THE ROCKFORD FILES — Episode — Pictured: James Garner as Jim Rockford — (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)
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James Garner (1928-2014)

We mourn the passing of James Garner, the actor who embodied debonair leading men with inimitable style in a Hollywood film and TV career that earned him universal accolades, as well as four Golden Globe Awards from no less than 12 nominations. Born in Oklahoma, Garner was a merchant seaman, gas station attendant and carpet layer, in addition to purple-heart Korean war veteran before getting into show business as an understudy for actor Lloyd Nolan during rehearsals of the Broadway-bound The Caine Mutiny Court Martial. Garner eventually copped a nonspeaking role in the 1954 production. He later acted in the TV series Cheyenne, eventually signing a $200 a week contract with Warner Bros. In 1958 he appeared in Sayonara with Marlon Brando and earned his first Golden Globe as “New Star of the Year”. He promptly proved that award prophetic by landing his first recurring TV role in the Western Comedy series Maverick. The title character of Bret Maverick would make him a household name thanks to the wry, irony that was to become his hallmark. With a typical self-effacing understatement, Garner would say ““I’m playing me”, about that role. He drew on his Korean War experience for a role alongside Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, then, in 1964 starred in The Americanization of Emily, written by Paddy Chayefsky, directed by Arthur Hiller opposite the then-red-hot Julie Andrews. Later, Blake Edwards would reunite him with Andrews in Victor, Victoria (1982). In 1966 he starred alongside Yves Montand and Toshiro Mifune in John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix, becoming a life-long car racing fan. His fame was forever cemented in a return to the small screen for The Rockford Files which ran from 1974-80 produced by Stephen J. Cannell which won him an Emmy in 1977 and another three Golden Globe nominations nominations (1978-1980). In the 1992 he portrayed JR Nabisco CEO F Ross Johnson in HBO’s Barbarians at the Gate, a prophetic true-life drama about Wall Street greed that scored him another Golden Globe win. In 2000 he teamed up with Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones in the Eastwood-directed astronaut comedy Space Cowboys. Garner leaves us with an irreplaceable void but also priceless movie memories. The complete list of Golden Globe wins and nominations:
New Star Of The Year – Actor
1958 Sayonara – Won
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical
1986 Murphy’s Romance
1964 Wheeler Dealers, The
Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama
1980 Rockford Files, The
1979 Rockford Files, The
1978 Rockford Files, The
Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Comedy Or Musical
1982 Brett Maverick
Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
1995 Breathing Lessons
1994 Barbarians at The Gate – Won
1991 Decoration Day – Won
1987 Promise, The – Won
1985 Heartsounds