James Garner, the Emmy and Golden Globe award winning actor best known for his role on the long-running drama series The Rockford Files, has died aged 86. The actor, who had suffered a stroke in 2008, reportedly died of natural causes yesterday at his Los Angeles home.
James Garner was born the youngest of three children in Norman, Oklahoma. After joining the National Guard and serving seven months in the United States, he was deployed with the army to Korea. Garner was awarded two Purple Hearts for his service in Korea.
James Garner's many film and television credits over his five decade career include the 2004 film The Notebook, the 1963 World War Two classic The Great Escape, and the 1950s Western TV series Maverick. He won two Golden Globe awards in the nineties for TV movies Barbarians at the Gate and Decoration Day, and a Primetime Emmy Award for his role as Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files.
James Garner joined the cast of 8 Simple Rules in 2003, after the death of its star John Ritter. Garner played Jim Egan, father of Katey Sagal's Kate Hennessy, who came to live with his daughter and family as they recovered from the loss of their father. Garner remained with the show through to its cancellation in 2005.
In 2004, James Garner received the Screen Actors Guild lifetime achievement award in recognition of his long and illustrious career. In 2006, a 10-foot-tall statue of Garner as Bret Maverick, his iconic character in Maverick, was unveiled in Garner's hometeown.
James Garner is survived by his wife, Lois Clarke, whom he married in 1956, his daughter Greta "Gigi" Garner, and an adopted daughter, Kimberly, from Clarke's first marriage.