Norman, Oklahoma, United States
Claim to Fame
Bret Maverick / Beau "Pappy" Maverick In Maverick (1957-1962), Sheriff Jim Nichols In Nichols (1971), Jim Rockford On The Rockford Files (1974-1980), Zane Cooper In Maverick (1994).
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Actor/Actress, Producer, Soundtrack
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Profile Bio Text
James Garner (born James Scott Bumgarner; April 7, 1928 – July 19, 2014) was an American film and television actor, one of the first Hollywood actors to excel in both media. He starred in several television series spanning a career of more than five decades which included such popular roles as Bret Maverick in the 1950s western-comedy series, Maverick, and Jim Rockford in the 1970s detective drama, The Rockford Files.
Garner starred in more than 50 films including The Great Escape (1963), Paddy Chayefsky's The Americanization of Emily (1964), Grand Prix (1966), Blake Edwards' Victor Victoria (1982), Murphy's Romance (1985) for which he received an Academy Award nomination, and The Notebook (2004).
Garner, the youngest of three children, was born in Norman, Oklahoma, the son of Mildred Scott (née Meek) and Weldon Warren Bumgarner, a carpet layer. His two older brothers were actor Jack Garner (1926–2011) and Charles Bumgarner, a school administrator who died in 1984. His family was Methodist. His mother, who was of part Cherokee descent, died when he was five years old. After their mother's death, Garner and his brothers were sent to live with relatives. Garner was reunited with his family in 1934, when Weldon remarried.
Garner grew to hate his stepmother, Wilma, who beat all three boys, especially young James. When he was fourteen, Garner finally had enough of his "wicked stepmother" and after a particularly heated battle, she left for good. James' brother Jack commented, "She was a damn no-good woman". Garner stated that his stepmother punished him by forcing him to wear a dress in public and that he finally engaged in a physical fight with her, knocking her down and choking her to keep her from killing him in retaliation. This incident ended the marriage.
Shortly after the breakup of the marriage, Weldon Bumgarner moved to Los Angeles, while Garner and his brothers remained in Norman. After working at several jobs he disliked, at sixteen Garner joined the United States Merchant Marine near the end of World War II. He fared well in the work and with shipmates, but suffered from chronic seasickness. At seventeen, he joined his father in Los Angeles and enrolled at Hollywood High School, where he was voted the most popular student. A high school gym teacher recommended him for a job modeling Jantzen bathing suits. It paid well, $25 an hour, but in his first interview for the Archives of American Television, he said he hated modeling and soon quit and returned to Norman. There, he played football and basketball, as well as competed on the track and golf teams, for Norman High School. He never graduated from high school, explaining in a 1976 Good Housekeeping magazine interview: "I was a terrible student and I never actually graduated from high school, but I got my diploma in the Army."
Later, he joined the National Guard serving seven months in the United States. He then went to Korea for 14 months in the Regular Army, serving in the 5th Regimental Combat Team in the Korean War. He was wounded twice, first in the face and hand from shrapnel fire from a mortar round, and second on April 23, 1951 in the buttocks from friendly fire from U.S. fighter jets as he dove headfirst into a foxhole. Garner was awarded the Purple Heart in Korea for the first injury. For the second wound, he received a second Purple Heart (eligibility requirement: "As the result of friendly fire while actively engaging the enemy"), although Garner received the medal in 1983, 32 years after his injury. Garner was a self-described "scrounger" for his company in Korea, a role he later played in The Great Escape and The Americanization of Emily.
In 1954 a friend, Paul Gregory, whom Garner had met while attending Hollywood High School, persuaded Garner to take a non-speaking role in the Broadway production of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, where he was able to study actor Henry Fonda night after night. Garner subsequently moved to television commercials and eventually to television roles. His first movie appearances were in The Girl He Left Behind and Toward the Unknown in 1956.
He changed his last name from Bumgarner to Garner after the studio had credited him as "James Garner" without permission. He then legally changed it upon the birth of his first child, when he decided she had too many names. His brother Jack also had an acting career and changed his surname to Garner, too. His non-actor brother, Charlie, kept the Bumgarner surname.
Couple Profile Source
Norman High School, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
University Of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, United States (One Semester, Dropped Out)
Full Name at Birth
James Scott Baumgarner
Page Display = 2 (Legacy)
James Garner (born James Scott Bumgarner; April 7, 1928 – July 19, 2014) was an American actor, voice artist, singer, producer, and comedian. He starred in several television series over more than five decades, including such popular roles as Bret Maverick in the 1950s western comedy series Maverick and Jim Rockford in the 1970s detective comedic drama series The Rockford Files, and played leading roles in more than 50 theatrical films, including The Great Escape (1963) with Steve McQueen, Paddy Chayevsky's The Americanization of Emily (1964), Grand Prix (1966), Blake Edwards' Victor Victoria (1982), Murphy's Romance (1985), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, Space Cowboys (2000) with Clint Eastwood, and The Notebook (2004).
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Music Profile Complete
Place of Death
Brentwood, California USA
Cause of Death
Massive Heart Attack (Coronary Artery Disease)
Weldon Warren Bumgarner (A Carpet Layer.)
Mildred Scott (née Meek)
Jack Garner (Sunday September 19, 1926–Tuesday September 13, 2011) (Aged 84) (Actor.), Charles Bumgarner (A School Administrator Who Died In 1984.)
Hollywood High School, Hollywood, California, USA (Dropout)