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."

Highlights
James Garner on "Maverick" as the anti-hero
01:44
James Garner on the character of "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files
00:44
James Garner on studio politics and The Rockford Files
03:05
James Garner on doing a Winston cigarettes commercial  
01:48
James Garner on leaving Maverick
03:33
James Garner on his popular Polaroid commercials
02:06
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
03:16

Bret Maverick

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James Garner on the series Bret Maverick
01:28

Cheyenne

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James Garner on almost being cast in the title role of Cheyenne
01:19
James Garner on appearing on the series Cheyenne
03:33

Heartsounds

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James Garner on he made-for-television movie Heartsounds
02:37

Maverick

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James Garner on starring on the series Maverick
17:33
James Garner on his character, "Bret Maverick," on Maverick
02:26
James Garner on the sponsor of Maverick
01:33
James Garner on the pilot of Maverick, and how Jack Kelly came to be cast as "Bart Maverick"
02:57
James Garner on the typical Maverick workweek
01:22
James Garner on public reaction to Maverick and his fame
05:03
James Garner on the directing and writing of Maverick
02:57
James Garner on being typecast as "Bret Maverick" and the power of television
02:35
James Garner on "Maverick" as the anti-hero
01:44
James Garner on the Maverick episode "A Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" (airdate: November 23, 1958)
01:14
James Garner on the Maverick episode "Gun-Shy" (airdate: January 11, 1959), a spoof of Gunsmoke
01:16
James Garner on leaving Maverick
03:33
James Garner on returning to the role of "Bret Maverick" in the feature film "Maverick"
01:49

Nichols

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James Garner on acting on the series Nichols
07:53

Rockford Files, The

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James Garner on the creation of The Rockford Files
02:50
James Garner on Stephen J. Cannell and the writers of The Rockford Files
01:29
James Garner on the character of "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files
00:44
James Garner on The Rockford Files' supporting characters
00:57
James Garner on the process of producing an episode of The Rockford Files
04:14
James Garner on the cast and guest stars on The Rockford Files
02:00
James Garner on the directors of The Rockford Files
01:45
James Garner on a typical episode of The Rockford Files
01:09
James Garner on studio politics and The Rockford Files
03:05
James Garner on the end of The Rockford Files
03:30
James Garner on remembering the people he worked with more than specific episodes of The Rockford Files
00:37

Space

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James Garner on appearing in the miniseries Space
01:35
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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James Garner on his character, "Bret Maverick," on Maverick
02:26
James Garner on "Maverick" as the anti-hero
01:44
James Garner on the character of "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files
00:44

Fame and Celebrity

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James Garner on public reaction to Maverick and his fame
05:03
James Garner on his feelings about the press and doing interviews
01:49

Historic Events and Social Change

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James Garner on his family and World War II
01:23
James Garner on serving in the Korean War
03:02

Korean War

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James Garner on serving in the Korean War
03:02

Pop Culture

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James Garner on his character, "Bret Maverick," on Maverick
02:26
James Garner on "Maverick" as the anti-hero
01:44
James Garner on the character of "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files
00:44
James Garner on his feelings about the press and doing interviews
01:49

Television Industry

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James Garner on public reaction to Maverick and his fame
05:03

War

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James Garner on his family and World War II
01:23
James Garner on serving in the Korean War
03:02

World War II

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James Garner on his family and World War II
01:23
Professions

Actor

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James Garner on becoming an actor
03:35
James Garner on stage acting verses television acting
01:21

Performers

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James Garner on becoming an actor
03:35
James Garner on stage acting verses television acting
01:21
Genres

Commercials

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James Garner on his popular Polaroid commercials
02:06

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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James Garner on playing "Jim Rockford" on The Rockford Files
28:35

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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James Garner on Heartsounds and the miniseries Space
04:12
James Garner on the made-for-television movie Barbarians at the Gate
03:16

Western Series

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James Garner on almost being cast in the title role of Cheyenne
01:19
James Garner on starring on the series Maverick
17:53
James Garner on acting on the series Maverick
12:58
James Garner on acting on the series Nichols
07:53
People

James T. Aubrey

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - James T. Aubrey
00:49

Lauren Bacall

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Lauren Bacall
00:34

Richard Bare

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James Garner on almost being cast in the title role of Cheyenne
01:19

Paul Bogart

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Paul Bogart
00:44

Marlon Brando

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James Garner on appearing in the feature film "Sayonara" 
01:36

Stephen J. Cannell

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James Garner on the creation of The Rockford Files
02:50
James Garner on Stephen J. Cannell and the writers of The Rockford Files
01:29

David Chase

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James Garner on Stephen J. Cannell and the writers of The Rockford Files
01:29

Angie Dickinson

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Angie Dickinson
00:39

Dick Van Dyke

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Dick Van Dyke
00:22

John Frankenheimer

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James Garner on working with John Frankenheimer on the feature "Gran Prix"
01:26

Leonard H. Goldenson

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Leonard H. Goldenson
00:51

Mariette Hartley

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James Garner on his popular Polaroid commercials 
02:06

Roy Huggins

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James Garner on Maverick creator Roy Huggins
01:10
James Garner on the creation of The Rockford Files
02:50

Jack Kelly

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James Garner on the pilot of Maverick, and how Jack Kelly came to be cast as "Bart Maverick"
02:58

Piper Laurie

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James Garner on working with Piper Laurie on the made-for-television movie Promise
01:10

Delbert Mann

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Delbert Mann
00:16

Steve McQueen

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Steve McQueen
02:07

Mary Tyler Moore

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James Garner on appearing in the made-for-television movie Heartsounds with Mary Tyler Moore
02:38

Paul Newman

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Paul Newman
01:01

Frank Price

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James Garner on studio politics and The Rockford Files
03:05

Rob Reiner

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Rob Reiner
00:44

Meta Rosenberg

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James Garner on Meta Rosenberg's role in The Rockford Files
01:00

Tom Selleck

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James Garner on Tom Selleck guest-starring on The Rockford Files
00:52

Dinah Shore

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Dinah Shore
00:26

Brandon Tartikoff

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Brandon Tartikoff
00:46

Grant Tinker

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James Garner on various people with whom he's worked in his career - Grant Tinker
00:41

James Woods

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James Garner on working with James Woods on the made-for-television movie Promise
01:44

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