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James Garner Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (48) | Personal Quotes (12) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 7 April 1928Norman, Oklahoma, USA
Birth NameJames Scott Bumgarner
Nickname "Slick" - as a teen
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (2)

The son of an Oklahoma carpet layer, James Garner (born James Scott Bumgarner) dropped out of high school at 16 to join the Merchant Marines. He worked in a variety of jobs and received 2 Purple Hearts when he was wounded twice during the Korean War. He had his first chance to act when a friend got him a non-speaking role in the Broadway stage play "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (1954)". Part of his work was to read lines to the lead actors and he began to learn the craft of acting. This play led to small television roles, television commercials and eventually a contract with Warner Brothers. Director David Butler saw something in Garner and gave him all the attention he needed when he appeared in The Girl He Left Behind (1956). After co-starring in a handful of films during 1956-57, Warner Brothers gave Garner a co-starring role in the the western series Maverick (1957). Originally planned to alternate between Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) and Bret Maverick (Garner), the show quickly turned into the Bret Maverick Show. As Maverick, Garner was cool, good-natured, likable and always ready to use his wits to get him in or out of trouble. The series was highly successful, and Garner continued in it into 1960 when he left the series in a dispute over money.

In the early 1960s Garner returned to films, often playing the same type of character he had played on "Maverick". His successful films included The Thrill of It All (1963), Move Over, Darling (1963), The Great Escape (1963) and The Americanization of Emily (1964). After that, his career wandered and when he appeared in the automobile racing movie Grand Prix (1966), he got the bug to race professionally. Soon, this ambition turned to supporting a racing team, not unlike what Paul Newman would do in later years.

Garner found great success in the western comedy Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969). He tried to repeat his success with a sequel, Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971), but it wasn't up to the standards of the first one. After 11 years off the small screen, Garner returned to television in a role not unlike that in Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969). The show was Nichols (1971) and he played the sheriff who would try to solve all problems with his wits and without gun play. When the show was canceled, Garner took the news by having Nichols shot dead, never to return in a sequel. In 1974 he got the role for which he will probably be best remembered, as wry private eye Jim Rockford in the classic The Rockford Files (1974). This became his second major television hit, with Noah Beery Jr. and Stuart Margolin, and in 1977 he won an Emmmy for his portrayal. However, a combination of injuries and the discovery that Universal Pictures' "creative bookkeeping" would not give him any of the huge profits the show generated soon soured him and the show ended in 1980. In the 1980s Garner appeared in few movies, but the ones he did make were darker than the likable Garner of old. These included Tank (1984) and Murphy's Romance (1985). For the latter, he was nominated for both the Academy Award and a Golden Globe. Returning to the western mode, he co-starred with the young Bruce Willis in Sunset (1988), a mythical story of Wyatt Earp, Tom Mix and 1920s Hollywood.

In the 1990s Garner received rave reviews for his role in the acclaimed television movie about corporate greed, Barbarians at the Gate (1993). After that he appeared in the theatrical remake of his old television series, Maverick (1994), opposite Mel Gibson. Most of his appearances after that were in numerous TV movies based upon The Rockford Files (1974).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana < tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Amiable and handsome James Garner has obtained success in both films and television, often playing variations of the charming anti-hero/con-man persona he first developed in Maverick, the offbeat western TV series that shot him to stardom in the late 1950s. On the big screen, Garner made his film debut in Toward the Unknown (1956), landed a good supporting role besides 'Marlon Brando' in Sayonara (1957), and quickly established himself as leading man, starring in Darby's Rangers (1958) and making a strong impression as the young corporate raider in Cash McCall (1960). In the early 1960s, his tall good looks and flair for comedy made him a perfect male lead in amusing sex comedies, such as Boys' Night Out (1962), The Thrill of It All (1963) and Move Over, Darling (1963). While he did not quite make it as a top movie star, he remained very successful through most of the decade, able to play a variety of parts, although predominantly light comedy and adventure roles. His best performances were in The Great Escape (1963), as the charming "scrounger" gathering all the necessary materials for the escape; in The Americanization of Emily (1964), as a self-professed coward, convincing co-star Julie Andrews of the virtues of self-interest and survival in lieu of noble courage; in 36 Hours (1965), as an American officer made to believe by his German captors that he is suffering from amnesia; in Hour of the Gun (1967), as a cynical, vengeful Wyatt Earp (an unusually dark role for him); and in Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969), as the likeable lawman who cleans up the town with his wits instead of his fists. He also made a relaxed, but effective Marlowe (1969) in the screen adaption of Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister. His popularity declined in the early 1970s and after another top-notch performance in Skin Game (1971), he initiated a return to television, first with the rather unsuccessful series Nichols and then, with The Rockford Files (1974), which brought him a new generation of fans. In the 1980s, he had some sporadic success on the big screen with Victor Victoria (1982) and Murphy's Romance (1985), for which he was nominated for an academy award, but he could not re-establish himself as an important leading man. Nevertheless, he delivered some excellent performances in quality TV movies, Heartsounds (1984), Promise (1986) and Barbarians at the Gate (1993), demonstrating that his dramatic ability had been underestimated. He has remained fairly active and popular, often adding some darkness to his previously light characterizations and proving to be an enduring talent. His most recent films have included Maverick (1994), My Fellow Americans (1996) and Space Cowboys (2000) .

- IMDb Mini Biography By: pchemoc389@rogers.com

Spouse (1)

Lois Fleishman Clarke (17 August 1956 - present) (1 child)

Trade Mark (2)

His voice was heard at the beginning of every The Rockford Files (1974) episode with a message to be left.
Deep, gravelly voice.

Trivia (48)

Had both knees replaced.
Had quintuple heart bypass surgery.
James has English and German ancestry. James is also said to have Cherokee roots. It is not clear if his Native American ancestry has been verified.
He has two brothers, Jack Garner & Charlie Bumgarner. Jack died in 2011 and Charlie died in 1985.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1990.
Early in his career, he appeared as one of the judges in "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial" on Broadway. He said his part consisted mostly of listening to the other actors, and he said it was a great lesson. He feels listening is just as important as speaking as an actor.
Before he was an actor, he had 75 odd jobs including pumping gas to modeling men's clothing.
Father of Gigi Garner, author of "The Cop Cookbook" and "Girl Talk".
He and his wife Lois Clarke were married at the Beverly Hills Court House just two weeks after they met at a political rally.
Has a stepdaughter, Kimberly, from his wife's first marriage.
Lost his mother when he was 5, and he & his two brothers were split up & sent off to live with relatives.
Learned a lot from the late John Ritter,when watching Three's Company (1977). After Ritter's death, Garner appeared with the cast of 8 Simple Rules (2002) talking about the popular comedian on Larry King Live (1985), on the future of "8 Simple Rules.".
Is involved with many humanitarian causes.
Is a volunteer of Save the Children.
His hobbies include: golfing, spending time with his family, auto racing, politics and watching sports.
Inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1986.
Was hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer in 1979.
He was very disappointed about his show, The Rockford Files (1974), being cancelled due to his illness. He accepted his doctor's advice and learned that season 6 was his last.
Had helped organize Martin Luther King's famous "March on Washington" civil rights demonstration, four years before going to Vietnam. (1963).
Was the first actor to co-star with Julie Andrews in three movies: The Americanization of Emily (1964), Victor Victoria (1982), and One Special Night (1999).
Is a Korean War veteran and began his career as a contract player in 1956 for Warner Bros.
He was attending Hollywood High in Los Angeles when his gym teacher recommended him for a job modeling Jantzen bathing suits. He got the job making $25 an hour.
He starred in 3 popular TV series: Maverick (1957) for 3 seasons, The Rockford Files (1974) for 6 seasons, and 8 Simple Rules (2002), for 2 seasons.
Has played two different characters named Jim who served in the Korean War: Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files (1974) and Jim Egan in 8 Simple Rules (2002).
Of all his films, The Americanization of Emily (1964) is his favorite.
Enjoyed great celebrity with his Polaroid commercial series with Mariette Hartley, which started in 1977. He and Mariette were so convincing as husband and wife that Mariette had a T-shirt made that proclaimed, "I am not James Garner's wife!" More than 300 commercials were produced.
A big Oakland Raiders football fan. Could be seen on sidelines with the team during games.
Quit smoking following his quintuple heart bypass on 22 April 1988.
Inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1978.
Although Garner is a lifelong liberal Democrat, his oldest friend is a conservative Republican.
He was a student of Bruce Lee's in his "jeet kune do" style of martial art, after starring with Lee in the film, Marlowe (1969).
In a 1973 interview, John Wayne named Garner as the best American actor.
Driver of pace cars at the 59th Indianapolis 500 (May 25, 1975), the 61st Indianapolis 500 (May 29, 1977), and at the 69th Indianapolis 500 (May 26, 1985).
His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6925 Hollywood Blvd.
He was a good friend of the late Paul Newman. Garner has appeared together with both Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward in several movies.
Was a very good friend of the late Bill Bixby.
Underwent surgery after suffering a severe stroke in May 2008 and is recovering well.
Once owned a four hundred acre vineyard in Santa Ynez California called "White Rhino" vineyard and bottled his own Chardonnay called "Chateau Jimbeaux".
In 1995, he received an honorary doctorate from The University of Oklahoma, in his home town of Norman, OK. This was one month after bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. He was quoted as saying during his commencement ceremony speech, "If there's anything positive to come from this event, it is seeing the character, the toughness & the dignity of the Oklahoma people as they suffer the grief and carry on with their lives. It makes every Oklahoman, where ever we are, to be PROUD to be an Oklahoman.".
James Garner adopted his wife's 9 year-old-daughter, Kimberly, after they were married. About a year later, James Garner's only biological daughter, Gigi Garner, was born in Santa Monica, California.
Narrates the intro videos for the University of Oklahoma football team as they enter the stadium.
Has a street named after him in his hometown of Norman. "James Garner Ave".
Best known by the public for his starring role as the title character in The Rockford Files (1974).
On April 21, 2006, a bronze statue of Garner as his character Bret Maverick, standing at 10 feet tall, was unveiled in Garner's hometown of Norman, Oklahoma. He was present for the unveiling ceremony.
He played Wyatt Earp in both Hour of the Gun (1967) and Sunset (1988).
He has played the same character (Bret Maverick) in four different series: Sugarfoot (1957), Maverick (1957), Young Maverick (1979) and Bret Maverick (1981).
When speaking at the Summer Olympics in Norman, OK, he took the opportunity to remind the Oklahoma officials, who invited him to speak, of the circumstances of his original departure. "It's nice to be invited back as a VIP after being run out of town on a rail." This was a reference to him being "asked" to leave for his "extracurricular activities".

Personal Quotes (12)

About everything I ever have done, in the way of lawsuits against studios, I've won them all, because I was right every time.
Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you'd be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist.
[Asked if he would ever do a nude scene] "I don't do horror films."
They really stuck it to me. I was young and dumb. I said a couple things about being under contract that they didn't like, like that I felt like a ham in a smokehouse. They were waiting to get back at me by laying me off. We went to court and got out of my contract. I didn't want somebody in an office guiding my career. If I had a failure, I wanted it to be my failure. If I had a success, I wanted it to be my success. [on his conflicts with Warner Brothers, in relation to his contractual obligations to the Maverick (1957) TV series]
I'm a Spencer Tracy-type actor. 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.
I don't like to speak in public. It scares the devil out of me.
I got into the business to put a roof over my head. I wasn't looking for star status. I just wanted to keep working.
[on his role as 'Bret Maverick'] I'm playing me. Bret Maverick is lazy: I'm lazy. And I *like* being lazy.
(on the passing of his good friend Paul Newman) This is such a sad time, I am truly devastated and there are just not enough words to express my sorrow.
(on Steve McQueen) Steve was my neighbor for some time, I called him "Crazy McQueen", because, quite frankly, he was crazy. We were friends, but he wanted to play my part in Grand Prix (1966) and because of that we didn't talk for four years. (...)He wasn't a great actor, but he was a star - McQueen had probably the highest amount of star quality I've ever seen in an actor.
[When he entered Hollywood High School at the time his gym teacher recommended him for his modeling job]: I made 25 bucks an hour! That's why I quit school. I was making more money than the teachers. I never finished the ninth grade.
[Who asked Melissa Gilbert warily]: How long does the speech have to be? Well, this will be shorter than others.

Salary (1)

The Rockford Files (1974) $100,000per 1 hour episode

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