R.I.P James Garner - Five performances to remember him by...
The film and TV world lost a legend over the weekend when James Garner passed away at the age of 86. His acting career began and 1956 and spanned 54 years, with a slew of appearances in classic films and iconic TV shows.
To remember and celebrate him, we’ve rounded up his five best performances…
Probably Garner’s most-iconic performance, this series lasted for five years and saw Garner take the mantle of Bret Maverick 60 times in all. In this show he, along with brother Bart (played by Jack Kelly) went from town to town, gambling with the best of them and generally taking all their money. Dapper and witty, it’s a total classic of its time.
The Great Escape
Over 50 years after its original release, this stills remains a badass action thriller. Starring alongside Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough and Charles Bronson, this follows a group of soldiers who hatch a plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II. Garner plays Flight Lieutenant Hendley, best known as ‘the scrounger’, the gang’s ultimate badass. Fittingly, Garner had served in a similar role in the Korean War.
The Rockford Files
If Maverick is Garner’s most iconic role, this is the one he’s best known for. In this show, which ran for six years and six series, Garner played Private Detective Jim Rockford, former criminal turned famously easy going private detective. He doesn’t work very hard and doesn’t like fighting, yet he seems to end up doing both quite a lot. The show only ended when it did because Garner, who insisted on doing his own stunts, was picking up too many injuries and his doctor told him he had to stop.
This earned Garner an Oscar nomination for his turn as Murphy Jones, the pharmacist in a small town in Arizona who sparks up a strange relationship with a divorced woman and her young son. Proving that Garner could do low-key, witty comedy as well as he could be a romantic leading man and badass action hero, this is still laugh out loud funny.
The Notebook (minor spoilers within…)
From the way this film is written about you’d think it was Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams two-hander, but there some incredible supporting performances in this romantic comedy too, including one from James Garner. Garner plays Noah (Gosling’s character) as a much-older man, who sits determinedly by his wife, reflecting the love and bond that you see grow in the main body of this film itself. He’s not on screen for long, but when he is, he lights it up.