I woke up way too early this morning, checked the Tweeter Tube, and groaned audibly when I saw that the great James Garner had died at the age of 86.
Garner made everything look easy. He was an actor with formidable chops but he never tried too hard and never chewed the scenery. Most of all, he was likable, both on and off the screen.
We all loved him in The Rockford Files with his oddball friends, cheesy trailer, and hot muscle car. I'm glad that Jim Rockford's exploits live on in syndication, captivating new generations with his raffish charm.
Jim Garner was one of the few actors of his generation who made the transition from teevee star to movie star and back again. It's pretty common now but Garner was a trailblazer. He also made some damn fine movies from The Great Escape to The Americanization of Emily to Space Cowboys to my personal favorite, Skin Game.
Since this is primarily a political blog, I ought to mention Garner's status as a self described "hemophiliac liberal," a line that I've used many times over the years. I always give him credit too, and I'm usually eager to steal other people's one liners.
I'm obviously a huge James Garner fan. I'm not the only one who feels as if they've lost an old friend this morning. He will be missed.
Finally, here's Garner in a scene from Paddy Chayefsky's brilliant anti-war drama The Americanization of Emily: