Actor Stuart Margolin, the two-time Emmy winner known for his performance as Evelyn “Angel” Martin in the “The Rockford Files,” died of natural causes in Staunton, Va. on Monday, family members confirmed. He was 82.
Margolin also appeared in “M*A*S*H,” “The Fall Guy,” “Cannon,” “Hill Street Blues,” “30 Rock” and in films including “Days of Heaven” and “S.O.B.”
Margolin’s stepson, “Bosch: Legacy” cast member Max Martini, took to Instagram with a heartfelt tribute as he explained how the veteran actor’s immediate family surrounded him during his final moments: “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.”
Margolin got his start acting in the early 1960s, with some of his earliest acting credits being guest star roles on black-and-white sitcoms like “The Gertrude Berg Show” and “Ensign O’Toole.” He proceeded to make sporadic appearances on shows including “Bewitched,” “That Girl,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Partridge Family.” before ultimately scoring a recurring gig on “Love, American Style,” which he even directed an episode of in 1973.
But the burgeoning star’s big break emerged with a recurring role as sidekick Deputy Mitchell alongside co-star James Garner on NBC’s 1971 series “Nichols.”
“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 wrote of Margolin in his 2011 memoir, “The Garner Files.” “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.”
Margolin and Garner’s off-screen friendship would lead to him being offered a role on another NBC project — “The Rockford Files” — which followed the crime-solving mysteries of private detective and former con artist Jim Rockford. In the series, Margolin’s character, Angel, is a pathological liar who befriended Jim in prison.
He reprised his role in a number of “Rockford Files” TV movies in the 1990s.
The multi-hyphenate also directed numerous TV episodes, with notable credits being two episodes of 1977’s “Wonder Woman,” seven episodes of “The Love Boat” in the same year and three episodes of “Intelligence” in the early 2000s.
Margolin’s most recent projects include a voice acting role in the short film “Home,” which was released earlier this year, along with “What the Night Can Do,” which Margolin starred in and wrote under the direction of stepson Christopher Martini.