This fella was THE SH'it', in my household growing up. He also centers around my first confusion (that I can remember).. so.. would have had to happen around or before my parents divorce at age 4 (I didn't understand that either... THAT's too MUCH confusion for ANY kid...) ANY time either James Garner or Lee Majors would grace the television screen.. my mom would proclaim, 'whatta HUNK!'  This always confused me & I'd reply... 'a HUNK of what??'  Thinking that a HUNK meant, a measure of something.. Her reply was... 'a HUNK of MAN!!'... I'd always follow with the question - 'you mean he's not a WHOLE man???' To which she'd then say ...'YEZZ..OK go play..' It really bothered me... this answer she gave. I'd look 'hunk' up in Webster's - and just as I'd imagine, it said 'a piece of an object.' Then, before I knew it - Lee Majors would come up on the screen.. my mom?  She'd say thee same thing! 'Whautta HUNK!' To which I'd ask.. 'which was her favorite?' - 'I dunno.. they're both HUNKS!' said she. Keep in mind I was only 3 or 4. Truth be told - I probably drove my mom AND DAD ...nuts with all my ?s. I KNOW I drove my teachers nuts with my questions.. I had LOTS! Wasn't till I was a little older that James Garner became a centerpiece with me... when the film 'Murphy's Romance' hit theaters. James Garner became the 'IT' for me as well! IMO - he could be a legend - if just  but for that film alone. I lost count of the VHS tapes I went through watching that film. Sally Field and Corey Haim (R.I.P.) added to the cast.. well, the chemistry was pure magic!! 
​​
James Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner on April 7, 1928, in Norman, Oklahoma. The youngest of 3 sibs - James had the marks for all to see that he'd be 'something.' They have a statue honoring James in Norman, saying 'howdyto visitors.. His mom died when he was just 5 and young James and his brothers were sent to live with relatives here... as it was felt by his family that kids needed a woman in the house. James' father re-married when he was 9, thus, James and his brothers were sent back to live with their dad and new stepmom. It was a nightmare for the kids.. who got beat regularly by their new stepmom. Later James would recall her as 'a damn no-good woman. PERIOD!" Her abuse was a bit worse with James as he recalled she'd punish him by forcing him to wear dresses in public. Things came to a head when James was 14.  After a heated argument-turned-physical  between James and step-bitch... James knocked her down and began to choke her. This fight ultimately ended years of abuse of James and his brothers... Most of which his father was unaware of.  James' dad sent her a-packin and **no doubt James made sure the door hit the bitches ass as she fled. **Just saying, I would..


After the marriage had ended - James father moved to Los Angeles.. again leaving James and his brothers again with family until he could get established.  His father..wanting to make a freshy start for his boys and he. As James' father was prepping a place for them in L.A... James went thru a series of jobs he disliked (3 in less than a month). The end of WWII was nearing and so James gave the Marines a shoot.  He was 16, thus limited on what he was allowed to do, but rather liked the sense of comradery the Marines provided. 

When the war ended, James joined his father & brother in Los Angeles.. where they lived in this modest home. 

 

He attended Hollywood High, and seemed to excel. He was voted most popular by classmates - and even teachers dug James! One teacher recommended James to modeling bathing suits. The pay was great... $25 smackers an hour... so he did. Later he would recount in an interview that he hated it! Seeing he was headed down a road, he did not like - he finished the job and moved baaack to Norman, Oklahoma. Lived with relatives there. He enjoyed high school sports, but quickly realized that school in general was his whole problem and quit. 

He moved baaaack to Cali... and went to the one bit of solace he found as a teen... the military. He enlisted in the Army. The Korean War was in full swing and James was swung to Korea.  During the battle... James was injured twice and received 2 Purple Hearts.  One of the Purple Hearts would take 32 years to be issued... but 2 - nonetheless!  He served with fellow legend, Tom Selleck!!  After the war, James found himself back at dads and re-connected with an old friend he'd had at Hollywood high... Who persuaded him to take a non-speaking role in a Broadway re-production... which co-starred Peter Fonda (whom, at the time, was James favorite actor..) so he accepted. {hell yeah!} The experience allowed James to study Fonda each day on-set.  Friend Robert Osborne said of this time... 'Fonda's gentle, sincere, persona rubbed off on James & worked greatly to his benefit.'  James became a great friend of the 'Fonda' family... In Peter Fonda's biography it's mentioned that after Henry Fonda's funeral:  "James Garner and his wife Lois stopped by the Fonda family’s estate to pay their respects. While Lois stayed with Shirlee, Garner wandered into the gatehouse to visit Peter and both men lit up a joint.  Right on!

 

James was a very vocal pot smoker!!  Of it - he said.. '"Grass is smooth.  I smoked marijuana for 50 years.  I don't know where I'd be without it.  It opened my mind to a lot of things, and now it's active ingredient, THC, relaxes me and eases my arthritis pain."  In 1988 he had quintuple bypass surgery and in 1998 he nearly lost a leg but had emergency surgery to unblock an artery.  He suffered a stroke in 2008.  According to the tabs, Garner was bedridden suffering from dementia and arthritis. 

After production with Fonda wrapped.. James thought he'd try his hand at commercials... Which he has stated 'is where he first realized he could do any role asked of him.' According to his autobio - he began to audition for television shows, & was considered for the lead in the first Warner Bros. western series, Cheyenne.' The part ultimately went to Clint Walker however, due to the director claiming hr couldn't reach James. James did star in the pilot for the series however as an Army officer. It was only a matter of time until James was chosen for the lead role in 'Maverick.' The show made James a household name almost overnight - & eventually came - a movie!!  . In the first ep of Maverick, James was wrongly credited as 'James Garner.' He liked it though, and so it stuck. Later, James would legally change his name... which we now have Jennifer Garner as a tribute to!

 

Eyyyyyyssshhh!!  James widda beard??

A very impressive resume was to follow. Garner was in almost every scene, of every episode of, The Rockford Files - and it earned him $100,000.00 per episode...  As for them 'Rockford Files'... THIS comes from my budro, Scott @ FindADeath.com; The location for Jim Rockford's trailer in the show was eventually the parking lot of the restaurant Paradise Cove in Malibu.  If you haven't yet, go.  It's not that expensive, it's casual and after lunch or dinner you can kick off your shoes and walk along about a mile of beautiful coastline and spit at Barbra Streisand's house. VERY COOL stuff!!  I'm there!!  If not for the food?? Then MOST DEFINITELY for the HOCK at Streisand's home!!  

When his close friend Paul Newman died in 2008 he was reportedly devastated... 

 

Garner was once asked if he would do a horror movie?  "I don't do nude scenes," was his reply.😂

 

He once lived here, upon a ranch that he sold in 2000 for $8.75 million!!  Twas 8,000-square-foot.. The main house was commissioned by Garner in the 1990s and designed by architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen, known for his use of pyramid and prism shapes. There are five bedrooms, seven full bathrooms and two half-baths. The property boasts a 25-acre vineyard, a shooting range, a stocked pond, equestrian facilities and miles of hiking and riding trails.  He was very private with his personal life, however -

He had been in poor health since a severe stroke in 2008.. But would be spotted out & about now & again!! Rawwwrrr!! 

 

Saturday evening, July 19, 2014, police and rescue personnel were summoned to Garner's Los Angeles home, at 33 Oakmont Drive,  through these gates - where they found James dead, at the age of 86.  Cause of death according to his death certificate was a massive heart attack caused by coronary artery disease.  

Longtime friends Tom Selleck, Sally Field, and Clint Eastwood, weighed in on his death. Tom said, "Jim was a mentor to me and a friend, and I will miss him." Mary Poppins said, "My heart just broke. There are few people on this planet I have adored as much as Jimmy Garner. I cherish every moment I spent with him and relive them over and over in my head. He was a diamond."  Eastwood, CLINT Eastwood said, "Garner opened the door for people like Steve McQueen and myself."  Being that Clint has been at it as long as James - NO DOUBT, he was just being nice, FoSho!!

RIP James!!  Your contributions to the entertainment industry - WERE INSURMOUNTABLE, MONUMENTAL, & TRULY LEGENDARY!!   

 

You may visit his grave, leave your non-wilting virtual flower(s), & a comment here..

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