He was smart, sexy and still a regular guy. James Garner, 86, died in Los Angeles at his home on Saturday. His film and television legacy leaves us with entertainment to remember.
Garner starred in more than 50 films. He appeared in comedies, a jederman, everyone, playing a character we either identified with or simply loved.
Garner was a man who grew up in hardship, leaving home at 14 after a violent episode with his stepmother; but he created a life of opportunity as he took on various jobs: dishwasher, janitor, gas station attendant. Years later, he returned from his military service in Korea, he worked as a carpet layer for his dad. One day he was driving and saw a sign with the name of an acquaintance – now an agent – so Garner stopped in to chat. Garner was soon hired in a non-speaking role. So began his career.
Garner’s personal approach to acting? “Be on time, know your words, hit your marks, and tell the truth.” Good advice for any profession.
(S-R archive photo: James Garner, 2004)