RIP James Garner: Jim Rockford has left the building

12
2132
James Garner/Rockford Files

LOS ANGELES, July 20, 2014 — The lights have been turned off and the answering machine has been disconnected. Jim Rockford has left the building for the last time. At the age of 86, actor James Garner has departed.

Garner’s career spanned over half a century, with his biggest early success coming as the Western legend Bret Maverick.

He seamlessly transitioned to the small screen as the lead character in the wildly successful “Rockford Files.” Each episode would start with somebody leaving an amusing answering machine message, such as one about a child’s birthday party where the person asks, “Did you order the pink lady?” After the message came one of the greatest television theme songs of all time.


Garner won the Emmy Award for Best Actor in 1977. Another unusual tribute came in a cartoon series based on the show. The only difference was that “The Buford Files” lead character was a dog, and a rather lazy one at that. “Here comes help, here comes action, here comes Buford,” would be followed by the dog falling asleep on the floor in the middle of the case. Rockford’s private investigator was more diligent.

Garner had such widespread appeal because he was a rare breed. Long before metrosexuals roamed the earth, alpha-males existed. Garner was tough enough for the men but charming enough for the ladies. He was the epitome of a man’s man. He drank, smoked, ate red meat and loved football and fast cars. He served in the military. He was a “guy.”

He did more than merely join the Army, receiving two purple hearts while serving in Korea.

He did more than just eat red meat. He promoted it, telling Americans “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.” Comedian Dennis Leary joked that after Garner had a couple of heart attacks, maybe he was not the best spokesman for red meat.

Even after having quintuple bypass surgery in 1988, he continued smoking for another 17 years.

His love of football had him as a frequent sideline guest of his beloved Raiders. Garner was dressed in black, fitting in perfectly with the Raider Nation. When the 1983 Raiders made the Super Bowl, an excited Garner was heard yelling after the first Raiders touchdown “that’s one!” Always the tough guy, he helped security keep unwanted pests away from the Raiders locker room.

He drove the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 three times.

He stayed married to the same woman for 58 years. Always the sharp wit, Garner said that “Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you’d be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist.”

For bringing so much joy to so many people on screen and off, 86 years was not enough time for the world to enjoy this man. He will be missed.

When the rest of us get to heaven, we will finally be able to hear the hilarious messages now being left on his answering machine, and how he returns those calls.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 Communities Digital News

• The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or management of Communities Digital News.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.

  • Dar Smith

    Thank you Eric!!!! Well written…

  • Elizabethseyes

    Thank you Eric! Always loved Garner’s work, but Rockford Files has a special place in my heart

  • AudreySilk

    Who do we credit for the photo? It’s airbrushed! The original had him holding a cigarette. This censorship is a disgrace.

    • blacktygrrrr

      I said it to one other commenter and I will say it again.

      As the author of this column, I do not select the photos. My editors do. Having said that, none of my editors would censor out a cigarette. It is quite possible we did not have the legal right to use the original of the photo, but nobody at CDN would deliberately censor out a cigarette.

      I personally have no objections to smoking.

      So as to why the photo was airbrushed or altered, I honestly do not know. I genuinely appreciate your pointing it out and will ask my editors why.

      eric @ the Tygrrrr Express

      • AudreySilk

        Appreciate it (all of it) Eric. Thank you.

    • 1.) Not the same photo. Two separate pictures. Hand is down lower. 2.) Both pics appear to be screen shots, taken from video, ergo, movement. Which would account for the blurring. 3.) If someone wants to smoke, smoke. Just don’t do it around me. Its too hard to quit, so I stay away from them. 4.) A lot in this world is wrong and would benefit from a little self censoring, James Garner smoking a cigarette some 3 decades ago is not one of them. 5.) Really? With everything going on, our politicians pretty much destroying this country, planes dropping like flies, Islamic State blowing up Christian heritage sites,w women around the world being horrifically abused, kids from South America to Africa being targeted and exploited and the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel, you all worry about a photo of James Garner… and as proof of some offense, you are not showing the same photo? Can’t we just read the obit, share some memories of a pretty decent actor that brought a lot of joy to his family, friends and fans without screaming censorship? Or move on?

      • AudreySilk

        Same exact scene but maybe a millisecond apart. If one regular ole person can capture a clear shot as shown in my example then anyone can. The choice of blur had to be intentional. Censoring that which is unpopular which is a result of a social engineering experiment (“don’t show a cigarette so it’s not viewed as ‘normal'”) due to a crusade against it is a huge offense to our fundamental beliefs. Don’t like something then provide more speech (opposing view), but you don’t get the public used to wiping out of view what some won’t tolerate. In fact, you made the case for me with your example of ISIS blowing up what they won’t tolerate. Any intentional removal/blurring of an “offensive” sight is no different in attitude.

  • SSM31

    Loved James Garner – one of my favs. Why did you feel the need to “blur” the cigarette he is holding in the picture. He was a lifelong smoker – among other things

    • SSM31

      And it destroyed his hand in the pic smh

    • blacktygrrrr

      As the author of this column, I do not select the photos. My editors do. Having said that, none of my editors would censor out a cigarette. It is quite possible we did not have the legal right to use the original of the photo, but nobody at CDN would deliberately censor out a cigarette.

      I personally have no objections to smoking.

      So as to why the photo was airbrushed or altered, I honestly do not know. I genuinely appreciate your pointing it out and will ask my editors why.

      eric @ the Tygrrrr Express

  • Ann Deez

    As many have noted, “we tend to stumble upon establishments which are the result of human action but are not the result of human design”.

  • Pingback: RIP James Garner - Coddess()