James Luisi

James A. Luisi (November 2, 1928 June 7, 2002) was an American professional basketball player and actor. Luisi is perhaps best known for his role as Lt. Doug Chapman, the apoplectic foil to detective Jim Rockford, in a total of 23 episodes during Seasons 3 through 6 of the television series The Rockford Files.

James Luisi
Born(1928-11-02)November 2, 1928
DiedJune 7, 2002(2002-06-07) (aged 73)
Other namesJim Luisi
OccupationFormer NBA player, actor
Years active1961–1999
Spouse(s)Georgia Phillips (1961–2002)

Basketball career

Born in East Harlem, New York City, Luisi attended St. Francis College on a basketball scholarship before being drafted by the Boston Celtics in the sixth round of the 1951 N.B.A. draft. After serving in the US Army during the Korean War, he played with the Baltimore Bullets for one year in the 1953-54 season. At 6'2" (1.88 m) and 180 lb (82 kg), he played guard for 31 games and averaged 3 points a game.


Luisi then attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and appeared on Broadway in productions of Alfie and Do I Hear a Waltz? as well as the original 1966 production of Sweet Charity.[1]

Television and Movies

From 1961 to the mid-1970s Luisi appeared on such television shows as Naked City, The Rifleman, The Doctors (5 episodes), Bonanza (2 episodes), The F.B.I. (2 different roles in 2 episodes), Adam-12, Kojak (2 roles in a total of 3 episodes), Cannon, Police Story (2 roles in a total of 3 episodes), The Rookies (2 roles in 2 episodes), Mannix (2 roles in 2 episodes), Ironside, Barnaby Jones (5 roles in 5 episodes), The Streets of San Francisco, Gunsmoke (2 episodes), Chopper One and S.W.A.T.

In 1976 Luisi had a guest role as a shady businessman on a Season 2 episode of The Rockford Files. The next season on the same show he portrayed Lt. Doug Chapman, a high-ranking, disagreeable police officer who dislikes the titular Rockford character portrayed by James Garner. Luisi ultimately played Chapman in 23 episodes, until the end of the show’s six-year run. He reprised the role in two Rockford TV-movies in 1996.

In 1976, Luisi shared a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Special for his portrayal of George Washington in the 1975 miniseries First Ladies Diaries: Martha Washington.[2]

Also in 1976 he appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode titled “Sue Ann Falls In Love”. He subsequently had guest roles in Starsky and Hutch, Black Sheep Squadron, Hunter (2 episodes), Wonder Woman, Fantasy Island, Quincy M.E. and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

During the 1980s Luisi guest starred on such television staples as CHiPs, Vega$, Hart to Hart (in 2 episodes), The A-Team, Knight Rider, T. J. Hooker, Matt Houston, The Fall Guy, Simon & Simon, Magnum, P.I., Knots Landing (the same role in 4 episodes) and It's a Living. In 1987 and 1988 he appeared as Ben Clark in 23 episodes of the soap opera Santa Barbara. From 1987 to 1992 he appeared as Duke Earl Johnson in 21 episodes of Days of Our Lives.

Luisi appeared in the studio films Ben (1972), I Escaped from Devil's Island (1973), The Man from Independence (1974), The Take (1974), Stunts (1977), Killer’s Delight (1978), Moment by Moment (1978), Norma Rae (1979), Fade to Black (1980), Star 80 (1983), Murphy's Law (1986), The Hidden (1987), Feds (1987), Lethal Woman (1987) and Wanted (1998).

He also appeared in the made-for-television movies Cat Ballou (1971), Cry Rape (1973), Honky Tonk (1974), Don’t Call Us (1976), The Cabot Connection (1977), A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story (1977), Contract on Cherry Street (1977), Love Is Not Enough (1978), One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story (1978), The Asphalt Cowboy (1980), Our Family Business (1981), The Renegades (1982), Sunset Limousine (1983) and The Red-Light Sting (1984).


Luisi died of cancer in 2002, aged 73. He was survived by his wife of 41 years, the former Georgia Phillips. He was also survived by his daughter, Jamie Swartz; a brother, Jerry Luisi; and two grandchildren. He is buried in Los Angeles at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park.[1][2]

Filmography (partial)

Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Tiger Makes Out Pete Copolla
1972 Ben Ed
1973 I Escaped from Devil's Island Dazzas
1974 The Man from Independence Stranger
1974 The Take Benedetto
1977 Stunts Alvin Blake Alternative title: Who Is Killing the Stuntmen?
1978 Killer's Delight Sgt. Vince De Carlo
1978 Moment by Moment Dan Santini
1979 Norma Rae George Benson
1980 Fade to Black Capt. M.L. Gallagher
1983 Star 80 Roy
1983 China Lake Watch Commander Short
1986 Murphy's Law Ed Reineke
1987 The Hidden Sleazy cocaine-sniffing Ferrari Salesman
1988 Lethal Woman Colonel Jerry Maxim Alternative title: The Most Dangerous Woman Alive
1988 Feds Sperry
1999 Wanted Vincent Argento (final film role)
Year Title Role Notes
1961 Naked City Mark Andrew Screen / Television debut
1962 The Rifleman Chuley Carr 1 episode
1963–1964 Bonanza Willard 2 episodes
1964 The Reporter Joe 1 episode
1971 The Interns Nick 1 episode
1972 Cannon Sonny 1 episode
1974 Ironside Mike Purcell 1 episode
Mannix John Larkin 1 episode
The Streets of San Francisco Lloyd Davies 1 episode
1975 S.W.A.T Phil Garland 1 episode
1976 Starsky and Hutch Carl Boyce 1 episode
Kojak Captain Rosseau 1 episode
The Mary Tyler Moore Show Doug 1 episode
The Rockford Files Lieutenant Chapman Season 3 through 6
Good Heavens Bart Matson 1 episode
1978 Wonder Woman George 1 episode
Fantasy Island Arbogast 1 episode
1979 The Eddie Capra Mysteries Dale Monday Episode "Murder Plays a Dead Hand"
Quincy M.E. Marine Colonel Charles Casey 1 episode
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Hood 1 episode
1980 CHiPs Lazarri 1 episode
Here's Boomer Combs 1 episode
1982 Beyond Witch Mountain Foreman Television movie
1983 Renegades Lt. Marciana 6 episodes
1984 Riptide Uptown Bill Brown 1 episode
Hart to Hart Damian Troy 1 episode
The A-Team Jimmy Durkee 1 episode
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Jordan Hollis 1 episode
Knight Rider D.G. Grebs 1 episode
The Fall Guy Brazzi 1 episode
1987 Magnum, P.I. John Walter Costa 1 episode
Knots Landing Lieutenant Gilbert Garcia 4 episodes
1987–1988 Santa Barbara Ben Clark 11 episodes
1988 It's a Living Roscoe 1 episode
1989 The Hogan Family Leopold 3 episodes
1991 L.A. Law Paul Viola 1 episode
1992 Tequila and Bonetti Harry Dirday 1 episode
1996 Baywatch Nights Murray 1 episode


  1. Oliver, Myrna (2002-06-21). "Character Actor James Luisi". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  2. James Luisi on IMDb
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