Monday, July 21, 2014
Male on Monday: James Garner
James Garner died on Saturday 19 July 2014 age 86. He was quite simply hugely influential in early television. Like Clint Eastwood, he made the leap for early television to the movies.
A high school dropout who became a decorated war hero, being awarded the purple heart twice. His early life was fraught after his mother died.
His first big break came with Maverick where he starred as Bret Maverick -- the charming but as he put it lazy gambler. He brought a smile to the Western. It was watching the reruns of this show in the late 1970's that first brought him to my attention. I learnt to play poker because of it.
In the 1960s, his attention turned towards movies and he starred in films with Doris Day as well taking part in The Great Escape. In the 1970's he continued to some films such as Support Your Local Sheriff as well as taking his Maverick persona into a contemporary setting by playing Jim Rockford in the Rockford Files. Later he played the father of Mel Gibson's Maverick in the movie version. I still think James Garner was the better Brett Maverick though...
In 2004 he played the older Ryan Gosling in The Notebook.
There was a quiet charm and self-deprecating wit about his acting. Apparently he was wonderful to work with as he actually listened to what the other actors were saying and doing and was able to react off it. Apparently a very rare quality but one which is much appreciated.
He married his wife Lois two weeks after first meeting her. He also adopted her daughter, Kitty, from her first marriage. The marriage lasted until his death. They had another daughter together.
SO here is to one of the true greats of Hollywood -- James Garner.