always! Rest easy.
LalaLucy Rita6868 17 months ago
Thank you for reminding me of one of my favorite parts he ever did. That is a great Mary episode. He was so funny in it.
SteveMcnary 17 months ago
Angel Martin is one of the best supporting characters in TV history.
JohnGrant 17 months ago
He was great in Rockford but I hope my close friends are a little more trustworthy.
JHP 17 months ago
the holidays just get worse

Angel is up with the angels:( x1000
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