Morning Man Classic: James Garner!
The late James Garner was born 92 years ago today.
Over the weekend while sheltering in place, I caught a pair of back-to-back movies on TCM starring the gorgeous Garner and the gorgeous Doris Day: Move Over, Darling and The Thrill of it All. I had never seen the latter movie before and thought their chemistry was off the charts!
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 in Victor/Victoria opposite Julie Andrews. 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 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.