James Garner (born April 7, 1928) is an American actor. Born James Scott Bumgarner in Norman, Oklahoma, he has found fame in both movies and television. At 16, he joined the Merchant Marine. He received a Purple Heart in the Korean War.
In 1954 Garner had a non-speaking role in the Broadway production of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial. He moved on to television commercials, and then to television roles. His first film role was in The Girl He Left Behind, but in the late 1950s he starred in a popular Western series, Maverick, rotating the starring role with Jack Kelly and Roger Moore. But Garner's popularity eventually made him the sole star of the series. He became a favorite of American fans for this role.
In the 1960s he starred in such films as The Thrill of It All, Move Over, Darling, Boys' Night Out, The Great Escape, The Americanization of Emily, Grand Prix (which gave him a car racing bug) and Support Your Local Sheriff!.
In the 1970s he returned to television in another popular role, that of a private investigator in The Rockford Files, for which he received an Emmy for Best Actor. In 1986, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Murphy's Romance.
In 1994, Garner co-starred with Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, in the movie version of his original Maverick role.
On the death of John Ritter, Garner joined the cast of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, as Grandpa Hennessy. Originally intended to be a one-shot guest role, he stayed for the season.