James Garner has starred in about 50 films and has had a successful acting career. However, he doesn’t like the star traps and puts his family out of the limelight. Find out what kind of father he was.
American actor and producer James Garner is known for starring in the television series “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files”. He also starred in many films, including “The Notebook.”
Although James is a huge Hollywood star, he and his wife have elevated their family out of the limelight. The actor’s daughter also talks about how wonderful the father is in her life.
American actor James Garner on set. [Left] | James Garner and his daughter Gigi laugh as they hug in a photo. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images
James was born in Norman, Oklahoma, on April 7, 1928. He was born during the Great Depression and endured a difficult childhood marked by hardships.
The youngest of three sons, James lost his mother, Mildred Bumgarner, when he was 4 years old. His father, Weldon Warren Bumgarner, eventually left him and his brothers, Charles and Jack, in the care of relatives.
When Weldon married a few years later, his sons were reunited with him. However, they do not live a happy life at home when they are physically and verbally abused by their stepmother. Weldon ended up divorcing her.
A portrait of American actor James Garner, January 4, 1967. | Photo: Getty Images
Weldon moved to Los Angeles, but James remained in Oklahoma and soon dropped out of school. When he was 16, he lied about his age so he could join the Merchant Marine in the final year of World War II.
Then he decided to live with his father in California. There, he attended Hollywood High School but did not complete his studies because he had dropped out of his classes to work as a model at the Jantzen bathing suit.
James Garner as Sheriff Jim Nichols in 1971’s “Nichols”. | Photo: Getty Images
Although he made $25 an hour for the job, it didn’t last long. In 1950, he became the first Oklahoman to enlist in the United States Army during the Korean War.
He suffered battlefield injuries during the war and earned a Purple Heart for his service before returning home. James never finished school but still got a GED.
Gigi is determined to keep her father’s legacy alive and show fans who he really is.
James Garner at the 39th Emmy Awards. | Image: Wikimedia Commons
James got into acting after a friend of his, a talent agent, lured him in for a small role as a judge in the Broadway play “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial”.
He didn’t do much of the production but learned from the film’s lead actor, Henry Fonda. That experience helped him realize what it takes to become an actor.
After that role, he received a film contract from Warner Bros. in 1956. James saw acting as a way of making a living rather than a dream come true. This approach was very beneficial as he got some supporting roles in the movies.
James Garner on February 5, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images
His career finally started when he took on the lead role in the western drama series “Maverick”, in which he played the role of Bret Maverick. He starred in the series from 1957 to 1960.
From 1974-1980, James rose to fame playing Jim Rockford, a private detective, in the television series “The Rockford Files”.
He also starred in hit films such as “The Great Escape,” “Grand Prix,” and “Victor Victoria.” He received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in “Murphy’s Romance”, and won a Golden Globe Award for “Decorated Day”.
James Garner at Walt Disney Studios on October 31, 2005 in Burbank, California. | Photo: Getty Images
James was only married once in his life to Lois Fleischman Clarke. They first met while hanging out by the pool at a friend’s barbecue and marry 14 days later.
It was lightning love for James, who made Clarke swoon because she was gorgeous. He wasted no time and asked her out to dinner.
That night, they hung out and did so every night after that for two weeks until their Beverly Hills courthouse wedding on August 17, 1956.
Not everyone agrees with the marriage. James’s family objected to it because they felt he and Clarke were different. He is Methodist, born and raised in Oklahoma while she is Jewish, a lifelong Los Angeleno.
However, James felt that neither he nor Clarke were of that religion. Therefore, his family’s concerns are not an issue for him and his wife.
He noted that opponents never took the time to see that he and Clarke complement each other. The couple views things that people oppose as strengths and weaknesses.
American actor James Garner and his wife Lois Clarke, January 1, 1964. | Photo: Getty Images
James’s marriage to Clarke was his first, but before that she was married and had a daughter named Kim, whom he adopted. The couple also welcomed their daughter, Greta “Gigi” Garner, who was born on January 4, 1958.
James and Clarke’s marriage lasted for 57 years until his death in 2014. Although a long-term union, the marriage was put to the test when the couple separated for 3 months. in 1970. They separated again for 18 months in 1979.
James Garner and his wife Lois Clarke at an event. | Photo: Youtube.com/AssociatedPress
Around that time, it was rumored that James was in a relationship with actress Lauren Bacall, who appeared twice as a guest star on “The Rockford Files”.
However, he strongly denied those claims. James explained that he lived alone during those times mainly because of the pressure of starring in “Rockford” and needed some space to mingle.
James Garner in a 1959 family portrait. | Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
James and Clarke raised their family to prominence in Brentwood, California, at a time when it was still considered the rural outpost of Los Angeles. The actor does not like publicity and tries to keep it private.
James has a close relationship with his daughter, Gigi, and stepdaughter, Kim. In a conversation with Closer Weekly, Gigi description Her father:
“I actually hit the jackpot with my dad. He’s the kind of dad who gets on the floor and plays with you. He’s very present. The greatest dad in the world.”
James Garner in a 1961 family portrait. | Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
James has been invested a lot in being a good husband and father. Despite having an alcoholic father and being abused by one of his stepmothers, he didn’t continue that cycle. Gigi speak:
“People who had an abusive childhood like my father often continued the cycle. My dad stopped the cycle and he tried to give us everything he never had.”
Gigi, a published author, artist and philanthropist describes her father as a stay-at-home person who is very happy to be at home with his wife and children and spending time with them.
Despite those qualities, James’ difficult upbringing made him prone to depression and anxiety. Leslie H. Martinson, director of “Maverick,” revealed James would turn around and very quietly rush out and bang his hand against a wall or board.
However, Gigi said her father tried not to bring his troubles home. She revealed that he never goes around to complain but always solves things quietly.
“To me, he’s just my dad. He’s not perfect – like no other – but he’s been a great dad and we’ve always been very close.”
Actor James Garner poses for a portrait in 2004 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images
Gigi is determined to keep her father’s legacy alive and let her fans know who he really is through her social media platforms. She said she wanted people to know her father as a caring, loving, kind and generous person, not just some TV or movie character.
Gigi insists that her father is not like the characters he plays on television. She explains that there are many sides to his personality, and he Yes a different mindset and went about things differently, even in Hollywood.
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