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‘The Rockford Files’: What Happened to the Cast of the Beloved Show

Get the inside scoop on this hit ‘70s show. 


The Rockford Files and it’s cast stands as a cornerstone of American television, blending elements of mystery, drama and humor to create a memorable series that captivated audiences during its original run from 1974 to 1980.

Produced by Universal Television, this hit show was created by Stephen J. Cannell and Roy Huggins. Huggins was known for his work on iconic series such as Maverick and 77 Sunset Strip. The show starred James Garner as the charming and resourceful private investigator Jim Rockford, who often finds himself entangled in complex mysteries while navigating the colorful characters that populated his world. With its engaging storylines, charismatic characters, and unique blend of genres, The Rockford Files cast quickly became a fan favorite, leaving a lasting impact on the landscape of television.

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Set in Los Angeles, the series featured a mix of wit, action, and engaging storytelling. The show became a staple of 1970s television.

The popularity of The Rockford Files can be attributed to several factors. First and foremost was the charismatic performance of James Garner as Jim Rockford. Garner’s portrayal of the laid-back yet determined private investigator struck a chord with audiences, earning him widespread acclaim and a dedicated fanbase. Additionally, the show’s clever writing, memorable supporting characters, and engaging mysteries kept viewers tuning in week after week. With its blend of action, humor, and heart, The Rockford Files captured the essence of classic television entertainment.

Here, we look into The Rockford Files cast, tracing their journeys from their beginnings to their post-Rockford endeavors.

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James Garner as Jim Rockford The Rockford Files cast

James Garner as Jim Rockford (The Rockford Files Cast)
1974/2004 Archive Photos / Stringer/Getty; Harry Langdon / Contributor/Getty

Born on April 7, 1928, in Norman, Oklahoma, James Garner portrayed Jim Rockford, a wisecracking private investigator with a penchant for getting into trouble and a knack for getting out of it.

Prior to the The Rockford Files cast, Garner gained fame for his roles the western series Maverick (1957). He also had film success in such movies as The Thrill of It All (1963), Move Over, Darling (1963), The Great Escape (1963), The Americanization of Emily (1964) and Grand Prix (1966).

He then got the role for which he was best remembered, as wry private eye Jim Rockford in the classic The Rockford Files. He won an Emmy award for his role.

After Rockford, he continued to enjoy a successful acting career, appearing in films like Tank (1984), Murphy’s Romance (1985) and Sunset (1988).

In 2002, he starred as Chief Justice Brankin in First Monday and 2003 he starred as Jim Egan in 8 Simple Rules. He also did voiceover work in Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam (2010).

Garner passed away in 2014 at the age of 86.

Noah Beery Jr. as Joseph “Rocky” Rockford

Noah Beery Jr. as Joseph "Rocky" Rockford (The Rockford Files Cast)

Born August 10, 1913, in New York City, Noah Beery Jr. played the character of Joseph “Rocky” Rockford, Jim’s father. His character was a retired truck driver with a penchant for trouble.

Before Rockford, Beery Jr. had a prolific career in film and television, appearing in classics like Red River, Only Angels Have Wings, and Inherit the Wind.

After Rockford he continued to work in TV, guest-starring on shows such as Murder, She Wrote, The Twilight Zone and The Love Boat.

Beery came from a family of actors, including his uncle Wallace Beery, a renowned film star of the early 20th century and his father, actor Noah Berry.

Berry Jr. died in 1994 at the age of 81.

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Joe Santos as Dennis Becker The Rockford Files cast

Joe Santos as Dennis Becker (The Rockford Files Cast)

Born June 9, 1931, in Brooklyn, New York, Joe Santos played the character of Dennis Becker, a LAPD sergeant and Jim’s friend who often assists him with his cases.

Before The Rockford Files, Santos appeared in various television shows and films, including Barnaby Jones, Shamus and The Blue Night.

After Rockford he continued to work in television and movies with roles in The Postman, The Last Boy Scout and The Sopranos.

He passed away in 2016 at the age of 84.

Gretchen Corbett as Beth Davenport

Gretchen Corbett as Beth Davenport

Born in 1945, in Camp Sherman, Oregon, Gretchen Corbett played the role of Beth Davenport, Jim’s attorney and occasional love interest.

Before The Rockford Files, Corbett appeared in various television shows and films, including The Immortal and Emergency!

After Rockford, she continued to work in television, with roles in series such as Magnum P.I., Otherworld, and Portlandia. Corbett also appeared in many movies over the years. Most recently she was in Lorelei (2020), Pig (2021), and The Value of Nothing (2022).

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Stuart Margolin as Angel Martin The Rockford Files cast

Stuart Margolin as Angel Martin
1980/2014 Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer/Getty; Craig Barritt / Contributor/Getty

Born on January 31, 1940, in Davenport, Iowa, Stuart Margolin played the role of Angel Martin, Jim’s charming, but unreliable friend and occasional informant. He won two Emmy awards for his role as Angel.

Margolin got his acting start in The Gertrude Berg Show (1961) before becoming a series regular on Ensign O’Toole (1962).

In addition to being an actor, Margolin is also a director. He directed several TV shows as well as made-for-TV movies. He has been nominated for Emmy awards for directing The Tracey Ullman Show and the children’s special The Sweetest Gift.

In his personal life, he was married three times and had three children.

He died in 2022 from pancreatic cancer. He was 82.

James Luisi as Lieutenant Douglas J. Chapman

James Luisi as Lieutenant Douglas J. Chapman

Born in 1928, in New York City, James Luisi played the role of Lieutenant Douglas J. Chapman

Jim’s no-nonsense police contact.

Luisi served in the army during the Korean War. He also played professional basketball for one season (1953-54) with the Baltimore Bullets. He then switched to acting to much success. He started out on stage in Broadway musicals including Sweet Charity and Zorba. He also appeared in several films including 1973’s I Escaped from Devil’s Island.  He received an Emmy for his role playing George Washington in First Ladies Diaries: Martha Washington (1975).

His big TV break came in the role of Lt. Chapman in The Rockford Files.

After Rockford, he was a regular in the series The Renegades, as well as on several soap operas including Days of Our Lives, Santa Barbara and Another World.

He passed away in 2002 at the age of 73.

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