James Garner - Norman, Oklahoma (1928-2014)

Norman native, James Garner passed away on July 19, in his home in Los Angeles at the age of 86.  James Scott Bumgarner was born in Norman where his father owned a store, where he worked until starting school. Jim left school at fourteen and at sixteen joined the Merchant Marines. He returned to high school before joining the National Guard. During the Korean War, Jim earned two Purple Hearts. After discharge, he briefly attended the University of Oklahoma. Jim moved to California where an old friend who had become an agent invited him to try acting. In 1955 Warner Bros. gave him a contract that led to a role as Marlon Brando's sidekick in "Sayonara" (1957) and eventually the title role on TV's Maverick. The Western comedy series made him a star. He starred in "Up Periscope" (1959) and "Cash McCall" (1960) for Warner Bros. Jim chose a role in "The Children's Hour" (1961) before playing Hendley in "The Great Escape" (1963). "The Americanization of Emily" (1964) provided him with one of his best roles. Jim returned to Westerns with "Duel at Diablo" (1966) and "Support Your Local Sheriff!" (1969). Jim returned to television in "The Rockford Files" (1974-1980), earning an Emmy in 1977. During the 1980s he scored big screen success in Blake Edwards' comedy "Victor Victoria" (1982) and an Oscar nomination for "Murphy's Romance" (1985). Jim passed his Maverick role to Mel Gibson in the 1994 film comedy. Parts in "Space Cowboys" (2000) and "The Notebook" (2004) followed, and he received the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.