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James Garner dies, but memory lives on in film, TV, memoir

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Actor James Garner’s death on Saturday, July 19 at the age of 86, was disclosed this weekend. He left behind not only a body of memorable films and television shows, but a recent memoir. The Garner Files, a memoir released in November 2011, followed by the paperback release in October 2012. It is reported that he died of natural causes in his Los Angeles-area home.

Garner was best known for his TV roles as private eye Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files in the 1970s and as Bret Maverick, a gambler in the 1950s western TV series Maverick. He was one of the film industry’s most sought after leading men. His autobiography written with Jon Winokur, still serves as a look behind the scenes of this actor’s life. It should be worth the read and provide many good memories for television and movie fans.

According to publisher Simon & Schuster, The Garner Files is “a wry, engaging self-portrait chronicling the vagaries of a screen career along with the cast of personal and professional characters that helped shape a great American life.”

For around 60 years, Garner worked with top actors, including Julie Andrews, Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen. Among the stories in his book, he writes about breaking Doris Day’s ribs, having a “heart-to-heart and eyeball-to-eyeball” with Steve McQueen and many other Hollywood tales in addition to his personal life stories.

Among his films were The Great Escape, Victor/Victoria and most recently The Notebook. The actor, born in Depression-era Oklahoma, left home at the age of 14.

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