Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western “Maverick” led to a stellar career in TV and films such as “The Rockford Files” and his Oscar-nominated “Murphy's Romance,” has died, police said. He was 86.I am a longtime fan of Garner’s film and TV performances, and had the privilege of interviewing him, via e-mail, back in 2011, following the publication of his memoir, The Garner Files. Within the last year, I added to my collection of Garner DVD sets the releases of Nichols (his 1971-1972 TV series) and Bret Maverick (his 1981-1982 TV revival of the character he played in the classic Western series Maverick), and have been working my way delightfully through their episodes. Naturally, I own all of The Rockford Files.
He was found dead of natural causes Saturday evening at his home in Brentwood, Los Angeles police officer Alonzo Iniquez said early Sunday.
Police responded to a call around 8 p.m. and confirmed Garner's identity from family members, Iniquez told The Associated Press.
There was no immediate word on a more specific cause of death. Garner had suffered a stroke in May 2008, just weeks after his 80th birthday.
I will likely have more to say about Garner (born James Scott Bumgarner) as the day wears on and the news sinks in, but this short post will have to suffice for now.
READ MORE: “Rockford Files Star Garner Dies at 86 (Report),” by Mike Barnes and Duane Byrge (The Hollywood Reporter); “James Garner Dies at 86,” by Bill Koenig (The HMSS Weblog).