8 items from 2014
But Nelson was already a TV veteran by the time he was cast on “Peyton Place” in 1964. After a string of small parts in Roger Corman B movies during the mid to late ’50s, he began guesting on Westerns such as “Zane Grey Theater,” “Have Gun — Will Travel,” “The Rifleman,” “Maverick,” “Rawhide” and “Gunsmoke” plus other series such as “Twilight Zone,” “The Untouchables, »
- Carmel Dagan
20 July 2014 8:23 AM, PDT | IMDb News
He was born James Scott Bumgarner on April 7, 1928 in Norman, Oklahoma, the third and youngest son of Mildred and Weldon Bumgarner. His young life was very unsettled; at the age of four, his mother passed away, and James and his brothers Charles and Jack were sent away to live with relatives. When their father remarried in 1930 the boys were able to return home, but their stepmother mistreated them and the marriage ended after her cruelty to the boys, James in particular, grew untenable. Weldon, leaving the boys behind, moved to Los Angeles to look for steady work. After a brief stint in the Merchant Marines at the age of 16 (which ended due to his extreme seasickness), James followed his father to California, where he enrolled in Hollywood High School briefly. While there, he was recommended for a Jantzen swimsuit modeling job which turned out to be his first taste of Hollywood.
Grown tired of modeling and repelled by the phoniness of the Hollywood movie system, he returned to Norman and re-enrolled in high school there for a short time, before dropping out for good and enrolling in the National Guard. After a serious knee injury, he was discharged from the National Guard, only to be drafted by the Army in 1949 and sent to fight in Korea, where he was twice wounded and awarded two Purple Hearts.
After his discharge from the Army, he was persuaded by producer Paul Gregory, an old friend from his Hollywood High School days, to accept a role in his Broadway play "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial". In taking the role and studying following Henry Fonda's performance every night, James learned what he deemed his most effective tool in acting: listening.
His Broadway experience led him back to Los Angeles, where he won roles in commercials and TV, eventually signing a contract with Warner Brothers, who changed his screen name to Garner without his permission for his appearance in the 1956 film The Girl He Left Behind. In that same year he met Lois Clark at a political rally, and the two married 14 days later. Garner adopted Lois’s daughter Kimberly, and the couple also had a daughter together, Greta. It was after Greta’s birth that he legally changed his surname to Garner, as he was concerned that his children would have too many last names.
In 1957, he won a lead in the new television series “Maverick”, the role in which he originated and refined the ‘charming and hesitantly heroic con-man’ persona that would resonate with audiences through the remainder of his career. His turn as Bret Maverick, first imagined as the focal point of a by-the-numbers Western soon morphed into a new sort of anti-hero, one with a sense of humor who would rather charm than shoot or fight his way out of a bad situation. This portrayal of Bret earned him a Golden Globe in 1958, and an Emmy nomination in 1957. Network concerns led James to leave the show in 1960 and head back to feature films, where he relied on his life’s experiences to flesh out roles in a varied collection of films: the dramatic The Children’s Hour; war movies The Great Escape, 36 Hours and The Americanization of Emily; romantic comedies The Thrill Of It All and Move Over Darling and even racing drama Grand Prix. It was during Grand Prix that Garner discovered one of his life’s passions – auto racing – that would inspire him to support a racing team himself.
In 1970, he joined forces once again with “Maverick” creator Roy Huggins and writer Stephen J. Cannell to bring a new detective show to television, “The Rockford Files”. Much like they had in “Maverick”, they used the show to reinvent the detective genre. Gone were the hard-nosed gumshoe tactics and gunplay used in noir-inspired private investigator series, replaced by Jim Rockford’s easygoing personality and wit as the main tools used to solve robberies, insurance scams and the like. The show would run for six seasons before Garner’s stunt injuries and financial disputes ended the run, but not without Garner earning a Best Actor Emmy in 1977. In between film roles, Garner would revisit the character several times during the next few decades in made-for-TV movies, as the original show’s growing popularity in re-runs fueled demand for more Jim Rockford tales from a new generation of fans.
Garner’s film career continued alongside his major TV successes for the next 3 decades. Cinematic roles in Victor/Victoria, Murphy's Romance (which earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination), Tank, Twilight, Maverick, Space Cowboys, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Notebook were interspersed with appearances in TV movies and series such as “Bret Maverick”, “Man of the People” “Chicago Hope” “First Monday” and “8 Rules for Dating Your Teenage Daughter.” Though he had experienced physical injuries in sports, war and during stunt work and had recovered from quintuple heart bypass in 1998, it wasn’t until suffering a stroke in 2008 that his work slowed.
He is survived by his wife Lois and his daughters Greta and Kimberly. He was preceded in death by his brother Charles in 1985. »
- Heather Campbell
Amiable actor James Garner, whose moderately successful film career was eclipsed by two extraordinarily popular television series, “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files,” has died, according to reports. He was 86.
Like many popular leading men of Hollywood’s heyday, Garner boasted all-American good looks and a winning personality that carried him through comedy and drama alike. He was one of the first of TV’s leading men to cross over into films in the ’60s with such popular movies as “The Thrill of It All” and “The Americanization of Emily.” But he had his greatest impact in television, first on “Maverick” in the ’50s and then in the ’70s on “The Rockford Files,” for which he won an Emmy in 1977. He later appeared in several quality telepics including “Promise,” “My Name Is Bill W.” and “Barbarians at the Gate,” as well as the occasional strong feature such as “Victor/Victoria” and “Murphy’s Romance, »
- Richard Natale
There is a reason I'm a Batman fan. It's not because I'm a life-long comic book reader. That came later. And it's not because I grew up watching reruns of the old ABC television series. Though I certainly did. It's because Tim Burton's "Batman," released in theaters 25 years ago today, was the first movie that really owned my anticipatory faculties as a child. It was the first film that lit my movie-going fire, a designation saved for "Star Wars," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "E.T." a generation prior and perhaps "Jurassic Park" and Harrison Ford's actioners a generation later. In the simplest of terms, I wouldn't be a film obsessive if it weren't for "Batman." I owe it that much. For me, the film was an event not to be missed. I remember watching the commercials flood prime time television: the howling of a Batwing circling a Gothic cathedral, »
- Kristopher Tapley
The X-Men have been around for more than 50 years. They multiply: rapidly, frequently, endlessly. They aren’t really a superteam like the Justice League or the Avengers, those all-star crews built out of solo-series stars (Superman, Captain America) mixed together with B-list glue characters (Martian Manhunter, Wonder Man). With one very obvious exception and a few other arguable exceptions, the X-Men aren’t Solo-Star people. They are a team.
Or rather, teams. Chris Claremont’s iconic decade-and-a-half run on Uncanny X-Men cemented the idea that the X-lineup was eternally fluid: Characters died, left on sabbatical, joined the Avengers, got replaced »
- Darren Franich
Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the son of a violin master and an opera singer who became an acclaimed actor, has died at age 95. Zimbalist had a recurring role in the 1950s hit TV series Maverick before starring with Roger Smith as private eyes in the smash hit 1958 series 77 Sunset Strip. However, it was in the 1960s that his star really rose by top-lining the TV show The F.B.I. The series was a love letter to the bureau and won praise from its controversial and mercurial director, J. Edgar Hoover, who gave unprecedented cooperation to the series. Zimablist went on to appear with his daughter Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan in another crime show, the 1980s hit Remington Steele. His feature films include Wait Until Dark, Airport 1975, The Crowded Sky and The Chapman Report. For more click here »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
The first man to play Captain Video — the Guardian of the Safety of the World! — in the early days of television died today in Los Angeles. Richard Coogan was 99. He starred on the first two seasons of Captain Video And His Video Rangers, the popular low-budget space opera that premiered in 1949 on the DuMont Network. The future-set series aired for a half-hour Monday through Friday, also on Saturdays in 1950, with a reported prop budget of 25 bucks a week. The jut-jawed Coogan played a scientific genius who invented radical weapons and led a vast network of defenders of good. The program was a favorite of The Honeymooners‘ Ralph Cramden and Ed Norton, who were card-carrying members of the Captain Video Space Rangers fan club. After leaving Captain Video, the New Jersey native starred on the CBS soap Love Of Life and toplined late-’50s Gold Rush drama The Californians. He also »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
The Portland Mavericks baseball team were more than just mavericks. They were outlaws. In 1973, Hollywood actor Bing Russell roared into Oregon and established the Mavericks as an independent minor league team, meaning he had to recruit players that the Major Leagues franchises had rejected, a scrap heap that included a fair share of burn-outs, head-cases, and outright degenerates. “Guys were gambling in the back of the bus, there was drugs, there were women everywhere,” says Oscar-nominated director Todd Field (Little Children). “These guys were pirates.”
Field didn’t write or direct the Battered Bastards of Baseball, the documentary about the »
- Jeff Labrecque
8 items from 2014
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