We Lost James Garner (1928 – 2014)
While Lindsay Lohan continues to be humanity’s cockroach, legendary film and television actor James Garner died Saturday night at his home at the age of 86, and holy shit, did this guy lead a life: From physically battling an abusive stepmother to protect his brothers, to joining the Merchant Marines, fighting in Korea, and then landing a role in The Great Escape before becoming TV’s Maverick and later Jim Rockford. And I’m already leaving out a ton of classic roles because I’m a goddamn whippersnapper who’s now going to list James Garner’s greatest achievement as not giving a single fuck to Ryan Gosling. From Nick Cassevetes’ interview for the The Notebook’s tenth anniversary:
Working with legendary actors like James Garner and Gena Rowlands seems like any up-and-coming performer’s dream. Because they were playing two different versions of the same character, Gosling was eager to discuss choices and character traits with his esteemed costar. “Jimmy is one of those kind of actors who’s a no-bulls–t actor from a time gone by,” Cassavetes said. “But Ryan finds significance in talking about hairstyles and everything.” So how did they agree on how to bring old and young Noah to life? An important meeting Cassavetes still thinks about fondly:
[Ryan] says, “I was thinking about accents. There’s all kinds of South Carolina accents — one’s more rural” and this and that. [Garner] goes, “I don’t do accents, kid. They’re stupid.” And [Ryan] goes, “Okay. What about eye color? I have blue eyes. You have brown eyes.” He says, “Everyone knows Jim Garner’s got brown eyes. Do what you want, kid.” [Ryan] says, “Okay, I guess I’ll wear contacts. What about hair?” And he says, “Do whatever you want, kid. Nice to meet you. See you later.” Ryan looked at me and said, “Shut up, don’t even say a word.”
Fucking legend. Rest in peace, Mr. Garner.