Born: 7 April 1928
Birthplace: Norman, Oklahoma
Best known as: Star of the TV show The Rockford Files
Name at birth: James Bumgarner
James Garner has played amiable but crafty good guys in dozens of films and TV shows since the mid-1950s. His greatest fame comes from two popular TV series: The Rockford Files (1974-80), in which he played a plucky, good-humored private eye; and Maverick (1957-60), a sly western with Garner as an adventurous card sharp. The latter was remade as a 1994 movie with Mel Gibson in the title role and Garner and Jodie Foster co-starring. Garner's other films include The Great Escape (1963, with Steve McQueen, The Americanization of Emily (1964, with Juile Andrews), Victor/Victoria (1982, again with Andrews), Murphy's Romance (1985, with Sally Field), Space Cowboys (2000, with Clint Eastwood) and The Notebook (2004, with Ryan Gosling). Garner was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1986.
Extra credit: According to the City of Norman Visitors Bureau, Garner was "the first draftee from the state of Oklahoma during the Korean [War]." He won two Purple Hearts while fighting in Korea... The Norman Visitors Bureau also confirms that Garner's birth name was Bumgarner; some sources list it as Baumgarner, with an extra "a"... Garner is one of many actors to play Raymond Chandler's private eye Philip Marlowe. Garner's turn came in the 1969 film Marlowe, which (improbably) co-starred Bruce Lee.
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