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James Scott Bumgarner
Best known as "James Garner"
Apr 7, 1928 - Jul 19, 2014
Posted by Jo Aguirre
 


James Garner in 1959


James Garner in 1987

 

James Scott Bumgarner, known as James Garner to his millions of TV and Movie fans, was born April 7, 1928 in Norman Oklahoma to Mildred Scott Meek Bumgarner and Weldon Warren Bumgarner.  He was the youngest of their three sons.  James passed away at his home in Los Angeles on July 19, 2014 at the age of 86  from acute myocardial infarction.
His mother died when he was 5 years old and the boys were sent to live with relatives until their father remarried in 1934. His father divorced and moved to California when he was 14, but the boys remained in Norman.  James joined the Merchant Marines at the age of 16, but soon found out he suffered from chronic seasickness. 
 
At the age of 17, he joined his father in California and enrolled in Hollywood High School.  He was recommended for a job modeling bathing suits earning $ 25. an hour.  He declined the modeling position and moved back to Oklahoma enrolling in Norman High School.  He played football, basketball and also competed in track and golf.  He did not graduate from high school there, but did get his diploma while he was in the Army.
 
He joined the National Guard and served 7 months in the states.  He also served in the U S Army in Korea for 14 months serving in the 5th Regimental Combat Team during the Korean War.  He was wounded twice and received Purple Hearts for both injuries.  He was a self described scrounger, a role he later played in two of his movies.
 
After making his film debut in 1956, he appeared in movies and T V roles until 2005.  He was possibly best known in his TV roles as Bret Maverick in the 1950's and Jim Rockford in the 70's series The Rockford Files.  He starred in more than 50 movies in his career and for his contribution to the movie and TV industry, he  received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 1990. The same year, he was also inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In 2005, he received the Screen Actor's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also nominated in 2005, for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for The Notebook.

In 2010, he received the annual Career Achievement award from the Television Critics Association.   He also had an autobiography published in 2011, The Garner Files: A Memoir.

On April 21, 2006, the city of Norman erected a ten foot tall bronze statue in his honor showing him as Bret Maverick. He was present for the ceremony. He was a proud supporter of the O U Sooners and frequently returned for school functions.  When he was there, he could be seen on the sidelines or in the press box. 
 
James was married to Lois Josephine Fleischman Clarke on August 17, 1956 after a 14 day courtship.  She had a 7 year old daughter, Kim,  from a previous marriage.  They had a daughter, Greta "Gigi" Garner.  He passed away a month before their 58th anniversary.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers: Actor, Jack Garner in 2011 and school administrator, Charles Bumgarner in 1984. 
 
rewritten due to copyright -  source Wikipedia.  Can we use photos from there too?  I was thinking we can as long as we show it since it is a public site. 

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