James Garner American Film Actor Dies

 James Garner American Film Actor Dies
James Garner, who starred in many films and television series, and was most well-known for his roles in the late 1950’s western “Maverick,” and his Emmy-winning role in the 1970’s “The Rockford Files,” has died at 86, according to reports.

James Garner photosTall and handsome, Garner had the leading man looks that led to roles in big screen dramas ranging from 1958’s “Darby’s Rangers” to 1963’s “The Great Escape.” But his flair for light comedy earned him several starring film roles, and extended to the small screen as well, with series hits “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files.” The two-time Purple Heart medal recipient served with the U.S. Army in the Korean War, deployed with the 5th Regiment Combat Team in Korea. He was a native of Norman, Oklahoma, born there in 1928 as the youngest of three. Garner said at one time he never graduated from high school, having received his diploma instead from the U.S. Army.

“I’m a Spencer Tracy-type actor,” Garner once said. “His idea was to be on time, know your words, hit your marks and tell the truth. Most every actor tries to make it something it isn’t [or] looks for the easy way out. I don’t think acting is that difficult if you can put yourself aside and do what the writer wrote.” Garner’s acting career began in 1954 with a non-speaking role in the Broadway play “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial”. Soon after, he landed TV roles, commercials and a movie contract with Warner Bros. As one of the first major motion picture stars to cross over into television, Garner’s portrayal of Bret Maverick starting in 1957 catapulted his career into stardom, earning his first Golden Globe in 1958 along with his first Emmy nomination.

Beginning in 1974, James Garner’s comedic portrayal of Jim Rockford in the private detective drama “The Rockford Files” with “Maverick” co-creator Roy Huggins would earn his first Emmy win in 1977, in addition to four more nominations. After early film career appearances on-screen beside the likes of Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn, and Charleton Heston, James Garner’s career leapfrogged between the big and small screens, building him a significant filmography that included titles like “The Thrill Of It All,” and “The Great Escape.” His film appearances continued in the 2000s with the Clint Eastwood-led veteran astronaut comedy “Space Cowboys,” chick-flick “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” and the hugely successful 2004 tearjerker “ 

The Notebook,” in which Garner and Gena Rowlands played the older versions of a couple portrayed by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. Garner has had his share of health problems over the years. In 1988 he had quadruple bypass surgery, and months later he needed surgery again for an aneurysm. In the 90′s it was blood clots, and then in 2008 Garner suffered a stroke, requiring his use of a wheelchair. Garner is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lois, and daughters Gigi and Kimberly. -wltx

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