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James Garner – An American Treasure Dies At 86 [VIDEO]

As a baby boomer, I remember watching “Maverick” on TV every Sunday night, and later in the 1970s tuning in “The Rockford Files” on Friday nights. Sadly, James Garner, the man who made both shows so great, died over the weekend at age 86.

James Garner black & white
L. J. Willinger, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

According to an article by Bruce Weber on nytimes.com:

“James Garner, the wry and handsome leading man who slid seamlessly between television and the movies but 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,” died on Saturday night at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86.

His publicist, Jennifer Allen, said he died of natural causes.

He was a genuine star but as an actor something of a paradox: a lantern-jawed, brawny athlete whose physical appeal was both enhanced and undercut by a disarming wit. He appeared in more than 50 films, many of them dramas — but, as he established in one of his notable early performances, as a battle-shy naval officer in “The Americanization of Emily” (1964) and had shown before that in “Maverick” — he was most at home as an iconoclast, a flawed or unlikely hero.

James Scott Bumgarner was born in Norman, Okla., on April 7, 1928.”

I recall in 2003, when John Ritter died suddenly, James Garner stepped in to take on the role as family grandpa in the sitcom, “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter”. As in everything else, he was authentic, believable and very witty in the part. No matter what the part, he was always so likeable on screen.

Here’s a brief look at actor James Garner’s career from nytimes.com:

So long Jim Garner, and thanks for all the smiles you gave us along the way.

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