This past weekend, the acting community lost another great one.
James Garner played a variety of roles during his career—moving easily from television to film and back again as time rolled along—but this picture shows him in my favorite role, that of Jim Rockford. That cheeky grin and his sardonic attitude entertained me for a long time.
At some point during my childhood, spurred on by my enjoyment of the Rockford Files, I started watching Maverick reruns, and found yet another reason to enjoy Garner’s work.
Like many people, I was drawn in by Garner’s easy charm. He wasn’t your typical leading man, smooth and polished, but he definitely still had rugged good looks and that elusive “star quality”. For myself, it probably didn’t hurt that I always thought he looked a lot like my daddy. I mean, not “looked like” in the sense that people confused my dad for Garner or anything, just that they shared a similar stature and had that same sort of outdoorsy, man’s man type of a persona.
And, to top it all off, he’s from my home town. Garner hailed from my very own Norman, OK, and like most people, I really enjoy seeing a hometown boy make good, even if that good got made long before I was alive. It’s like sharing a little something with a stranger you’ll never meet, and it’s kind of cool. A few years ago, the town put up a statue honoring Garner and his iconic Maverick character; since his passing, its turned into something of a shrine.
It’s a nice tribute to the man, a way of showing that his hometown still loves him, that we’re grateful for what he gave us, and that his talent will be missed.