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James Garner – MovieActors.com

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Garner in Support Your Local Sheriff.

About James Garner (1928 – 2014)

James Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner on April 7, 1928, in Norman, Oklahoma into a Methodist family. His parents were Midred Scott and Weldon Warren Bumgamer, a carpet layer.

James was the youngest of their three sons. His oldest brother, Jack became a professional baseball pitcher for the Pittsburg Pirates, and golfed professionally, dabbling in acting. He was in most of James Garner's films and series in a minor or guest star, recurring role. His youngest brother, Charles lived his life in Oklahoma, becoming a school administrator.

James was five years old when his mother died. For a year, James and his brothers lived with relatives in Norman, until his father remarried in 1934. They were all reunited as a family, but with a mean step-mother in charge. She beat all three boys, especially James. James had enough of her abusive behavior when he became 14, and got in a heated fight, which sent her packing, ending the marriage.

His father, Weldon, left the boys and went to live in California. At 16, James joined the Merchant Marines in 1944. After the war, both James and Jack joined their father in California. James breifly went to Hollywood High School. James returned to Norman, Oklahoma, and played high school football and basketball. After dropping out of high school, he joined the Army National Guard, and spent his first seven months of duty in California. James earned his high school deploma in the service.

James' unit was sent to fight in Korea, where he became good at scrounging up supplies, as well as being a rifleman. He later used this experience in his future roles in two films: THE GREAT ESCAPE;(1963), and THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY;(1964). James Garner was wounded twice, and James received two purple hearts, though he didn't get his second one until 1983. The second wound was from friendly fire.

His first role, thanks to a friend he met at Hollywood High School, was a non-speaking part in the Broadway stage play The Caine Mutiny Court Martial; (1954), where he had the opportunity to watch and absorb the acting skills of Henry Fonda. This play led to small television roles, commercials, and a contract with Warner Brothers.

In 1958, James won a Golden Globe for MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER, perhaps because of his 4 appearances on the 1957 TV Series, CHEYENNE, and/or his supporting actor performances in THE 1957 FILM, SHOOT-OUT AT MEDICINE BEND, his performance in the Oscar winning film; SAYONARA, and his uncredited role of Bret Maverick, in an episode of the 1957 series, SUGARFOOT.

Garner's title role in the lighthearted, western TV series Maverick; (1957-62), portraying Brett Maverick, made him a star. He was cast in this series, because of his performance in the TV series; MAN FROM 1997. His facial expressions made his part a comical one to great effect, though it wasn't written to be that way.

Meanwhile, James' film career was heating up. In 1959, James Garner was cast in his first leading role in films; portraying Lt. J.G. Kenneth M Braden, in the film, UP PERISCOPE. This was followed with CASH MCCALL, with his leading lady, Natalie Wood. In 1963, he was cast in the hit comedy, MOVE OVER DARLING, with Doris Day. In 1964, he costarred with Julie Andrews in THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY. This was followed by 36 HOURS, co-starring with Eva Marie Saint.

From 1974 through 1980, James Garner had a hit, much-loved TV series, THE ROCKFORD FILES, about a private detective, Jim Rockford. James was awarded a Primetime Emmy for his performance in this series in 1977. He was nominated three times for a Golden Globe as well.

From 1959, through 1994, James Garner was nominated for 14 Primetime Emmys.

In 1980, James was very deflated and soured when his long-running hit show The Rockford Files had to be cancelled due to his bleeding ulcer issue, and the fact that Universal Pictures proved to be a dishonest company. They had used some "creative bookkeeping" to cheat him out of the profits made from this series that were due him.

Fourteen years later, from 1994-1996, James once again portrayed his character, Jim Rockford, in six TV movies, about the further adventures of Jim Rockford.

James continued to choose great film projects in the 1980s. VICTOR/VICTORIA, with Julie Andrews was an Oscar-winning mega-hit. In his 1985 hit film, MURPHY'S ROMANCE, James was nominated in 1986 for a BEST ACTOR Oscar, and a Best Actor Golden Globe.

In the 1980s' and 1990s', James was nominated for five Golden Globes for his performances in TV movies, and won two Golden Globes for the TV movies:DECORATION DAY;(1990), and BARBARIANS AT THE GATE;(1993).

In 1956, James married the love of his life, Lois Fleishman Clarke, on August 17th, 1956. This was a marriage that lasted a lifetime. James adoped Lois' daughter from her first marriage. James and Lois had a second daughter together, Greta. Greta became an author of The Cop Cookbook: Arresting Recipes from the World's Favorite Cops, Good Guys, and Private Eyes.

Garner was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1990, and inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1986.

James Garner passed away at his home in Brentwood, California, at the age of 86, from natural causes.

James Garner's notable movie credits include...

First Night (2007)
Terra (2007)
The Ultimate Gift (2006)
Al Roach: Private Investigator (2004)
The Notebook (2004)
Divine Secrets Of The Ya Ya Sisterhood (2002)
Space Cowboys (2000)
The Rockford Files (1974 - 1980 TV series)
Maverick (1994)
Fire In The Sky (1993)
Murphy's Romance (1985)
Support Your Local Sheriff (1969)
The Great Escape (1963)


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James Garner in Rockford Files (1974 - 1980 television series).

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Garner with Jack Lemmon
in My Fellow Americans.


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James Garner in Fire In The Sky (1993).

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James Garner in The Great Escape.

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Garner in Support Your Local Sheriff.

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James Garner in Maverick (1994).

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Garner in The Thrill Of It All (1963).

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James Garner in Space Cowboys (2000).

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James Garner in Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971).