James Garner dies at 86
One of Hollywood’s most noble actors, James Garner, passed away at the age of 86 late last night. Garner died in his Los Angeles home from what appears to be natural causes. A previously living-legend of the small-screen, Garner made a career for himself in Hollywood after playing Bret Maverick in the 1950s western series ‘Maverick’. He then took on the role of Jim Rockford in the 1970s detective series “The Rockford Files,” a role that introduced Garner to yet another generation of television viewers.
If you are younger, and didn’t watch these series with your mother on Saturday afternoons like I did, then you may know him from various film roles, including the role of older Ryan Gosling in “The Notebook.” You would be hard-pressed to find anyone that had a bad-word to say about Garner. He was charismatic and charming, both on-screen and off, and seemed to be celebrated everywhere he went. Even in film he grabbed starring roles in “The Great Escape,” “Victor Victoria” and “Murphy’s Romance,” that role grabbed Garner an Academy Award nomination though it wasn’t the only praise that he received.
Born in 1928 he wasn’t just a film and TV star, like many of his generation he was also a United States Merchant Marine at just sixteen years-old during World War II. In the Korean War he was as a member of the National Guard, and even earned a Purple Heart for his service at that time.
He shared the screen with Steve McQueen in “The Americanization of Emily,” was with Audrey Hepburn in “The Children’s Hour,” with Shirley MacLaine in “Boys’ Night Out” and audiences and critics loved his easy-going, and natural abilities on screen wherever he went.
Garner is survived by his wife Lois, his stepdaughter Kim, and their daughter Greta.