Stuart Margolin, who won multiple Emmys for his recurring role as Evelyn “Angel” Martin on The Rockford Files and earned more than 120 career screen credits, died today, his stepson Max Martini said on social media. He turned 82.
In an Instagram post (see below), Bosch: legacy regular Martini wrote: “A very gifted stepfather who was always there with love and support for his family. RIP Dad. Keep them cold.” He gave no cause of death or other details.
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Margolin won Emmys in 1979 and 1980 for NBC’s fifth and sixth seasons, respectively. The Rockford Files, playing Jim Rockford’s (James Garner) former cellmate. Appearing in more than three dozen episodes, including the first and last of the series, his seedy yet endearing character constantly sought Rockford’s help after becoming entangled with former criminal associates.
The Rockford Files was a first hit, charting at No. 14 among primetime shows in a three-network universe during its 1974-75 first season and spawning a Top 10 single featuring Mike Post’s instrumental theme song. But after that it became more of a cult series, failing to make the full season Top 30 again as it bounced around NBC’s schedule, but winning the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 1978. It was also nominated in the category for the last two seasons.
Margolin reprized his Angel role Rockford files TV movies in the 1990s, a tribute to the show’s enduring popularity.
But it was certainly not Margolin’s only merit.
Margolin appeared opposite Garner in serials before and after The Rockford Files. He was a regular on the short-lived Western Nichols, playing the town bully to Garner’s violent-hating get-rich-quick title character. The show lasted one season on NBC in 1971-72.
They would then team up again for another NBC Western Rockford finished. Brett Maverick was based on Independent thinking person, the 1957-62 series starring Garner – who left in 1960 – as a smart, neat ladies’ man and card sharp. Margolin co-starred as Philo Sandine, an Indian scout-slash-con guy who wasn’t far off from his Angel persona. The series lasted one season in 1981-82 and aired in reruns on NBC in 1990.
Margolin began his career in the early 1960s with guest appearances on popular series such as The fugitive, Ben Casey and Alfred Hitchcock presents. Margolin continued to appear on TV throughout that decade in memorable and enduring shows, including Ironside, the virginian, The Monkees, Bewitched, The FBI and The Partridge Family. He also became a familiar face in the horny anthology comedy love, american style, appeared in over two dozen episodes from 1966-73.
Margolin landed another 1980s series regular on the NBC sitcom Mr. Smith, bossing a character tasked with keeping track of the title character – a talking orangutan who is America’s newest secret weapon. The high-concept but low-rated show ran for a handful of episodes in the fall of 1983.
After that, Margolin settled mainly in the character-actor mode and guest starred in series like Hill Street Blues, Mad as a Fox and The Tracey Ullman Show. He got another regular role, on the Canadian dramedy mom, PI, playing a cynical private investigator who hires a widowed waitress (Rosemary Dunsmore) as an assistant. It aired two seasons from 1990-92.
Margolin continued to work in TV for the next three decades, with guest credits on popular shows including Touched by an angel, 30 Rock and NCISalong with a recurring role on Beggars and voters.
He would get one last series of regular appearances with it Stone undercover (aka Tom Stone), a syndicated police drama that aired in 26 episodes on CBC in Canada from 2001-2002. Margolin played Jack Welsh, an old friend of the title star (Chris William Martin), who was – of course – a bit of a con artist, helping the undercover Stone to frame crooked businessmen.
Margolin also did some film work, mainly in the 2000s and 2010s. One of his last credits was a 2018 role in the revived Fox sci-fi drama The X files.
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