James Garner

Born Apr 7, 1928

James Garner is an American film and television actor, one of the first Hollywood actors to excel in both media. He has starred in several television series spanning a career of more than five decades.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of James Garner.


1928 Birth Garner was born in Norman, Oklahoma on April 7, 1928. … Read More
1934 6 Years Old …  Garner was reunited with his family in 1934, when Weldon remarried. … Read More


1954 26 Years Old In 1954, a friend named Paul Gregory, whom Garner had met while attending Hollywood High School, persuaded Garner to take a nonspeaking role in the Broadway production of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, where he was able to study Henry Fonda night after night. … Read More
1955 27 Years Old Garner subsequently moved to television commercials and eventually to television roles. In 1955, Garner was considered for the lead role in Cheyenne, but that role went to Clint Walker because the casting director could not reach Garner in time (according to Garner's autobiography), and Garner wound up playing an Army officer in the pilot, instead.
1956 28 Years Old 1 More Event
His first film appearances were in The Girl He Left Behind and Toward the Unknown in 1956.
1957 29 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1957, he had a supporting role in the TV anthology series episode on Conflict entitled "Man from 1997," portraying Gloria Talbott's (as Maureen) brother "Red"; the show stars Jacques Sernas as Johnny Vlakos and Charlie Ruggles as elderly Mr. Boyne, a librarian from 1997, and involved a 1997 Almanac that was mistakenly left in the past by Boyne and found by Johnny in a bookstore. … Read More


1961 33 Years Old …  Garner still received billing in these newly produced Kelly episodes, aired in the 1961–62 season, though he did not appear in them and had left the series two years previously, but the studio reversed the billing at the beginning of each show and in advertisements during the fifth season, billing Kelly above Garner. … Read More
1963 35 Years Old After his acrimonious departure from Warner Bros. in the 1960s he starred in such films as The Children's Hour (1962) with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, Boys' Night Out (1962) with Kim Novak and Tony Randall, The Thrill of It All (1963) with Doris Day and Move Over, Darling, a 1963 remake of My Favorite Wife also starring Doris Day in which Garner played Cary Grant's role. … Read More


1969 41 Years Old In 1969, Garner played Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe in Marlowe, a detective drama featuring an early karate scene with Bruce Lee. … Read More
1971 43 Years Old In 1971, Garner returned to television in an offbeat series, Nichols. … Read More
1974 46 Years Old …  Starting with the 1974 season, Garner appeared as private investigator Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files.
1977 49 Years Old He appeared for six seasons, for which he received an Emmy Award for Best Actor in 1977. … Read More


1978 50 Years Old Garner and Jack Kelly reappeared as Bret and Bart Maverick in a 1978 made-for-television film entitled The New Maverick, which served as the pilot for a failed series, Young Maverick, starring Charles Frank as a younger cousin named Ben Maverick. … Read More
1979 51 Years Old In late 1979, Garner separated from his wife (around the time The Rockford Files stopped filming), splitting his time between living in Canada and "a rented house in the Valley."
1981 53 Years Old 1 More Event
After the abrupt disappearance of Young Maverick two seasons earlier, an attempt to make a "Maverick" series without Garner, he returned to his earlier TV role in 1981 in the revival series Bret Maverick, but NBC unexpectedly canceled the show after only one season despite reasonably good ratings. … Read More
1984 56 Years Old 1 More Event
His older brothers were Jack Garner (1926–2011) and Charles Bumgarner, a school administrator who died in 1984.


1991 - 2001 7 More Events
2002 74 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2002, following the death of James Coburn, Garner took over Coburn's role as TV commercial voiceover for Chevrolet's "Like a Rock" advertising campaign. … Read More
2003 75 Years Old After the death of John Ritter in 2003, Garner joined the cast of 8 Simple Rules as Grandpa Jim Egan (Cate's father) and remained with the series until it finished in 2005.
2004 76 Years Old In 2004, Garner starred as the older version of Ryan Gosling's character in the film version of Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook alongside Gena Rowlands as his wife, directed by Nick Cassavetes, Rowlands' son. … Read More
2005 77 Years Old …  In February 2005, he received the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award. … Read More
2006 78 Years Old On April 21, 2006, a bronze statue of Garner as Bret Maverick was unveiled in Garner's hometown of Norman, Oklahoma, with Garner present at the ceremony.
2008 80 Years Old Garner underwent surgery on May 11, 2008, following a severe stroke he had suffered two days earlier. … Read More
2014 86 Years Old 1 More Event
On Saturday evening, July 19, 2014, police and rescue personnel were summoned to Garner's Los Angeles-area home, where they found the actor dead at the age of 86.
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