Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Tribute: James Garner

posted by Nell Minow

One of my favorite actors has left us. James Garner, handsome, wry, effortlessly masculine, all-purpose leading man for decades on television and in movies, has died at age 84. He had consummate skill in comedy, drama, and romance, and even in selling cameras in television commercials. He will be sorely missed.

YouTube Preview Image

james garnerBorn James Baumgarner in 1926, he was from Norman, Oklahoma. He named his production company Cherokee Productions in honor of his grandfather. He had a difficult childhood and was left on his own at age 14. He had a number of jobs and went into the military, where he received two Purple Hearts.


Early in his career, he had a non-speaking part as a juror in “The Caine Mutiny” on Broadway. He said it was superb training to be on stage for the entire show, watching the lead actors up close each night. His early film roles included parts in the classic “The Great Escape” with Steve McQueen and “Sayonara” with Marlon Brando.

He was superb at light comedy, often showing an off-beat cynicism that was a refreshing change from the earnestness of the 1950’s and early 60’s. When television was filled with laconic Western heroes, his “Maverick” was true to the name as a easy-natured gambler.

YouTube Preview Image

He played similar roles in the delightful Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter. He co-starred with Doris Day in two of her most sparkling comedies, The Thrill of it All! and and Move Over Darling.  And he was the laconic private detective Jim Rockford in ‘The Rockford Files.”


YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Two of his best films co-starred Julie Andrews. He was a cynical American soldier in The Americanization of Emily and an amiable gangster in love with a cross-cross-dressing performer in Victor/Victoria. He was nominated for an Oscar for the bittersweet romance Murphy’s Romance, with Sally Field.


YouTube Preview Image

He made superb television movies, including Barbarians at the Gate and My Name Is Bill W.


He continued to create unforgettable performances into his 70’s, with films like The Notebook. No actor half his age could have played a sweeter love scene.

YouTube Preview Image

We bid a sad farewell to this most graceful and appealing of actors. May his memory be a blessing.

  • Till

    James Garner’s maternal grandfather wasn’t Cherokee. It’s more fiction. His grandfathers/great-grandparents/etc. were all listed as white on censuses.

    • Nell Minow

      That’s not always dispositive, Till, but I appreciate the information.

Previous Posts

Trailer: A Bigger Splash with Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, and Dakota Johnson
[youtube][/youtube] The lives of a famous rock star and a filmmaker, (Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts) vacationing on the idyllic sun-drenched and remote Italian island of Pantelleria are ...

posted 8:00:25am Oct. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Adam LaVorgna of "Masterless"
Adam LaVorgna became an actor very young and was in the cast of the television series "Brooklyn Bridge" and "7th Heaven" before he was out of his teens. He loved the cast but he felt lost. He tried to use drugs to feel better and tried rehab ...

posted 2:58:01pm Oct. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Lauren Bradshaw's "Martian"-inspired Google Searches
I love this wonderful article by my friend and fellow critic, Lauren Bradshaw, about the ten Google searches she made after viewing "The Martian." ...

posted 10:13:33am Oct. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Goran Visnjic of "The Journey Home"
Goran Visnjic stars in the family movie adventure The Journey Home, with Dakota Goyo as an Canadian boy who is determined to bring a polar bear cub back to its mother. The scenery is spectacular and the story is heartwarming and exciting. I ...

posted 8:17:43am Oct. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Golden Shoes
[jwvideo vid='KiRrH2Wm' pid='GvkPWNBE'] We are delighted to present an exclusive clip from the new family movie about soccer, "Golden Shoes." As long as he could remember, eight-year-old Christian Larou (Christian Koza) dreamed of being a ...

posted 8:00:46am Oct. 02, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.