|Height:||187 cm (6' 2'')|
|Birth Day:||April 7, 1928|
|Death Date:||Jul 19, 2014 (age 86)|
|Birth Place:||Norman, United States|
|#2||Jack Garner||Brother||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||94||Celebrity Family Member|
|#5||Weldon Warren Bumgarner||Father||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#6||Mildred Scott Bumgarner||Mother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
As per our current Database, James Garner died on Jul 19, 2014 (age 86).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|187 cm (6' 2'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Before joining his father in Los Angeles, where he briefly worked as a model for Jantzen bathing suits, he joined the United States Merchant Marine at age 16.
Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner on April 7, 1928 in Denver, Oklahoma (now a part of Norman, Oklahoma). His parents were Weldon Warren Bumgarner, a widower, and Mildred Scott (Meek), who died five years after his birth. His older brothers were Jack Garner (1926–2011) and Charles Bumgarner (1924-1984), a school administrator. His family was Methodist. After their mother's death, Garner and his brothers were sent to live with relatives. Garner was reunited with his family in 1934, when Weldon remarried.
In 1954, Paul Gregory, a friend whom Garner had met while attending Hollywood High School, persuaded Garner to take a nonspeaking role in the Broadway production of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, where he was able to study Henry Fonda night after night. During the week of Garner's death, TCM broadcast most of his movies, introduced by Robert Osborne, who said that Fonda's gentle, sincere persona rubbed off on Garner, greatly to Garner's benefit.
Garner subsequently moved to television commercials and eventually to television roles. In 1955, Garner was considered for the lead role in the Western series Cheyenne, but that role went to Clint Walker because the casting director could not reach Garner in time (according to Garner's autobiography). Garner wound up playing an Army officer in the 1955 Cheyenne pilot titled "Mountain Fortress." His first film appearances were in The Girl He Left Behind and Toward the Unknown in 1956.
Garner was married to Lois Josephine Fleischman Clarke, whom he met at a party in 1956. They married 14 days later on August 17, 1956. "We went to dinner every night for 14 nights. I was just absolutely nuts about her. I spent $77 on our honeymoon, and it about broke me." According to Garner, "Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you'd be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist." His wife was Jewish.
In 1957, he had a supporting role in the TV anthology series episode on Conflict entitled "Man from 1997," portraying Maureen (Gloria Talbott)'s brother "Red"; the show stars Jacques Sernas as Johnny Vlakos and Charlie Ruggles as elderly Mr. Boyne, a librarian from 1997, and involved a 1997 Almanac that was mistakenly left in the past by Boyne and found by Johnny in a bookstore. The series' producer Roy Huggins noted in his Archive of American Television interview that he subsequently cast Garner as the lead in Maverick due to his comedic facial expressions while playing scenes in "Man from 1997" that were not originally written to be comical. He changed his last name from Bumgarner to Garner after the studio had credited him as "James Garner" without permission. He then legally changed it upon the birth of his first child, when he decided she had too many names.
Next came the war dramas The Great Escape (1963) with Steve McQueen, The Americanization of Emily (1964) with Julie Andrews, and Roald Dahl's 36 Hours (1965) with Eva Marie Saint (both the latter two films involved D-Day. He also made Mister Buddwing (1964), a picture depicting a man with amnesia. In the smash hit The Great Escape, Garner played the second lead for the only time during the decade, supporting fellow ex-TV series cowboy McQueen among a cast of British and American screen veterans including Richard Attenborough, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson in a story depicting a mass escape from a German prisoner of war camp based on a true story. The film was released in the same month as The Thrill Of It All, giving Garner two films at the box office at the same time. The Americanization of Emily, a literate antiwar D-Day comedy, featured a screenplay written by Paddy Chayefsky and has remained Garner's favorite of all his work. In 1963, exhibitors voted him the 16th most popular star in the US and it was hoped that he might be a successor to Clark Gable.
On August 28, 1963, Garner was one of several celebrities to join Martin Luther King Jr. in the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom". In his autobiography, Garner recalled sitting in the third row listening to King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
Garner played Wyatt Earp in two very different movies shot 21 years apart, Hour of the Gun in 1967 and Sunset in 1988. The first film was a realistic depiction of the O.K. Corral shootout and its aftermath, while the second centered around a comedic fictional adventure shared by Earp and silent movie cowboy star Tom Mix. Earp had actually worked as a consultant for Western films during the silent film era toward the end of his life. The movie features Bruce Willis as Mix in only his second movie role. Although Willis was billed over Garner, the film actually gave more screen time and emphasis to Earp.
In 1969, despite opposition from some at MGM and having to plead his case, Garner played Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe in Marlowe, a detective drama featuring an early extended kung fu fight scene with the great martial artist and actor Bruce Lee. The same year, Garner scored a hit with the comedy Western Support Your Local Sheriff!.
Garner was an owner of the "American International Racers" (AIR) auto racing team from 1967 through 1969. Motorsports writer William Edgar and Hollywood director Andy Sidaris teamed with Garner for the racing documentary The Racing Scene, filmed in 1969 and released in 1970. The team fielded cars at Le Mans, Daytona, and Sebring endurance races, but is best known for Garner's celebrity status raising publicity in early off-road motor-sports events. In 1978, he was one of the inaugural inductees in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.
In 1970, Garner and his wife briefly lived separately for three months. In late 1979, Garner again separated from his wife (around the time The Rockford Files stopped filming), splitting his time between living in Canada and "a rented house in the Valley". The two resumed living together in September 1981, and remained married for the rest of his life. Garner said that the separations were not caused by marital problems, instead stating that he simply needed to spend time alone in order to recover from the stress of acting. Garner died less than a month before their 58th wedding anniversary.
In 1971, Garner returned to television in an offbeat series, Nichols. The motorcycle-riding antihero character was killed in what became the final episode of the single-season series. Garner was recast as the character's somewhat more normal twin brother, in the hopes of creating a more popular series with few cast changes. However, according to Garner's 1999 videotaped Archive of American Television interview, not only did the network change the name of the series to James Garner as Nichols, Garner had Nichols killed in the last episode so that a sequel could never be made.
Also in 1971 he starred in Support Your Local Gunfighter! (similar to the western spoof Support Your Local Sheriff!), while in the frontier comedy Skin Game, Garner and Louis Gossett Jr. starred as con men pretending to be a slave and his owner during the pre-Civil War era. The following year, Garner played a small town sheriff investigating a murder in They Only Kill Their Masters, with Katharine Ross. He appeared in two Disney films co-starring Vera Miles as his leading lady, One Little Indian (1973), featuring Jodie Foster in an early minor role, and The Castaway Cowboy (1974) with Robert Culp, before returning to television with a new detective series.
Garner signed a three-year sponsorship contract with American Motors Corporation (AMC). His shops prepared ten 1969 SC/Ramblers for the Baja 500 race. Garner did not drive in this event because of a film commitment in Spain that year. Nevertheless, seven of his cars finished the grueling race, taking three of the top five places in the sedan class. Garner also drove the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 race in 1975, 1977, and 1985 (see: list of Indianapolis 500 pace cars).
After World War II, Garner joined his father in Los Angeles and enrolled at Hollywood High School, where he was voted the most popular student. A high school gym teacher recommended him for a job modeling Jantzen bathing suits. It paid well ($25 an hour), but in his first interview for the Archives of American Television, he said he hated modeling; he soon quit and returned to Norman. He played football and basketball at Norman High School, and competed on the track and golf teams. However, he dropped out in his senior year. In a 1976 Good Housekeeping magazine interview, he admitted, "I was a terrible student and I never actually graduated from high school, but I got my diploma in the Army."
When Garner and Clarke married, her daughter Kim from a previous marriage was seven years old and recovering from polio. Garner had one daughter with Lois: Greta "Gigi" Garner. In an interview in Good Housekeeping with Garner, his wife, and two daughters, conducted at their home, and published in March 1976, Gigi's age was given as 18 and Kim's as 27.
In the 1970s, Roy Huggins had an idea to remake Maverick, but this time as a modern-day private detective. Huggins worked with co-creator Stephen J. Cannell, and the pair selected Garner to attempt to rekindle the success of Maverick, eventually recycling many of the plots from the original series, according to both Huggins' and Cannell's Archive of American Television interviews. Starting with the 1974 season, Garner appeared as private investigator Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files. He appeared for six seasons, for which he received an Emmy Award for Best Actor in 1977. In the 2016 book titled TV (The Book), film and television critic Matt Zoller Seitz stated that the series gave Garner "the role he was put on earth to play."
Nominated for 15 Emmy Awards during his television career, Garner received the award in 1977 as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (The Rockford Files) and in 1987 as executive producer of Promise.
Garner became a friend and supporter of African-American sculptor Richmond Barthé, from the time the latter returned from Europe in 1977 and settled in Pasadena until his death in 1989.
Garner and Jack Kelly reappeared as Bret and Bart Maverick in a 1978 made-for-television film entitled The New Maverick, which served as the pilot for a failed series, Young Maverick, starring Charles Frank as a younger cousin named Ben Maverick. The series itself, which only featured Garner for a few moments at the beginning of the first show, was canceled so rapidly that some of the episodes filmed were never broadcast.
Garner appeared with Mariette Hartley, who guest-starred in an episode of Rockford Files, in a lengthy series of extremely popular Polaroid Camera commercials. After six seasons, The Rockford Files was cancelled in 1980. Although low ratings were primarily to blame, the physical toll on Garner was also an issue. Appearing in nearly every scene of the series, doing many of his own stunts—including one that injured his back—was wearing him out. A knee injury from his National Guard days worsened in the wake of the continuous jumping and rolling, and he was hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer in 1979. When Garner's physician ordered him to rest, the studio cancelled The Rockford Files.
After the abrupt disappearance of Young Maverick two seasons earlier, an attempt to make a "Maverick" series without Garner, he returned to his earlier TV role in 1981 in the revival series Bret Maverick, but NBC unexpectedly canceled the show after only one season despite reasonably good ratings. Critics noted that most of the scripts did not measure up to the episodes starring Garner in the first series. Jack Kelly (Bart Maverick) was slated to become a series regular had the show been picked up for another season, and he appeared in the last scene of the final episode in a surprise guest appearance.
In July 1983, Garner filed suit against Universal Studios for US$16.5 million in connection with his ongoing dispute from The Rockford Files. The suit charged Universal with "breach of contract; failure to deal in good faith and fairly; and fraud and deceit". Garner alleged that Universal was "creatively accounting", two words that are now part of the Hollywood lexicon. The suit was eventually settled out of court in 1989. As part of the agreement, Garner could not disclose the amount of the settlement.
During the 1980s, Garner played dramatic roles in a number of television films, including Heartsounds with Mary Tyler Moore, Promise with Piper Laurie, and My Name Is Bill W. In 1984, he played the lead in Joseph Wambaugh's The Glitter Dome for HBO Pictures, which was being directed by his Rockford Files co-star Stuart Margolin. The film generated a mild controversy for a bondage sequence featuring Garner and co-star Margot Kidder.
Garner was noted as an enthusiastic fan of the Raiders in the NFL; he regularly attended games and mixed with the players. He was also present when the Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII over the Washington Redskins in January 1984 at Tampa, Florida.
For his role in the 1985 CBS miniseries Space, the character's party affiliation was changed from Republican as in the book to reflect Garner's personal views. Garner said, "My wife would leave me if I played a Republican."
On April 22, 1988, Garner had quintuple bypass heart surgery. Though he recovered rapidly, he was advised to stop smoking. Garner quit smoking 17 years later.
"The industry is like it always has been. It's a bunch of greedy people," he stated in 1990. Garner sued Universal again in 1998 for $2.2 million over syndication royalties. In this suit, he charged the studio with "deceiving him and suppressing information about syndication". He was supposed to receive $25,000 per episode that ran in syndication, but Universal charged him "distribution fees". He also felt that the studio did not release the show to the highest bidder for the episode reruns.
In 1990, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was also inducted into the Television Hall of Fame that same year. In February 2005, he received the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role that year, for The Notebook. When Morgan Freeman won that prize for his work in Million Dollar Baby, Freeman led the audience in a sing-along of the original Maverick theme song, written by David Buttolph and Paul Francis Webster.
Garner was an avid golfer for many years. Along with his brother, Jack, he played golf in high school. Jack even attempted a professional golfing career after a brief stint in the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball farm system. Garner took it up again in the late 1950s to see if he could beat Jack. He was a regular for years at Pebble Beach Pro-Am. In February 1990 at the AT&T Golf Tournament, he won the Most Valuable Amateur Trophy. Garner appeared on Sam Snead's Celebrity Golf TV series which aired from 1960 – 1963. These matches were 9-hole charity events pitting Snead against Hollywood celebrities.
There was an effort by California Democratic party leaders, led by state Senator Herschel Rosenthal, to persuade Garner to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor of California in the 1990 election. However, future United States Senator and former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein received the nomination instead, losing to Republican Pete Wilson in the election.
In 1991, Garner starred in Man of the People, a television series about a con man chosen to fill an empty seat on a city council, with Kate Mulgrew and Corinne Bohrer. Despite reasonably fair ratings, the show was canceled after only 10 episodes.
In 1993, Garner played the lead in a well-received HBO movie, the true story Barbarians at the Gate, and went on to reprise his role as Jim Rockford in eight The Rockford Files made-for-TV movies beginning the following year. Practically everyone in the original cast of recurring characters returned for the new episodes except Noah Beery Jr., who had died in the interim. According to Garner's memoir The Garner Files, he insisted upon being paid in cash before the shooting began on each of the Rockford TV-movies.
In 1994, Garner played Marshal Zane Cooper in a movie version of Maverick, with Mel Gibson as Bret Maverick (in the end it is revealed that Garner's character is the father of Gibson's Maverick) and Jodie Foster as a gambling lass with a fake Southern accent.
In 1995, he played lead character Woodrow Call, an ex-lawman, in the TV miniseries sequel to Lonesome Dove entitled Streets of Laredo, based on Larry McMurtry's book. In 1996, Garner and Jack Lemmon teamed up in My Fellow Americans, playing two former presidents who uncover scandalous activity by their successor (Dan Aykroyd) and are pursued by murderous NSA agents. In addition to a major recurring role during the last part of the run of TV series Chicago Hope, Garner also starred in two short-lived series, the animated God, the Devil and Bob and First Monday, in which he played a Supreme Court justice.
Garner was a supporter of the University of Oklahoma, often returning to Norman for school functions. When he attended Oklahoma Sooners football games, he frequently could be seen on the sidelines or in the press box. Garner received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at OU in 1995.
In 2000, after an operation to replace both knees, Garner appeared with Clint Eastwood, who had played a villain in the original Maverick series in the episode "Duel at Sundown," as astronauts in the movie Space Cowboys, also featuring Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland.
Garner's knees became a chronic problem during the filming of The Rockford Files in the 1970s, with "six or seven knee operations during that time". In 2000, he underwent knee replacement surgery for both of them.
In 2001, Garner voiced Commander Rourke in Atlantis: The Lost Empire. In 2002, following the death of James Coburn, Garner took over Coburn's role as TV commercial voiceover for Chevrolet's "Like a Rock" advertising campaign. Garner continued to voice the commercials until the end of the campaign. Also in 2002, he played Sandra Bullock's father in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (film) as Shepard James "Shep" Walker. After the death of John Ritter in 2003, Garner joined the cast of 8 Simple Rules as Grandpa Jim Egan (Cate's father) and remained with the series until it finished in 2005.
In 2003, to endow the James Garner Chair in the School of Drama, he donated $500,000, half of a pledged $1 million, for the first endowed position at the drama school. Tom H. Orr, the Director for the School of Drama (Acting/Camera Acting) and the Artistic Director of the University Theatre, currently holds the James Garner Chair at the university.
In 2004, Garner starred as the older version of Ryan Gosling's character in the film version of Nicholas Sparks's The Notebook alongside Gena Rowlands as his wife, directed by Nick Cassavetes, Rowlands's son. The Screen Actors Guild nominated Garner as best actor for "Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role". In 2010, Garner voiced Shazam in Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam.
On April 21, 2006, a 10-foot-tall (3.0 m) bronze statue of Garner as Bret Maverick was unveiled in Garner's hometown of Norman, Oklahoma, with Garner present at the ceremony.
Garner underwent surgery on May 11, 2008, following a severe stroke he had suffered two days earlier. His prognosis was reported to be "very positive".
In 2010, the Television Critics Association gave Garner its annual Career Achievement Award.
On November 1, 2011, Simon & Schuster published Garner's autobiography The Garner Files: A Memoir. In addition to recounting his career, the memoir, co-written with nonfiction writer Jon Winokur, detailed the childhood abuses Garner suffered at the hands of his stepmother. It also offered frank, unflattering assessments of some of Garner's co-stars such as Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. In addition to recalling the genesis of most of Garner's hit films and television shows, the book also featured a section where the star provided individual critiques for every one of his acting projects accompanied by a star rating for each. Garner's three-time co-star Julie Andrews wrote the book's foreword. Lauren Bacall, Diahann Carroll, Doris Day, Tom Selleck, and Stephen J. Cannell, and many other Garner associates, friends, and relatives provided their memories of the star in the book's coda.
Garner was a private and introverted man, according to family and friends, On July 19, 2014, police and rescue personnel were summoned to Garner's Los Angeles-area home, where they found the actor dead at the age of 86. He had suffered a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease. He had been in poor health since his stroke in 2008.
Currently, James Garner is 93 years, 3 months and 18 days old. James Garner will celebrate 94th birthday on a Thursday 7th of April 2022.
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