Sunday, July 20, 2014

Farewell to James Garner, TV's Most Dashing Leading Man April 7, 1928 - July 19, 2014

Whether on the big screen or television, James Garner was a winner.  So talented, so handsome, so disarmingly charming -- James Garner had it all.  His career path took him from TV to huge movie stardom and then back to TV again where he never stopped pleasing audiences with his rugged visage, no-nonsense acting style and a twinkle in his eye.

He passed away yesterday at the age of 86 at his home in Los Angeles.

Though his movie career was as big if not bigger than his decades-long TV presence, we'll concentrate on just his small screen work here.  We recommend reading something about his interesting life to get a better sense of what James Garner brought to the table.  It was considerable -- no pampered Hollywood brat was he -- and it will make you appreciate the journey he took to get into acting and then to delight us for the next 60 or so years.

James Garner was Maverick from 1957 - 1962:

(You should watch Garner's full interview from the Archive of American Television here.)

In 1971 he came back to series TV in the one-season Nichols co-starring Margot Kidder:

And then came The Rockford Files from 1974 - 1980:

We'll also show you a big selection of Garner's very popular TV commercials for Polaroid, some solo and others co-starring actress Mariette Hartley.  The Garner-Hartley teaming became a phenomenon for the affectionately snarky chemistry between them and some viewers thought they actually were married to each other.  No, they were just acting like a bickering couple...

In 1981 Garner brought back his Bret Maverick character for 18 episodes in the series of the same name:

In 1991 he had a short-lived series Man of the People:

In 1999 he starred in the TV adaptation of Larry McMurty's Streets of Laredo:

James Garner's long, distinguished and enjoyable career made him a favorite of millions.  We'll continue to enjoy his performances for years to come.  Real life is temporary -- TV and movies are forever.

James Garner, 1928 - 2014.

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