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Morning Man Classic: James Garner!


The late James Garner was born 94 years ago today.

I cannot tell you how many episodes of The Rockford Files I’ve watched with my dad since it is one of his all-time favorite shows. My dad just thought Garner was terrific as private investigator Jim Rockford from 1974-80 and in six TV movies in the mid-90s. He had been a fan since he played the gun-slinging Bret Maverick on TV’s Maverick from 1957-1960 and again in 1981-82.

My favorite Garner performances, however, came in the movies.

Who can forget him opposite Steve McQueen in The Great Escape and I loved him with Doris Day in Move Over Darling. An then there was the only movie performance he ever earned an Oscar nomination for: the 1985′s Murphy’s Romance opposite Sally Field – I think it’s my most favorite of all.

While he didn’t win the Oscar, he did win a pair of Emmys, three Golden Globes, two Peoples Choice Awards and the 2005 SAG Lifetime Achievement Award.

The handsome Garner easily segued between movies and TV, comedy and drama and leading and supporting roles throughout his career. It’s no wonder he had nearly 100 credits.

Other feature films included Victor/Victoria, The Children’s Hour, The Americanization of Emily, Support Your Local Gunfighter, The Fan, My Fellow Americans, Space Cowboys and The Notebook.

Notables TV films were Emmy nominated performances in Barbarians at the Gate, My Name is Bill W, The Promise, Decoration Day and my favorite, Heartsounds with Mary Tyler Moore.

Garner stepped in as the family patriarch on the ABC comedy 8 Simple Rules after John Ritter’s death and appeared in two-and-a-half seasons and also starred in the following short-lived series that lasted a season or less: First Monday, Man of the People and Nichols.

He died in 2014 at the age of 86.

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One Remark

  1. One of the truly fine actors, easy on the eyes. My Dad and I watched countless Rockford Files reruns. ‘Murphy’s Romance” was one of my favorite movies of all times (when they still made good movies), filmed in Florence, Arizona. Truly good actors rarely win an Oscar. I still watch him in “Maverick”, and it is still extremely entertaining. Too bad today’s powers-that-be are allowed to pick and choose diversity over talent. Until we get over this foolishness, the profession will continue to die on the vine.

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