James Garner, the actor best known for his TV roles in Maverick and The Rockford Files, died Saturday at his Los Angeles home of natural causes. He was 86 years old. Garner’s hit TV series were almost two decades apart–with Maverick gracing the small screen in the late 1950s and The Rockford Files in the 1970s. That wasn’t all the handsome star did either. His foray into the film world was a success as well, with his last role in 2004 in The Notebook portraying the younger version of Ryan Gosling’s character.
James Garner was born James Scott Baumgarner in Norman, Oklahoma. The son of a carpet layer, his mother died when he was just four years old. After dropping out of high school, he joined the Merchant Marines. He served in the Army during the Korean War, where he was wounded in action. He received the Purple Heart twice.
Two weeks after meeting Lois Clarke back in 1956 the two got married. It was a ’til death do us part’ kind of marriage.
“Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains,” he once said. “But you’d be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist.”
Fans are expressing their sorrow over the passing of James Garner.
"I got into the business to put a roof over my head." RIP, James Garner. You'll always be a Maverick to me. pic.twitter.com/WpT4ExndKK
— Karen (@TheDarkPages) July 20, 2014
RIP JAMES GARNER, I loved Him. You will be missed. The one & only Maverick, Rockford Files… pic.twitter.com/TeM4ZlN3Xx
— BOSSY MONICA (@LeMarquand) July 20, 2014
Celebrities are mourning him, too. Melissa Joan Heart shared the following Instagram with the caption, “RIP James Garner!”
Actor, director, and producer Ron Howard shared the following about James Garner’s death.
RIP James Garner. Admired by all who knew him. When starring in Grand Prix the people around F1 said he had the talent to be a pro driver
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) July 20, 2014
Hollywood has indeed lost a legend and fans have lost a beloved actor. In addition to wife Lois, James Garner leaves behind a daughter named Gigi and a stepdaughter named Kimberly, as well as other family members and friends.
Image via Wikimedia Commons