James Garner Was More Than His 'Notebook' Role

At the age of 86, legendary actor James Garner passed away on Saturday after an impressive 50-plus years in the business. He is survived by his wife, Lois Clarke, and daughters, Kim and Gigi. Garner lead a full life both on screen and off. He didn't even enter the business until the age of 28, and that was after he served in Korea where he earned two purple hearts for his bravery in the field.

Garner is perhaps best remembered these days for playing Duke/Noah in The Notebook, the older version of Ryan Gosling's character. But in actuality Garner's career was much richer than that one movie and included both television and film roles. Garner was one of the first actors to find success in both forms of media and at the time of his death had starred in over 50 movies and 15 television series.

Before The Notebook's 2004 release, Garner was known for his wise-cracking characters on the television shows Maverick and The Rockford Files. Both were hugely popular and lead to 11 movie spinoffs between them. His work on the shows got him seven Emmy nominations and four Golden Globe noms, along with one Emmy win for The Rockford Files.

In the midst of conquering the television landscape, Garner played parts in a number of highly acclaimed movies like the Golden Globe nominated The Great Escape. Released in 1963, the World War II film starred Garner as a prisoner of war attempting to escape German clutches. Then, in 1985, he partnered with Sally Field in the romantic comedy Murphy’s Romance which earned him an Academy Award nomination.

Over his five decades in show business Garner worked with everyone from Julie Andrews to Audrey Hepburn to Steve McQueen and was likened to other great actors like Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart. In 2005, he was honored by the Screen Actors Guild with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Much of Hollywood has already begun paying tribute to Garner on Twitter, praising both his work and his friendship.

So yes, he may have been the sweet old man in The Notebook, but in real life Garner was so much more than that. His presence in the film and television industry will be missed by many. James Garner made his mark on show business in a way few actors are able to do, and for that, his legacy will live on.

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