Today is the 86th birthday of James Garner. For the most part, when left to my own devices, my TV viewing style is very similar to what my grandfather’s must have been in 1978: Rockford Files, Columbo, Quincy ME. But seriously, have you seen the Rockford Files lately? Not only does it show parts of downtown Los Angeles that is completely unrecognizable today, but James Garner is brilliant.
NAME: James Garner
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor
BIRTH DATE: April 07, 1928
EDUCATION: Hollywood High School, University of Oklahoma
PLACE OF BIRTH: Norman, Oklahoma
ORIGINALLY: James Scott Bumgarner
James Garner (born James Scott Bumgarner; April 7, 1928) is an American film and television actor, one of the first Hollywood actors to excel in both media. He has starred in several television series spanning a career of more than five decades. These included his roles as Bret Maverick, in the popular 1950s western-comedy series, Maverick; Jim Rockford, in the popular 1970s detective drama, The Rockford Files; and the father of Katey Sagal‘s character on 8 Simple Rules following the death of John Ritter. He has starred in more than fifty movies, including The Great Escape (1963), Paddy Chayefsky‘s The Americanization of Emily (1964), Blake Edwards’ Victor Victoria (1982), Murphy’s Romance (1985), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, and The Notebook (2004).
Garner is married to Lois Clarke, whom he met at an “Adlai Stevenson for President” rally in 1956. They married 14 days later on August 17, 1956. “We went to dinner every night for 14 nights. I was just absolutely nuts about her. I spent $77 on our honeymoon, and it about broke me.” According to Garner, “Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you’d be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist”.
Garner is a strong Democratic Party supporter, contributing over $7,500 to Democrats running for Federal office the past seven years, including Dennis Kucinich (for Congress in 2002), Richard Gephardt, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, and various Democratic committees and groups. Since 1982 Garner has given at least $29,000 to Federal campaigns, of which over $24,000 has been to the Democrats.