Stuart Margolin Dead: Emmy-Winning Co-Star of 'The Rockford Files' Was 82

The two-time Emmy Award-winning actor died of natural causes in Staunton, Virginia, family members confirmed on Monday

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 9: Stuart Margolin holding Emmy Award at The 31st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 9, 1979 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, California (Photo by Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
Photo: Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Stuart Margolin, an Emmy award-winning character actor who co-starred in The Rockford Files, has died. He was 82.

Margolin died of natural causes in Staunton, Virginia, family members confirmed on Instagram Monday.

Known for his role as con man Evelyn "Angel" Martin on the 1970s detective drama series, for which he won two Emmys, Margolin later featured in two Blake Edwards movies, 1981's S.O.B. and 1986's A Fine Mess. He also became a prolific television director, reported The Hollywood Reporter.

Margolin's connection to Rockford Files star James Garner dated back to the early 1970s when the actor cast him in Nichols as a "sidekick who was a shifty-eyed, backstabbing rat, but also lovable," Garner wrote in his 2011 memoir, The Garner Files.

"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. "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."

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Philip Vaughan/Shutterstock (1306990f) Stuart Margolin and Richard Gere 'Arbitrage' Film Set, New York, America - 13 Apr 2011
Philip Vaughan/Shutterstock

Margolin later said he "never regretted" his longtime collaboration with Garner.

"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," he said in an interview in 2017, per THR. "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," he continued. "It closed down after a year, and then I was approached by Jim's executive producer and Stephen J. Cannell to be part of [NBC's] The Rockford Files. 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."

Alongside appearing on screen Margolin directed episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Wonder Woman, Touched by an Angel, The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., Northern Exposure, Quantum Leap and The Rockford Files.

The actor, who was born in Iowa and later lived in Dallas, Texas, got his break in the industry after meeting Barney Brown — a mentor to Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall — at a theater summer camp in Colorado, and later following Brown to California, according to THR.

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His final credits include a star turn in What the Night Can Do after lead Martin Sheen suffered an injury. Margolin's stepson, Christopher Martini, directed the movie.

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