Best Known For
James Garner is an actor known for his lead role in the TV show Maverick and for films such as Murphy’s Romance and Decoration Day.
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Despite this success, the decade also presented major challenges: Garner underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery around the same time.
James Garner continued his acting career well into the 2000s, signing for a major role on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules after the untimely death of its original male lead, John Ritter. Garner took a supporting role in the film Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002), and played a husband whose wife is sick with Alzheimer's in 2004's The Notebook. That same year, Garner was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Best Supporting Actor Award, and awarded the SAG Life Achievement Award. According to SAG President Melissa Gilbert, Garner "is a man who has served his peers, his community and his country with integrity and quiet generosity. He epitomizes class, style, wit, and depth. He serves as a role model for all of America's actors."
Garner's career has been one of the longest in Hollywood, and his marriage has lasted nearly as long. Garner met his future wife, Lois Clarke, at a rally for presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson on August 17, 1956; it was a case of love at first sight as the pair married a mere 14 days later. Garner adopted Clarke's daughter from her previous marriage, a then-nine-year-old named Kimberly. Garner and Clarke also have a daughter of their own, Greta (known as Gigi), born in 1958.
Despite suffering a stroke in 2008, James Garner has remained relatively healthy and remains one of the most liked and best-respected actors in the history of television. Perhaps his success has had something to do with his insistence on viewing acting as a job, rather than pursuing celebrity for its own sake. He nearly declined the SAG Life Achievement Award, making the excuse that he disliked public speaking: "It scares the devil out of me." When he finally accepted, he said of his speech, "Well, this will be shorter than others." True of his speech, perhaps—but, fortunately for fans, certainly not true of his career.
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