James Luisi, a character actor adept at portraying hard-boiled detectives and gangsters and remembered for his long-running role as Lt. Doug Chapman on television's "The Rockford Files," has died.
Luisi, 73, died June 7 in Los Angeles of cancer.
A professional basketball player with the Baltimore Bullets for two years, Luisi got into acting in the late 1950s after hearing that a neighborhood friend, Anthony Franciosa, was appearing in a Broadway show. "I can do that," Luisi said, and promptly enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Although probably best known for "The Rockford Files" with James Garner, Luisi won his top acting award, an Emmy, in 1976 for his portrayal of George Washington in the NBC special, "First Ladies' Diaries: Martha Washington.
Luisi also appeared in episodes of many of television's most popular detective and adventure series, including "Cannon," "Kojak," "Hunter," "Wonder Woman," "T.J. Hooker," "Hart to Hart," "The A-Team," "Knight Rider," "The Fall Guy," "Magnum, P.I." and "L.A. Law."