JAMES GARNER BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
James Garner was born April 7th, 1928 in Norman, Oklahoma with the birth name James Scott Baumgarner. His father was a carpet layer and Garner attended Hollywood High School. It is said, James was the first draftee from the State of Oklahoma during the Korean War. He joined the army and merchant marines briefly and won two purple hearts while fighting in Korea. Garner started out working various jobs from gas station attendant to working as a model before turning to acting as a career.
He began with stage work in the Broadway play "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial" (1954) with a non speaking role. It was working on this performance that give him a great introduction to the world of acting. He was able to run lines with some well known actors such as, Lloyd Nolan, Henry Fonda and John Hodiak.
After working briefly on stage, Garner proceeded to get some more acting experience doing commercials and was then signed to contract with Warner Bothers in 1956. His first film was a credited role, but a very small part in, "The Girl He Left Behind" (1956) starring alongside Tab Hunter, Natalie Wood, Jim Backus, Alan King, Murray Hamilton and David Janssen. Garner's first major screen credit was in, "Shoot-Out a Medicine Bend" (1957) followed by being cast in another Warner Brothers Television series, "Maverick". He was content with his role on this series, but by season three he began to voice his opinion about his low salary and lack of good treatment. The studio refused to make any changes so Garner walked out. There was a lawsuit involved but the final outcome was just relieving Garner of his contract.
Garner became involved in mostly free lance projects for a while such as, "Boys Night Out" (1962) with Kim Novak, Howard Duff and Tony Randall, "The Great Escape" (1963) with an allstar cast including Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Richard Attenborough, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, James Donald and James Coburn, "The Thrill of it All" (1963) also starring Doris Day, ZaSu Pitts and Arlene Francis, "Move Over Darling" (1963), "The Americanization of Emily" (1964) costarring Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas and James Coburn and "Grand Prix" (1966) with Eva Marie Saint, Jessica Walter and Yves Montand. He was becoming slightly worn out always portraying the cowboy western character and it was taking a toll on him physically as well so he then returned to television work with the series, "Nichols" (1971) where he played a more peaceful western character. However, the public did not take too much interest in his role and therefore he was killed off the series.
Determined to shed his Maverick persona, he finally got a role with a long running television series, "The Rockford Files" (1974-1978), for which he was nominated for the Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy in 1976 and won in 1977. Rockford resulted in even more injuries for the increasingly battered actor, and soon he was showing up on TV talk shows telling the world about the many physical activities which he could no longer perform.
His later roles he portrayed in TV and film had more of a dark edge to them. He received an Oscar nomination for his role on, "Murphy's Romance" (1985) costarring with Sally Field and had roles on the television movies, "Promise" (1986) with Piper Laurie and "My Name is Bill W." (1989) costarring JoBeth Williams and James Woods.
Garner continued to work into the 90's playing Zane Cooper in the modern day film version of, "Maverick", which starred Mel Gibson in the title role. He also worked on other films such as on the made for TV thriller, "Dead Silence" (1997), "Space Cowboys" (2000) starring alongside Clint Eastwood, Tommie Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland," Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" (2002), "The Notebook" (2004) with Gena Rowlands, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams and he even provided the voice over for the animated feature, "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" (2001).
Garner was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Western Heritage Museum in 1990. He married Lois Clarke August 17th 1956 to present and together they had two children. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Garner was very involved in humanitarian causes and was also a volunteer of Save The Children.
James Garner passed away at his home in Brentwood, California on July 19, 2014 of natural causes.
2005 Dust to Glory
2004 The Notebook
2002 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
2002 One Special Night
2001 Atlantis: the Lost Empire
2000 Space Cowboys
1996 My Fellow Americans
1994 Breathing Lessons
1993 Fire in the Sky
1992 Barbarians at the Gate
1992 The Distinguished Gentleman
1990 Decoration Day
1989 My Name Is Bill W.
1985 Murphy's Romance
1981 The Fan
1974 The Castaway Cowboy
1973 One Little Indian
1972 They Only Kill Their Masters
1971 Skin Game
1971 Support Your Local Gunfighter
1971 A Man Called Sledge
1969 Support Your Local Sheriff
1968 How Sweet It Is
1968 The Pink Jungle
1967 Hour of the Gun
1966 Duel at Diablo
1966 Grand Prix
1964 36 Hours
1964 The Americanization of Emily
1963 The Great Escape
1963 The Thrill of It All
1963 The Wheeler Dealers
1962 Boys' Night Out
1962 The Children's Hour
1959 Cash McCall
1959 Up Periscope
1957 Shoot Out at Medicine Bend
1957 Darby's Rangers
1956 Towards the Unknown
1956 The Girl He Left Behind