James Garner
American actor
James Garner
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.
Biography
James Garner's personal information overview.
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News
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Podcast Reviews: <i>The Nerdist</i> and <i>The Seeso Seeshow</i>
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Host Chris Hardwick's enthusiasm seems to run higher than most folks most of the time. But when he gets a first-time guest on his podcast, The Nerdist, that he's genuinely excited about, the enthusiasm spikes to 11. And it stays pegged there all through his recent interview with actor Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead, Burn Notice, Briscoe County, Jr.) Any nerd worth his or her salt is familiar with Campbell -- his exploits starring as chainsaw-for-a-hand Ash in the Evil Dead franchise (including Starz' new Ash vs The Evil Dead) is the stuff of comic-horror legend. Fan of his or not, Campbell turns out to be a dream guest. He's got great stories, from being a fan himself and drooling over the same people HIS fans do - from Stan Lee and Adam West to William Shatner and the late James Garner, to life behind the scenes and on the set of shows like Burn Notice, Xena, and Hercules. He's a rollicking raconteur, handily snapping out impressions of people like Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant, a ...
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Huffington Post article
Richard L. Bare, Prolific TV Director for Decades, Dies at 101
NYTimes - almost 2 years
Mr. Bare, who became a Hollywood mainstay in the early days of television, directed the hit sitcom “Green Acres” and several episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and was credited with discovering James Garner.
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NYTimes article
James Garner's legacy: A commitment to civil rights and political activism - Washington Post
Google News - over 2 years
CBSSports.com James Garner's legacy: A commitment to civil rights and political activism Washington Post When actor James Garner decided to help organize and attend the March on Washington in 1963, he wasn't just listening to his conscience. He and other actors who attended may have been embarking on the Hollywood's first large-scale political act since ... James Garner dead: Hollywood pays tribute to one of its acting greatsMirror.co.uk A man every woman in the world was just a little bit in love with: He was ...Daily Mail James Garner: Most memorable rolesTimes of India TIME -The Straits Times -KPBS all 901 news articles »
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Google News article
Actor James Garner Of 'Rockford Files' Dies
NPR - over 2 years
Actor James Garner, best known for his roles in hit TV shows Maverick and The Rockford Files, has died. He was 86 years old. » E-Mail This
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NPR article
James Garner, Witty, Handsome Leading Man, Dies at 86
New York Times - over 2 years
Mr. Garner was best known as the amiable gambler Bret Maverick in the 1950s western “Maverick” and the cranky sleuth Jim Rockford in the 1970s series “The Rockford Files.”
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New York Times article
Actor James Garner dies at 86
NPR - over 2 years
Although he was adept at drama and action, Garner was best known for his witty, low-key style, especially with the TV series "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files."
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NPR article
Grey's Dr McDreamy's life in fast lane
Yahoo News - over 2 years
By Alan Baldwin HOCKENHEIM Germany (Reuters) - Patrick Dempsey, known to many millions worldwide as "Dr McDreamy" from U.S. network series Grey's Anatomy, is learning new lines. The 48-year-old, ranked fifth on the list of highest paid actors on U.S. television last year with estimated earnings of $13 million, is preparing for an 11th season as Dr Derek Shepherd in the popular ABC network medical drama. Motor racing, as he told Reuters in the German Grand Prix support paddock, is not just a hobby. I love the sport, I love the people around the sport, I love the technical aspect of it, I love the mental exercise of it and the constant learning of how to perfect the setup of the car." Big screen legends Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and James Garner were all similarly smitten by the racing bug in their time and Dempsey can understand why.
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Yahoo News article
What To Watch On Netflix, Part 3: Overlooked Gems
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Now that I've got the Classics and the Pretty Good Bets lists out of the way, welcome to my list of Netflix's Overlooked Gems. This was the Netflix recommendation roster I had the most fun compiling (it's not every day that having watched so much cult TV comes in handy). Adding to the fun: This list comes with a cherry on top, in the form of some exciting news. HuffPost TV can exclusively reveal that all five seasons of the much-loved NBC spy drama "Chuck" will be available in the U.S. for streaming on Netflix on Nov. 1. "Chuck" is a good poster child for this list, which is all about shows with fervent but smallish fan bases -- these are all shows that, for one reason or another, deserve wider attention but in many cases weren't big hits when they first aired. It truly brings me joy to recommend these kinds of shows to people who may be unfamiliar with them; if there's one thing I've become convinced of in my time as a TV critic, it's that there is a great deal of enjoyment to be ...
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Huffington Post article
"The Ultimate Life" Is the Latest Directorial Effort By Michael Landon, Jr.
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Movie Review Jackie K Cooper "The Ultimate Life" (Reel Works) Michael Landon Jr.'s latest directorial effort is a movie titled "The Greatest Life." This is the sequel and also the prequel to the 2006 film "The Ultimate Gift." Landon appears to be following in his father's footsteps in being involved with faith based stories. "The Ultimate Life" is certainly a film that presents a moral message and does it in an entertaining way. Jason Stevens (Logan Bartholomew) is a young man who has been selected by his grandfather, Red Stevens (James Garner), to run his hugely successful foundation. When this transfer of power takes place Jason's relatives are unhappy and sue to take control of the foundation and its funds. While fighting this battle Jason is given his grandfather's journal. In reading it he finds out more about the man who entrusted him with suc ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of James Garner
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2014
    Age 85
    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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  • 2008
    Age 79
    Garner underwent surgery on May 11, 2008, following a severe stroke he had suffered two days earlier.
    More Details Hide Details His prognosis was reported to be "very positive." Garner was an owner of the "American International Racers" (AIR) auto racing team from 1967 through 1969. Motorsports writer William Edgar and Hollywood director Andy Sidaris teamed with Garner for the racing documentary The Racing Scene, filmed in 1969 and released in 1970. The team fielded cars at Le Mans, Daytona, and Sebring endurance races, but is best known for Garner's celebrity status raising publicity in early off-road motor-sports events. In 1978, he was one of the inaugural inductees in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. Garner signed a three-year sponsorship contract with American Motors Corporation (AMC). His shops prepared ten 1969 SC/Ramblers for the Baja 500 race. Garner did not drive in this event because of a film commitment in Spain that year. Nevertheless, seven of his cars finished the grueling race, taking three of the top five places in the sedan class. Garner also drove the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 race in 1975, 1977, and 1985 (see: list of Indianapolis 500 pace cars).
  • 2006
    Age 77
    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.
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  • 2005
    Age 76
    In February 2005, he received the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award.
    More Details Hide Details He was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role that year, for The Notebook. When Morgan Freeman won that prize for his work in Million Dollar Baby, he led the audience in a sing-along of the original Maverick theme song, written by David Buttolph and Paul Francis Webster. In 2010, the Television Critics Association gave Garner its annual Career Achievement Award.
  • 2004
    Age 75
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The Screen Actors Guild nominated Garner as best actor for "Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role." In 2010, Garner voiced Shazam in Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam. On November 1, 2011, Simon & Schuster published Garner's autobiography The Garner Files: A Memoir. In addition to recounting his career, the memoir, co-written with nonfiction writer Jon Winokur, detailed the childhood abuses Garner suffered at the hands of his stepmother. It also offered frank, unflattering assessments of some of Garner's co-stars such as Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. In addition to recalling the genesis of most of Garner's hit films and television shows, the book also featured a section where the star provided individual critiques for every one of his acting projects accompanied by a star rating for each. Garner's three-time co-star Julie Andrews wrote the book's foreword. Lauren Bacall, Diahann Carroll, Doris Day, Tom Selleck, and Stephen J. Cannell and many other Garner associates, friends, and relatives provided their memories of the star in the book's coda.
  • 2003
    Age 74
    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.
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  • 2002
    Age 73
    Also in 2002, he played Sandra Bullock's father in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (film) as Shepard James "Shep" Walker.
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    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.
    More Details Hide Details Garner continued to voice the commercials until the end of the campaign.
  • 2001
    Age 72
    In 2001, Garner voiced Commander Rourke in Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
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  • 2000
    Age 71
    In 2000, after an operation to replace both knees, Garner appeared with Clint Eastwood (who had played a villain in the original Maverick series) as astronauts in the movie Space Cowboys, also featuring Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland.
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  • 1996
    Age 67
    In 1996, Garner and Jack Lemmon teamed up in My Fellow Americans, playing two former presidents who uncover scandalous activity by their successor (Dan Aykroyd) and are pursued by murderous NSA agents.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to a major recurring role during the last part of the run of TV series Chicago Hope, Garner also starred in two short-lived series, the animated God, the Devil and Bob and First Monday, in which he played a Supreme Court justice.
  • 1995
    Age 66
    In 1995, he played lead character Woodrow Call, an ex-lawman, in the TV miniseries sequel to Lonesome Dove entitled Streets of Laredo, based on Larry McMurtry's book.
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  • 1994
    Age 65
    In 1994, Garner played Marshal Zane Cooper in a movie version of Maverick, with Mel Gibson as Bret Maverick (in the end it is revealed that Garner's character is the father of Gibson's Maverick) and Jodie Foster as a gambling lass with a fake Southern accent.
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  • 1993
    Age 64
    In 1993, Garner played the lead in a well-received HBO movie, the true story Barbarians at the Gate, and went on to reprise his role as Jim Rockford in eight The Rockford Files made-for-TV movies beginning the following year.
    More Details Hide Details Practically everyone in the original cast of recurring characters returned for the new episodes except Noah Beery, Jr., who had died in the interim.
  • 1991
    Age 62
    In 1991, Garner starred in Man of the People, a television series about a con man chosen to fill an empty seat on a city council, with Kate Mulgrew and Corinne Bohrer.
    More Details Hide Details Despite reasonably fair ratings, the show was canceled after only 10 episodes.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1984
    Age 55
    During the 1980s, Garner played dramatic roles in a number of television films, including Heartsounds (with Mary Tyler Moore), Promise (with Piper Laurie), and My Name Is Bill W. In 1984, he played the lead in Joseph Wambaugh's The Glitter Dome for HBO Pictures, which was being directed by his Rockford Files co-star Stuart Margolin.
    More Details Hide Details The film generated a mild controversy for a bondage sequence featuring Garner and co-star Margot Kidder. He was nominated for his only Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role in the movie Murphy's Romance opposite Sally Field. Field, and director Martin Ritt, had to fight the studio, Columbia Pictures, to have Garner cast, since he was regarded as a TV actor by then (despite having co-starred in the box office hit Victor Victoria opposite Julie Andrews two years earlier). Columbia did not want to make the movie, because it had no "sex or violence" in it. But because of the success of Norma Rae (1979), with the same star (Field), director, and screenplay writing team (Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch), and with Field's new production company (Fogwood Films) producing, Columbia agreed. Columbia wanted Marlon Brando to play the part of Murphy, so Field and Ritt had to insist on Garner. Part of the deal from the studio, which at that time was owned by The Coca-Cola Company, included an eight-line sequence of Field and Garner saying the word "Coke", and also having Coke signs appear prominently in the film. In A&E's Biography of Garner, Field reported that her on-screen kiss with Garner was the best cinematic kiss she had ever experienced.
    His older brothers were Jack Garner (1926–2011) and Charles Bumgarner, a school administrator who died in 1984.
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  • 1981
    Age 52
    The two reconciled in September 1981, and remained married for the rest of his life.
    More Details Hide Details Garner died less than a month before their 58th wedding anniversary. Garner's knees became a chronic problem during the filming of The Rockford Files in the 1970s, with "six or seven knee operations during that time." In 2000, he underwent knee replacement surgery for both of them. On April 22, 1988, Garner had quintuple bypass heart surgery. Though he recovered rapidly, he was advised to stop smoking. Garner quit smoking 17 years later.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Critics noted that most of the scripts did not measure up to the first series. Jack Kelly (Bart Maverick) was slated to become a series regular had the show been picked up for another season, and he appeared in the last scene of the final episode in a surprise guest appearance.
  • 1979
    Age 50
    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."
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  • FORTIES
  • 1978
    Age 49
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The series itself, which only featured Garner for a few moments at the beginning of the first show, was canceled so rapidly, some of the episodes filmed were never broadcast.
  • 1977
    Age 48
    He appeared for six seasons, for which he received an Emmy Award for Best Actor in 1977.
    More Details Hide Details Veteran character actor Noah Beery, Jr. (Noah Beery, Sr.'s son and Wallace Beery's nephew) played Rockford's father, Joseph "Rocky" Rockford. Gretchen Corbett portrayed Rockford's lawyer and sometime lover, Beth Davenport, until she left the series over a salary dispute with the studio. Garner also invited another familiar actor, Joe Santos, to play Rockford's friend in the Los Angeles Police Department, Detective Dennis Becker. Rounding out the cast was a character actor and friend of Garner's who had previously co-starred with him on Nichols, Stuart Margolin, playing Jim's ex-cell mate and treacherous "friend" Angel Martin. In the first episode of season six, "Paradise Cove", Mariette Hartley guest-starred as Court Auditor Althea Morgan. Garner had previously appeared with Rockford Files co-star Hartley in a series of Polaroid Camera commercials. After six seasons, The Rockford Files was cancelled in 1980. Although low ratings were primarily to blame, the physical toll on Garner was also an issue. Appearing in nearly every scene of the series, doing many of his own stunts — including one that injured his back — was wearing him out. A knee injury from his National Guard days worsened in the wake of the continuous jumping and rolling, and he was hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer in 1979.
  • 1974
    Age 45
    Starting with the 1974 season, Garner appeared as private investigator Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files.
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  • 1971
    Age 42
    In 1971, Garner returned to television in an offbeat series, Nichols.
    More Details Hide Details The motorcycle-riding antihero character was killed in what became the final episode of the single-season series. Garner was recast as the character's more normal twin brother, in the hopes of creating a more popular series with few cast changes. According to Garner's 1999 videotaped Archive of American Television interview, not only did the network change the name of the series to James Garner as Nichols, but Garner had Nichols killed in the last episode so that a sequel could never be made. The year 1971 also had him star in Support Your Local Gunfighter! (with many similarities to Support Your Local Sheriff!), and the frontier comedy Skin Game, featuring Garner and Louis Gossett, Jr. as con men pretending to be a slave and his owner during the pre-Civil War era. The following year, Garner played a modern sheriff investigating a murder in They Only Kill Their Masters with Katherine Ross. He appeared in two films co-starring Vera Miles as his leading lady, One Little Indian (1973) featuring Jodie Foster in an early minor role and The Castaway Cowboy (1974) with Robert Culp, before returning to television with a new detective series.
  • 1969
    Age 40
    In 1969, Garner played Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe in Marlowe, a detective drama featuring an early karate scene with Bruce Lee.
    More Details Hide Details The same year, Garner scored a hit with the comedy Western Support Your Local Sheriff! featuring Walter Brennan and Jack Elam.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1963
    Age 34
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The remake began as Something's Got to Give, but was recast and retitled after Marilyn Monroe died and co-star Dean Martin chose not to continue with a new actress. Next came the war dramas The Great Escape (1963) with Steve McQueen, The Americanization of Emily (1964) with Julie Andrews and 36 Hours (1965) with Eva Marie Saint, the romantic comedy The Art of Love (1965) with Dick Van Dyke, and the westerns Duel at Diablo (1966) with Sidney Poitier, and as Wyatt Earp in Hour of the Gun (1967) with Jason Robards, Jr. as Doc Holliday, along with nine other theatrical releases during the decade. In the smash hit The Great Escape, Garner played the second lead for the only time during the decade, supporting fellow ex-TV series cowboy McQueen among a cast of British and American screen veterans including Richard Attenborough, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson in a story depicting a mass escape from a German prisoner of war camp based on a true story. The film was released in the same month as The Thrill Of It All, giving Garner two films at the box office at the same time.
  • 1961
    Age 32
    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.
    More Details Hide Details When Charlton Heston turned down the lead role in Darby's Rangers before Garner's departure from Maverick, Garner was selected and performed well in the role. As a result of Garner's performance in Darby's Rangers, coupled with his Maverick popularity, Warner Brothers subsequently gave him lead roles in other films, such as Up Periscope and Cash McCall.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1957
    Age 28
    After several feature film roles, including Sayonara with Marlon Brando, Garner got his big break playing the role of professional gambler Bret Maverick in the comedy Western series Maverick from 1957 to 1960.
    More Details Hide Details Only Garner and series creator Roy Huggins thought Maverick could compete with The Ed Sullivan Show and The Steve Allen Show. The show almost immediately made Garner a household name. Various actors had recurring roles as Maverick foils, including Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as "Dandy Jim Buckley", Richard Long as "Gentleman Jack Darby", Leo Gordon as "Big Mike McComb", and Diane Brewster as "Samantha Crawford" (Huggins' mother's maiden name). Garner was the lone star of Maverick for the first seven episodes, but production demands forced the studio, Warner Brothers, to create a Maverick brother, Bart, played by Jack Kelly. This allowed two production units to film different story lines and episodes simultaneously. The series also featured popular cross-over episodes featuring both Maverick brothers, including the famous "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres", upon which the first half of the 1973 movie The Sting appears to be based, according to Roy Huggins' Archive of American Television interview. Garner and Clint Eastwood staged an epic fistfight in an episode entitled "Duel at Sundown", in which Eastwood plays a vicious gunslinger. Critics were positive about Garner and Jack Kelly's chemistry, but Garner quit the series after the third season because of a dispute with Warner Brothers.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The series' producer Roy Huggins noted in his Archive of American Television interview that he subsequently cast Garner as the lead in Maverick because of Garner's comedic facial expressions while playing scenes in Man from 1997 that were not originally written to be comical. He changed his last name from Bumgarner to Garner after the studio had credited him as "James Garner" without permission. He then legally changed it upon the birth of his first child, when he decided she had too many names. Garner was closely advised by financial adviser Irving Leonard, who also advised Clint Eastwood in the late 1950s and 1960s.
  • 1956
    Age 27
    Garner was married to Lois Josephine Fleischman Clarke, whom he met at an "Adlai Stevenson for President" rally in 1956. They married 14 days later on August 17, 1956. "We went to dinner every night for 14 nights.
    More Details Hide Details I was just absolutely nuts about her. I spent $77 on our honeymoon, and it about broke me." According to Garner, "Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you'd be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist." When Garner and Clarke married, her daughter Kim from a previous marriage was seven years old and recovering from polio. Garner had one daughter with Lois: Greta "Gigi" Garner. In an interview in Good Housekeeping with Garner, his wife, and two daughters conducted at their home that was published in March 1976, Gigi's age was given as 18 and Kim's as 27.
    His first film appearances were in The Girl He Left Behind and Toward the Unknown in 1956.
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  • 1955
    Age 26
    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.
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  • 1954
    Age 25
    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.
    More Details Hide Details During the week of Garner's death, TCM broadcast most of his movies, introduced by Robert Osborne, who said that Fonda's gentle, sincere persona rubbed off on Garner, greatly to Garner's benefit.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1934
    Age 5
    Garner was reunited with his family in 1934, when Weldon remarried.
    More Details Hide Details Garner's father remarried several times. Garner came to hate one of his stepmothers, Wilma, who beat all three boys (especially him). He said that his stepmother also punished him by forcing him to wear a dress in public. When he was 14 years old, he fought with her, knocking her down and choking her to keep her from killing him in retaliation. She left the family, never to return. His brother Jack later commented, "She was a damn no-good woman". Garner's last stepmother was Grace, who he said he loved and called "Mama Grace", and felt that she was more of a mother to him than anyone else had been. Shortly after his father's marriage to Wilma broke up, his father moved to Los Angeles, leaving Garner and his brothers in Norman. After working at several jobs he disliked, Garner joined the United States Merchant Marine at age 16 near the end of World War II. He liked the work and his shipmates, but he suffered from chronic seasickness.
  • 1928
    Born
    Garner was born in Norman, Oklahoma on April 7, 1928.
    More Details Hide Details He was the youngest of three sons of Weldon Warren Bumgarner and Mildred Scott (Meek).
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