James Garner

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, James Garner (1928-2014) discusses his early life and what attracted him to acting. He describes his days as a struggling actor/model, and tells of his big break on Broadway in "The Cain Mutiny." He recalls almost being cast in the series Cheyenne and being cast as "Bret Maverick" in the classic western series Maverick. He details his years on the program, discussing his co-stars and various writers and directors and explains the contract dispute that lead to his exit from the series. Garner also outlines his career in feature films, including "The Americanization of Emily" and "Gran Prix" and his short-lived series, Nichols. He discusses at length playing "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files, speaks of his subsequent made-for-television movies, including Heartsounds (with Mary Tyler Moore), and the 13-hour mini-series Space. Garner also touches on the short-lived series, Man of the People. Karen Herman and Morrie Gelman conducted the interview on March 17, 1999 in Los Angeles, CA.

"'Maverick,' he didn't want to fight. He'd rather smile and laugh. He was the reluctant hero... Yeah, I'm a maverick. Always have been."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
James Garner on "Maverick" as the anti-hero
James Garner on the character of "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files
James Garner on studio politics and The Rockford Files
James Garner on doing a Winston cigarettes commercial  
James Garner on leaving Maverick
James Garner on his popular Polaroid commercials
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years; on moving to Los Angeles; on his military service
On becoming an actor; on appearing in the play "The Caine Mutiny"; on almost getting cast in Cheyenne

Chapter 2

On doing a Winston cigarettes commercial; on his acting style; on the studio system and appearing in the film "Sayonara"
On playing the character of "Bret Maverick" on Maverick; on Jack Kelly as "Bart Maverick" on Maverick; on the writers and producers and public reaction to the show

Chapter 3

On specific episodes of Maverick; on being type-cast as "Maverick"; on leaving the show
On acting in the feature films "The Americanization of Emily" and "Gran Prix"; on acting in the series Nichols

Chapter 4

On the creation of The Rockford Files and his character, "Jim Rockford"; on the process of producing an episode of The Rockford Files; on the cast and guest stars on the show
On The Rockford Files directors; on how studio politics affected the show; on his Polaroid commercials; on the end of The Rockford Files

Chapter 5

On the made-for television movie The New Maverick; on favorite episodes of The Rockford Files and on Bret Maverick; on various made-for-television movies; on his NBC series Man of the People
On the made-for-television movie Barbarians at the Gate; on the feature film "Maverick"; on then-current projects; on how he'd like to be remembered; on various people with whom he has worked

Chapter 6

On various people with whom he's worked in his career; on meeting his wife; on the Archive of American Television
Shows

Barbarians at the Gate

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James Garner on the made-for-television movie Barbarians at the Gate

Bret Maverick

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James Garner on the series Bret Maverick

Cheyenne

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James Garner on almost being cast in the title role of Cheyenne
James Garner on appearing on the series Cheyenne

Heartsounds

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James Garner on he made-for-television movie Heartsounds

Maverick

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James Garner on starring on the series Maverick
James Garner on his character, "Bret Maverick," on Maverick
James Garner on the sponsor of Maverick
James Garner on the pilot of Maverick, and how Jack Kelly came to be cast as "Bart Maverick"
James Garner on the typical Maverick workweek
James Garner on public reaction to Maverick and his fame
James Garner on the directing and writing of Maverick
James Garner on being typecast as "Bret Maverick" and the power of television
James Garner on "Maverick" as the anti-hero
James Garner on the Maverick episode "A Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" (airdate: November 23, 1958)
James Garner on the Maverick episode "Gun-Shy" (airdate: January 11, 1959), a spoof of Gunsmoke
James Garner on leaving Maverick
James Garner on returning to the role of "Bret Maverick" in the feature film "Maverick"

Nichols

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James Garner on acting on the series Nichols

Rockford Files, The

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James Garner on the creation of The Rockford Files
James Garner on Stephen J. Cannell and the writers of The Rockford Files
James Garner on the character of "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files
James Garner on The Rockford Files' supporting characters
James Garner on the process of producing an episode of The Rockford Files
James Garner on the cast and guest stars on The Rockford Files
James Garner on the directors of The Rockford Files
James Garner on a typical episode of The Rockford Files
James Garner on studio politics and The Rockford Files
James Garner on the end of The Rockford Files
James Garner on remembering the people he worked with more than specific episodes of The Rockford Files

Space

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James Garner on appearing in the miniseries Space
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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James Garner on his character, "Bret Maverick," on Maverick
James Garner on "Maverick" as the anti-hero
James Garner on the character of "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files

Fame and Celebrity

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James Garner on public reaction to Maverick and his fame
James Garner on his feelings about the press and doing interviews

Historic Events and Social Change

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James Garner on his family and World War II
James Garner on serving in the Korean War

Korean War

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James Garner on serving in the Korean War

Pop Culture

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James Garner on his character, "Bret Maverick," on Maverick
James Garner on "Maverick" as the anti-hero
James Garner on the character of "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files
James Garner on his feelings about the press and doing interviews

Television Industry

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James Garner on public reaction to Maverick and his fame

War

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James Garner on his family and World War II
James Garner on serving in the Korean War

World War II

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James Garner on his family and World War II
Professions

Actor

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James Garner on becoming an actor
James Garner on stage acting verses television acting

Performers

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James Garner on becoming an actor
James Garner on stage acting verses television acting
Genres

Commercials

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James Garner on his popular Polaroid commercials

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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James Garner on playing "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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James Garner on Heartsounds and the miniseries Space
James Garner on the made-for-television movie Barbarians at the Gate

Western Series

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James Garner on almost being cast in the title role of Cheyenne
James Garner on starring on the series Maverick
James Garner on acting on the series Maverick
James Garner on acting on the series Nichols
People

James T. Aubrey

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - James T. Aubrey

Lauren Bacall

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Lauren Bacall

Richard Bare

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James Garner on almost being cast in the title role of Cheyenne

Paul Bogart

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Paul Bogart

Marlon Brando

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James Garner on appearing in the feature film "Sayonara" 

Stephen J. Cannell

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James Garner on the creation of The Rockford Files
James Garner on Stephen J. Cannell and the writers of The Rockford Files

David Chase

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James Garner on Stephen J. Cannell and the writers of The Rockford Files

Angie Dickinson

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Angie Dickinson

Dick Van Dyke

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Dick Van Dyke

John Frankenheimer

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James Garner on working with John Frankenheimer on the feature "Gran Prix"

Leonard H. Goldenson

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Leonard H. Goldenson

Mariette Hartley

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James Garner on his popular Polaroid commercials 

Roy Huggins

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James Garner on Maverick creator Roy Huggins
James Garner on the creation of The Rockford Files

Jack Kelly

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James Garner on the pilot of Maverick, and how Jack Kelly came to be cast as "Bart Maverick"

Piper Laurie

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James Garner on working with Piper Laurie on the made-for-television movie Promise

Delbert Mann

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Delbert Mann

Steve McQueen

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Steve McQueen

Mary Tyler Moore

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James Garner on appearing in the made-for-television movie Heartsounds with Mary Tyler Moore

Paul Newman

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Paul Newman

Frank Price

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James Garner on studio politics and The Rockford Files

Rob Reiner

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Rob Reiner

Meta Rosenberg

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James Garner on Meta Rosenberg's role in The Rockford Files

Tom Selleck

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James Garner on Tom Selleck guest-starring on The Rockford Files

Dinah Shore

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Dinah Shore

Brandon Tartikoff

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Brandon Tartikoff

Grant Tinker

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Grant Tinker

James Woods

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James Garner on working with James Woods on the made-for-television movie Promise

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