Born: 7 April 1928
Died: 19 July 2014 (heart attack)
Birthplace: Norman, Oklahoma
Best known as: Star of the TV show The Rockford Files
Name at birth: James Bumgarner
Handsome and rascally, James Garner played amiable but crafty good guys in dozens of films and TV shows from the mid-1950s through the early 2000s. His greatest fame came from his leading roles in two popular TV series: Maverick (1957-60), a sly western with Garner as an adventurous card sharp, and The Rockford Files (1974-80), in which he played a plucky, good-humored private eye with a knack for getting into trouble. James Garner's films included 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). Maverick was also remade as a 1994 movie with Mel Gibson in the title role and Garner and Jodie Foster co-starring. James Garner was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1986.
James Garner was “the first draftee from the state of Oklahoma during the Korean [War],” according to the City of Norman Visitors Bureau. He won two Purple Hearts while fighting in Korea… The Norman Visitors Bureau also confirms that James Garner’s birth name was Bumgarner; some sources list it as Baumgarner, with an extra “a”… James 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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