James Garner death: The Notebook, Maverick and Rockford Files actor dies aged 86

The actor featured in over 50 films during his six-decade career

Ella Alexander
Tuesday 22 July 2014 08:54 BST
Garner and Gena Rowland in The Notebook, 2004
Garner and Gena Rowland in The Notebook, 2004

James Garner, who starred in The Rockford Files and The Notebook, has died, aged 86.

The actor died in his Los Angeles home yesterday, Saturday 19 July. His cause of death is not yet known.

Garner had a career both in television and in cinema, although is best known for his role as Jim Rockford in Seventies television series The Rockford Files, for which he won an Emmy. He also played the original gambling Bret Maverick in Fifties comedy Western Maverick, before starring in the big-screen version with Mel Gibson in 1994.

Born in Oklahoma in 1928, he changed his name to Garner from Bumgarner after a Hollywood studio credited him as “James Garner” without his consent. He started acting by playing small parts in television series Cheyenne and soon went on to assume the role of Marlon Brando’s friend in 1957 film Sayonara.

Garner on stage at the 2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards

His six-decade career saw him act in over 50 films including The Children’s Hour, The Great Escape, The Thrill Of It All, Murphy’s Romance, Space Cowboys and more recently The Notebook, in which he plays the older version of Ryan Gosling.

In February 2005, he received the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award and also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In his hometown, Norman in Oklahoma stands a 10-foot bronze statue of Garner as Bret Maverick.

He is survived by his wife, Lois Clarke, whom he married 14 days after meeting, and his two children, Gigi and Kimberly, Clarke’s daughter from her first marriage.

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