The 'Maverick' Bids farewell
by Elizabeth Menon

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The 'Maverick' Bids farewell

(With his wife Lois Garner)

I am so sad to hear the demise of James Garner, the most popular American Film and Television actor who died at home in Los Angeles on Saturday, at the age of 86 (7 April1928 -19 July 2014) He was 'Bret Maverick or Jim Rockford' to many people who followed his great performance in the TV series, 'Maverick' and 'The Rockford' Files'! He was such a great actor who made it look so simple in all his roles that people didn't take his acting seriously sometimes! He also had supporting roles in 'The Great Escape' – as a military “scrounger”. I remember him mostly in the great film 'Space Cowboys' in 2000 with the greatest of all, Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland; 'Rockford Files and the 'Maverick', and of course, in the film version of 'Maverick' with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster; 'Victor Victoria' with Julie Andrews in 1982; 'My Fellow Americans in1996 with Jack Lemmon; The Notebook' in 2004, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams; 'Sunset' in 1988 with Bruce Willis and in the Motor racing film, 'Grand Prix' made in 1966.

He starred in such films as The Children's Hour (1962) with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLain; 'Boy's Night out' in 1962 with Kim Novak,'The Thrill of it All' and 'Move Over Darling' with Doris Day in 1963; 'The Great Escape in 1963 with Steve McQueen; 'The Americanization of Emily in 1964 and 'Victor Victoria' in 1982 with Julie Andrews; 'The Art of Love in 1965 with Dick Van Dyke; 'Duel at Diablo' in 1966 with Sidney Poitier and as Wyatt Earp in Hour of the gun in 1967; 'My Fellow Americans in1996, alongside Jack Lemmon; and 'The Notebook' in 2004, 'The Great Escape' in 1963, the ever time hit War film, Garner played the second lead with Steve McQueen among a cast of British and American screen veterans including Gordon Jackson, Donald Pleasance, Richard Attenbourough, Charles Bronson and James Coburn. This film was released in the same month as 'The Thrill of it All' and both films were at the box office at the same time in 1963!

He had won the Emmy thrice, including the one for the most promising newcomer in 1958, and had 18 nominations for Emmy, Screen Actor Guild and one Oscar nomination for the 1985 romantic comedy 'Murphy's Romance', in which he played a small-town druggist opposite Sally Field. He won four 'Golden Globe awards' and had eleven nominations, including the one for the TV film, 'Heart Sounds' with Mary Tyler Moore. In 2005 he received a 'Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award' and was bestowed with many awards including a place in the 'Hollywood’s Walk of Fame! He was taken up with car racing after acting in the film 'Grand Prix' and he owned the "American International Racers" (AIR) 'Auto Racing team' from 1967 to 1969. He was also a great enthusiast of Golf and Football! It was quite a poignant occasion when a 10' Bronze Statue of the 'Maverick' was unveiled in his hometown in Norman in Oklahoma on 21 April 2006, to honour its famous son! The statue stands in James Garner Plaza in James Garner Avenue and a portion of Main Street has been officially designated the 'James Garner Corridor'!

During an interview he joked, "Marriage is like the Army, everyone complains, but you'd be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist"! And when asked about being a 'Super Star', he said that all he wanted to do was to act in films and 'Superstardom' didn't come into it! He has been happily married to Lois Clarke since 17 August 1957 and he is survived by Lois and their daughter Gigi Garner and the adopted daughter, Kimberley. Just the mention of his name always brought a smile to everyone's lips, remembering his lopsided infectious smile! James Garner had the charm and charisma and that smile will always be remembered! May his soul Rest In Peace!


© E Menon



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