Rockford Files and Maverick star James Garner dies aged 86

The US actor was one of the first to make a successful career in both TV and film and had later roles in Space Cowboys and The Notebook

American actor James Garner, star of TV series Maverick and The Rockford Files, has died aged 86.


Reports from the US suggest that an ambulance was dispatched to the star’s house on Saturday evening but found him dead at the scene. The cause of death is currently unclear but Garner’s health had been declining since he had a stroke in 2008.

An amiable and likeable star, Garner was one of the first to have successful careers in both TV and film. His big break came in the form of card sharp Bret Maverick in Western comedy drama series Maverick, which ran from 1957 to 1962. The well-loved 1970s show The Rockford Files was an updated version of Maverick but with Garner as a private detective, Jim Rockford, a performance that won him an Emmy. Between 2003 and 2005, he starred in the US comedy 8 Simple Rules.

Noteable film roles included two comedy Westerns, Support Your Local Sheriff! And Support Your Local Gunfighter!, Second World War drama The Great Escape, opposite Steve McQueen, 2000’s Space Cowboys alongside Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland and as Ryan Gosling’s older self in 2004 romantic drama The Notebook. 


Garner was married to Lois Clarke. They had two daughters, one from Garner’s former relationship and the other from Clarke’s.