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James Garner

James GarnerAKA James Scott Bumgarner

Born: 7-Apr-1928
Birthplace: Norman, OK
Died: 19-Jul-2014
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Jim Rockford on Rockford Files

Military service: Oklahoma National Guard; US Army (drafted, Korean War, discharged 1952)

James Garner was the first man drafted from Oklahoma for service in the Korean War. He was wounded in action, and earned a Purple Heart. Garner's first major role was on the TV western, Maverick. The show was a huge hit and Garner was its breakout star, but during a writers' strike in 1960, the studio suspended production of the show, and stopped paying the actors. Garner considered this a breach of his contract, and refused to return when the strike was settled. He was sued by the studio, and won, and stayed away from television work for the next decade.

His movies include the discreet lesbian drama The Children's Hour with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, the rousing all-star action flick The Great Escape, the Doris Day comedy Move Over, Darling, the western Support Your Local Sheriff, Raymond Chandler's Marlowe, the anti-war comedy The Americanization of Emily, the psychothriller The Fan, the heartwarming Murphy's Romance with Sally Field, and Blake Edwards's farcical Victor/Victoria.

Garner was best known for his TV work, including Maverick and The Rockford Files, and he reprised his characters from both shows in TV updates and, for Maverick, a feature film with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. Garner's best TV series might have been Nichols, which lasted only one season, with Garner as a laid back and slightly shady sheriff in an early-1900's Arizona town.

He was an ardent fan of pot: "I started smoking marijuana in my late teens. I drank to get drunk but ultimately didn't like the effect. Not so with grass. Grass is smooth. It had the opposite effect from alcohol: it made me more tolerant and forgiving... I smoked marijuana for 50 years. I don't know where I'd be without it. It opened my mind to a lot of things, and now its active ingredient, THC, relaxes me and eases my arthritis pain. I've concluded that marijuana should be legal and alcohol should be illegal. But, good luck with that."

In made-for-TV movies, he played a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in My Name is Bill W., and made leveraged buyouts seem almost fun in Barbarians at the Gate. After John Ritter's sudden death, Garner popped up as "Grandpa" on the sit-com 8 Simple Rules.

Father: William Weldon Bumgarner (carpet layer, b. 13-Jan-1902, d. 15-Mar-1986)
Mother: Mildred Meek (b. circa 1905, m. 1921, d. 1933)
Mother: Wilma Risinger (stepmother, m. 1934, div. 1943)
Mother: Grace Davey (stepmother, m. 1948)
Brother: Jack Garner (actor, b. 1926, d. 2011)
Brother: Charlie Baumgarner (schoolteacher, d. 1985)
Wife: Lois Fleishman Clarke (m. 17-Aug-1956, two daughters)
Daughter: Kimberly Garner (stepdaughter, from Clarke's first marriage)
Daughter: Greta Scott Garner ("Gigi", author)

    High School: Norman High School, Norman, OK
    High School: Hollywood High School, Hollywood, CA (dropout)
    University: University of Oklahoma (one semester, dropped out)

    Gore 2000
    John Kerry for President
    Progressive Majority
    Voters for Choice
    Purple Heart Korean War
    Emmy 1977 Best Actor for Rockford Files
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 6927 Hollywood Blvd (television)
    Open Heart Surgery quintiple bypass (1988)
    Stroke May-2008
    Endorsement of Polaroid 1978
    Cherokee Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Marijuana

    TELEVISION
    8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter Jim Egan (2003-05)
    First Monday Chief Justice Thomas Brankin (2002)
    God, the Devil and Bob God (2000)
    Chicago Hope Hugh Miller (2000)
    Man of the People Councilman Jim Doyle (1991)
    Bret Maverick Bret Maverick (1981-82)
    The Rockford Files Jim Rockford (1974-80)
    Nichols Nichols (1971-72)
    Maverick Bret Maverick (1957-60)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    Battle for Terra (8-Sep-2007) · Doron [VOICE]
    The Ultimate Gift (20-Oct-2006)
    The Notebook (20-May-2004) · Duke
    The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration (2-Dec-2003) [VOICE]
    Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (3-Jun-2002) · Shep Walker
    Roughing It (16-Mar-2002)
    Atlantis: The Lost Empire (3-Jun-2001) [VOICE]
    The Last Debate (5-Nov-2000)
    Space Cowboys (1-Aug-2000) · Tank Sullivan
    One Special Night (28-Nov-1999)
    Legalese (4-Oct-1998)
    Twilight (6-Mar-1998) · Raymond Hope
    Dead Silence (11-Jan-1997)
    My Fellow Americans (20-Dec-1996) · Matt Douglas
    Streets of Laredo (12-Nov-1995)
    Maverick (20-May-1994) · Zane Cooper
    Breathing Lessons (6-Feb-1994)
    Barbarians at the Gate (20-Mar-1993)
    Fire in the Sky (12-Mar-1993) · Frank Watters
    The Distinguished Gentleman (4-Dec-1992) · Jeff Johnson
    Decoration Day (2-Dec-1990)
    My Name Is Bill W. (30-Apr-1989)
    Sunset (29-Apr-1988) · Wyatt Earp
    Murphy's Romance (25-Dec-1985) · Murphy Jones
    Heartsounds (30-Sep-1984)
    Tank (16-Mar-1984)
    Victor/Victoria (16-Mar-1982) · King Marchand
    The Fan (15-May-1981)
    HealtH (12-Sep-1980)
    The Castaway Cowboy (1-Aug-1974)
    One Little Indian (20-Jun-1973)
    They Only Kill Their Masters (22-Nov-1972)
    Skin Game (30-Sep-1971) · Quincy
    Support Your Local Gunfighter (26-May-1971) · Latigo
    A Man Called Sledge (30-Oct-1970) · Luther Sledge
    Marlowe (22-Oct-1969)
    Support Your Local Sheriff (26-Mar-1969) · Jason
    The Pink Jungle (16-Sep-1968)
    How Sweet It Is! (21-Aug-1968)
    Hour of the Gun (1-Nov-1967) · Wyatt Earp
    Grand Prix (21-Dec-1966) · Pete Aron
    Mister Buddwing (15-Jul-1966) · Mister Buddwing
    Duel at Diablo (15-Jun-1966) · Jess Remsberg
    A Man Could Get Killed (25-Mar-1966) · William Beddoes
    The Art of Love (30-Jun-1965)
    36 Hours (28-Jan-1965) · Maj. Jefferson Pike
    The Americanization of Emily (27-Oct-1964) · Lt. Cmdr. Charles E. Madison
    Move Over, Darling (19-Dec-1963) · Nicholas Arden
    The Wheeler Dealers (14-Nov-1963) · Henry Tyroon
    The Thrill of It All (17-Jul-1963) · Dr. Gerald Boyer
    The Great Escape (4-Jul-1963) · Hendley
    Boys' Night Out (21-Jun-1962) · Fred Williams
    The Children's Hour (19-Dec-1961) · Dr. Joe Cardin
    Cash McCall (27-Jan-1960) · Cash McCall
    Up Periscope (4-Mar-1959) · Ken Braden
    Darby's Rangers (12-Feb-1958) · William Darby
    Sayonara (5-Dec-1957) · Capt. Bailey
    Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (4-May-1957) · John Maitland
    The Girl He Left Behind (26-Oct-1956) · Preston
    Toward the Unknown (27-Sep-1956) · Maj. Joe Craven

Author of books:
The Garner Files: A Memoir (2011)


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