By William “Skip” Deegans
Award-winning actor and former resident of Lewisburg and Gap Mills, Stuart Margolin, died in Staunton, Virginia on Dec. 12 after a long and gallant battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born in Davenport, Iowa in 1940 and raised in Dallas. He experienced a troubled youth and ended up in juvenile court (Years later, his parole officer, Patricia Dunne, would become his wife). He moved in with his older brother and actor, Arnold Margolin, who lived in New York City where he returned to school. His brother encouraged Margolin to attend a summer acting camp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. A connection he made there with one of the teachers led to a job as an actor at the Pasadena Playhouse in California and the beginning of his career.
Margolin is best known for his role as Angel in the long-running TV series, The Rockford Files. For that role he won two Emmy awards. He appeared in numerous other TV shows including M.A.S.H., The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Magnum P.I., and Hill Street Blues. As a director, his credits include Magnum P.I., Quantum Leap, Wonder Woman, Touched by an Angel, The Love Boat, and Northern Exposure. In 1987, he shared an Emmy with Ted Bessel for directing The Tracy Ullman Show. In 1997, he won for best director of a family film by the Director’s Guild for his feature film Salt Water Moose.
His most recent projects include directing the films Home and What The Night Can Do that was filmed in the Greenbrier Valley. Locally. Margolin appeared in three plays at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre. He and his brother, Arnold, starred in Laughter on the 23rd Floor in 2015. The next year he appeared with Gretchen Corbett, a co-star in The Rockford Files, in On Golden Pond. His final performance was in Ibsen’s Enemy of the People in 2018.
Margolin learned to play golf as a boy in Dallas and was good enough to have been offered college scholarships. The proximity to The Greenbrier’s golf courses played an important role is drawing him and his wife to Monroe and Greenbrier Counties. He moved to Staunton to be close to the University of Virginia Medical Center. In addition to his wife, Pat, Margolin is survived by three step-children.
Photo from Wekimedia.
Sources: Greenbrier Quarterly, New York Times, Hollywood Reporter.