TV and film actor James Garner has died of natural causes, after living a successful life in the industry

Actor James Garner, star of Maverick, Rockford Files and The Notebook passed away at the age of 86 after six decades of a career in film and television.

Garner was found in his home in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 19. According to the West LA Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, Garner died of natural causes; his body has already been released to the family. Post a severe stroke in 2008, Garner had suffered ill health.

Garner was perhaps most famous for his role as investigator Jim Rockford in hit TV series Rockford Files. He starred in the show for six years and was awarded an Emmy in 1977. Garner also starred in the Comeback TV movies in the 1990s that brought him another Emmy award.

His talent for delivering wise and quirky dialogues as an uncanny main character was also showcased in his role as poker player Bret Maverick in the Western comedy of the same name. A breath of fresh air after the hard-eyed bulky heroes of the 50s, Bret Maverick’s sharp tongue and quick wit, which helped him out of more than one sticky situation, turned Garner into an almost ironic icon of the times. He left the show in 1960, claiming it had lost its creativity and artistic edge.

In the post-Maverick era, Garner quickly established himself as a movie actor. Throughout his long career, he had established himself as a highly versatile actor, starring in comedies, suspense thrillers, and his favourite, Western films. He has co-starred alongside stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Julie Andrews and Sally Field.

James Garner became a trending topic on Twitter on Sunday morning. Many fans and fellow actors such as Julian O’Dell, Mark Gatiss and Jason Reeves paid tributes to Garner’s life and work.

Garner lived in Santa Barbara with his wife Lois Clarke. He had two daughters, Kimberly and Gretta.

“Some people [have background in acting],” Garner said in a 2002 TV interview. “They went to all these classes. A lot of people say you have to have this foundation; you have to have all the great teachers and all the great theory. I don’t think so.”

Antonia Velikova, Correspondent (Film)

Image Courtesy: Alan Light, Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | Wikimedia Commons