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James Luisi, known for his tough guy roles, was a guard for the Baltimore Bullets in the 1950s before becoming a stage and screen actor. Luisi left the basketball court to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and he began winning parts in musical theater productions, including the Bob Fosse-directed "Sweet Charity" in 1966. After working on many television shows, Luisi won his most famous role, as Lt. Doug Chapman on the classic James Garner adventure series "The Rockford Files." Luisi would play Lt. Chapman for four seasons, from 1976 to the end of the series in 1980. Fosse cast Luisi in 1983 in the impressive, despairing biopic "Star 80," which was Fosse's last movie. Luisi was mainly restricted to action on television, but he did win some acclaim, and a Daytime Emmy Award, for his portrayal of George Washington in a 1975 special called "First Ladies Diaries: Martha Washington." Luisi worked on daytime soap operas like "Santa Barbara," but he also made an impression in the Sally Field union drama, "Norma Rae." After some undistinguished television work in the 1980s, Luisi returned to his most famous part in a "Rockford Files" TV movie, "The Rockford Files: Friends and Foul Play" in 1996, and then had just one more credit before his death from cancer in 2002.
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