James Garner, the Hollywood actor who starred in both television shows and classic films since the 1950s, has passed away from natural causes at the age of 86. His path to stardom began with the television show Maverick in the ‘50s and then continued in the ‘70s with The Rockford Files. Over his entire career, Garner won two Emmys and earned a total of 15 nominations. Some of his best films include My Name Is Bill W, Barbarians at the Gate, and Promise.
While Garner is best known for his time on the big screen, he was also an automotive enthusiast. After playing the leading role in Grand Prix in 1966, Garner caught the racing bug. He later went on to become a part owner of the American International Racers team, which raced in Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans endurance events. Garner’s team also took three out of the top five positions and finished seventh out of 10 driving an AMC SC/Rambler in the Baja 500. In his spare time, also Garner drove an Oldsmobile 4-4-2 in off-road competitions in 1969 and 1970, and he also drove the pace car for the Indy 500 in 1975, 1977, and 1985.
Garner’s pedigree for competition racing followed him into his acting career and helped him gain notoriety in The Rockford Files. The gold Pontiac Firebird Esprit used throughout the show achieved stardom as well, specifically for the J-turns that Garner’s character utilized for quick getaways. Garner himself performed the J-turns, which later on became known as the “Rockford Turn.”
In the video below, Garner is being interviewed for his role in The Rockford Files. The video displays Garner’s superb acting skills and straightforwardness that made him much-loved.