Actor, TV director, and songwriter - all of these words describe the wide-ranging actor Stuart Margolin, who in a career spanning over half a century, appeared in over 100 movies and TV shows. A character actor in the truest sense of the word, Margolin's career in television began in the early 1960s, with numerous guest parts on several hit shows of the era, including "The Fugitive" (ABC 1963-67), "Ironside" (NBC 1967-1975), and "Bewitched" (ABC 1964-1972). After over a decade of relative obscurity as a nameless working actor, however, Margolin's life would change forever when he was cast alongside James Garner on "The Rockford Files" (NBC 1974-1980). Margolin played a weasley ex-con named Evelyn "Angel" Martin for all six seasons of the show, and eventually went on to earn two Primetime Emmys for his work. Although Margolin continued to act regularly throughout the ensuing decades, while also picking up a few awards for his work behind the camera as a TV director, his work on "The Rockford Files" remained his most lasting - the highlight of a long and multi-faceted career in show business.
Born in Iowa and raised in Texas, Margolin grew up wanting to become a professional dancer. His idols were Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire - the two icons of modern dance - but Margolin quickly realized that there was far more to dancing than just showing off. With that in mind, he promptly dashed any hopes of making a career out of it. He then turned his attention to acting, and by the age of eight had landed the role of Puck in a local production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Margolin remained a creature of the theater throughout most of his youth, appearing in as many plays as he could, while simultaneously honing his craft. By the early '60s, however, Hollywood came calling and Margolin soon began landing small parts on television shows. He landed his first recurring role in 1962 as Lieutenant Miller on the short-lived military comedy, "Ensign O'Toole" (NBC 1962-1963), and continued to be cast as sheriffs, lieutenants and other uniformed figures of authority throughout the 1960s. Then in 1971 Margolin landed the role of Deputy Sheriff Mitch on the TV western "Nichols" (NBC 1971-72). The show starred James Garner as the sherriff of a small town in Arizona, with Margolin playing the role of his sidekick. Despite being cancelled after one season, Garner was impressed by Margolin's performance and suggested him for a similar role in a new crime series he was staring in. That show, of course, was called "The Rockford Files."
As Evelyn "Angel" Martin, a lovable but shady ex-con, Margolin won two Primetime Emmys, as well as nearly universal praise from fans and critics alike. The show aired for six seasons on NBC, with Margolin reprising his role as Martin in several made-for-TV movies in the mid-'90s. Although Margolin continued to work steadily throughout the '80s and '90s, he started turning much of his attention to directing, having helmed episodes of hour-long dramas like "Magnum P.I." (CBS 1980-88), "Promised Land" (CBS 1996-99), and "Touched by an Angel" (CBS 1994-2003), among dozens of others. In addition to his work on television, Margolin also appeared in several high-profile films, including Terrence Malick's pensive drama "Days of Heaven" (1978), "The Hoax" (2006), and 2011's legal thriller "Arbitrage," starring Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere. Despite turning 70, Margolin remained active into the 2010s, appearing in an episode of the Canadian series "Republic of Doyle" (CBC 2010- ) in 2013.
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First recurring TV role on "Ensign O'Toole"
Appeared alongside James Garner on "Nichols"
Breakout performance as Evelyn "Angel" Martin on "The Rockford Files"
Supporting role in "Days of Heaven"
Cast in "The Hoax"
Appeared alongside Richard Gere and Susan Surandon in "Arbitrage"