Actor. Born James Scott Bumgarner, on April 7, 1928, in Norman, Oklahoma. A Purple Heart recipient for being wounded in action during the Korea War, Garner began his show business career with a non-speaking role in the Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (1954).
After costarring in several films in 1956, Garner landed the role of Bret Maverick on the popular TV Western series Maverick (1957), where he remained until 1960. Through the 1960s, Garner made several successful films, including The Thrill of it All (1963), Move Over, Darling (1963), The Americanization of Emily (1964), and Grand Prix (1966), before returning to television with the series Nichols in 1971.
In 1974, Garner played private investigator Jim Rockford on the successful television drama The Rockford Files, for which he was nominated for the Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy in 1976 and won in 1977. In a failed attempt to re-establish his film career, Garner starred in a number of forgettable films, including Health (1979) and Tank (1983). However, his effervescent performance opposite Sally Field in Murphy's Romance (1985) earned Garner a Best Actor Oscar nomination.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Garner offered commendable performances in the powerful TV movies Promise (1986); My Name is Bill W (1989), which documented the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous; and Barbarians at the Gate (1993). In 1994, Garner reprised the role of Jim Rockford for a series of highly acclaimed television features. Later that same year he played Zane Cooper in the modern day film version of Maverick, which starred Mel Gibson in the title role.
Most recently, Garner voiced the character of God in the short-lived NBC animated series God, the Devil and Bob and played a recurring role on the CBS medical drama Chicago Hope. He also returned to film in 2002 with the role of a loving, if co-dependent, father and husband in the box-office hit Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
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