Film and TV actor James Garner has died at the age of 86. Garner appeared in a host of film roles starring opposite other legendary actors and actresses such as Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn and Jack Lemmon, Steve McQueen, Julie Andrews, Clint Eastwood and many others.
He had a career spanning over five decades. As well as a successful film career he had considerable success on TV and in the 60s starred in the comedy action western series Maverick. He will, however, be best known for The Rockford Files in which he played Jim Rockford, the private detective who charged $200 a day plus expenses and lived in a trailer on a beach in L.A. The role made him a household name in the 70s. Garner imbued Rockford with his blend of witty banter, and easy going charm and made the audience root for the wrongly convicted ex-jailbird who was distrusted by the local police as he took on cases and often got into scrapes as a result of helping his shady ex-cellmate Angel.
The series ended in 1980 as a result of Garner having knee and back problems as a result of him doing his own stunts. He did, however, do 8 TV movies as Rockford in the 90s.
He continued to do films and in 1996 he appeared opposite Jack Lemmon in the comedy thriller My Fellow Americans where he and Lemmon played ex American presidents, of opposing parties, who have to band together when they become involved attempting to uncover a corruption scandal at the heart of government. In my opinion this was an underrated film and it was great seeing Garner trade insults with Lemmon! He also appeared in the 2000 film Space Cowboys (which I haven’t seen, but aim to) alongside other Hollywood legends, Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Tommy Lee Jones.
Garner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and, among other awards was given the Screen Actors Guild’s Lifetime Achievement award in 2005 and the Television Critics Association Career Achievement Award in 2010.
He continued to work with a number of roles and voice work into the 2010s.He is survived by his wife Lois whom he married in 1956 and his daughter Greta and adopted daughter Kim.
A true Hollywood star. R.I.P. Mr Garner.