Tuesday, July 22, 2014

File Under Professional

The gentleman actor who brought to life Bret Maverick and, thereafter, James Rockford died over the weekend.  James Garner was eighty-six.  I pretend not to know whether it was irony or coincidence that he died on the same weekend that the world marked the forty-fifth anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's walk on the Moon.  I do know that about fifteen years ago, Garner starred with Donald Sutherland, Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones in Space Cowboys as four "geezer" astronauts who save NASA's bacon:

Was this film the best one in which Garner ever worked?  Nope.  But just for shits and giggles - if you were someone who ever watched Garner ply his craft then try to name the movie or TV role in which you watched him do his work in which you thought he was anything less than a professional.  I thought about that as I was on my run Sunday morning.  I could not come up with one.  

A million years ago - when I was in law school - I was required to read "Barbarians at the Gate."  It turned out to be an extraordinary read.  I have read it cover to cover on at least two other occasions since. Garner starred opposite Jonathon Pryce in the HBO movie based on the book.  Garner portrayed F. Ross Johnson, the CEO of RJR Nabisco.  

It may be as good a measure of a man as any other - the things that others say about him when he dies.  I half wish that I could be brought back after I kick only for a day or two just to read what I hope shall be the starkly honest - and likely unflattering - things said about me.  The people who worked with Garner - irrespective of at what point in time their two careers intersected - were universally laudatory in their comments.  

Case closed...


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