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James Garner Had Knee Injuries and Suffered a Stroke — inside the Actor's Life and Death

Edduin Carvajal
Jul 15, 2020
09:00 A.M.

Throughout his life, late actor James Garner, best known as Murphy Jones in "Murphy's Romance," underwent several surgeries for his knee injuries and once suffered a stroke.


Born in April 1928, James was an actor and producer with a career spanning over 50 years. He landed his first role in the entertainment industry in the mid-50s in the TV show "Cheyenne."

[James] married Lois Clarke on August 17, 1956, about two weeks after they met.

James Garner on February 5, 2005 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

James Garner on February 5, 2005 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images



After that, he appeared in many more TV series and films, including "Conflict," "Sayonara," and, of course, "Maverick," where he portrayed Bret Maverick, the main character.

That show ran between 1957 and 1962, and James' performance was so good that he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 1959.


Years later, in 1981, another series titled "Bret Maverick" ran for one year, and James reprised his role. Again, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe.

James Garner became a household name following the success of "Maverick" in the 60s, which is why he kept landing important parts in TV series like "Nichols" and "The Rockford Files."


It was thanks to his outstanding performance of Jim Rockford that he got three Golden Globe nominations and five Primetime Emmy Award nominations, taking home only one Emmy in 1977.

The only Academy Award nomination that James received came in 1986 after his incredible portrayal of Murphy Jones in "Murphy's Romance" opposite "Norma Rae" star Sally Field.



As per James' love life, he married Lois Clarke on August 17, 1956, about two weeks after they met for the first time. About that first meeting, which he labeled as "love at first sight," James said:

"I fell in love for the first and last time on August 1, 1956, at the Adlai Stevenson for President rally – he lost, I won. That's where I met Lois Clarke."


James Garner's wife once revealed that a tear ran down her husband's cheek when she accepted to marry him. After walking down the aisle, the actor became the stepfather of Kimberly "Kim" Garner, Lois' daughter from a previous relationship.

In 1958, two years after their wedding, Greta "Gigi" Garner was born. According to Gigi, her father was "just a good guy" who used to do as much as possible to stay connected to her regardless of where he was.


Gigi also confessed that her friends adored him not just because he was a famous actor but because he was very funny.

One of the things that James Garner's daughter shared to prove just how cool her dad used to be was that, if she wanted to jump off the balcony into the pool, he would jump first to make sure it was safe for her to do so.



Although the actor will always be remembered as a family man, his many surgeries will also be part of the story of his life.

Since James did his own stunts, he suffered many knee and back injuries that eventually forced him to quit. He once admitted that during every hiatus and for five years in a row, he had a knee operation.


James Garner's knees and back were not the only parts of his body that needed surgery, though. In 1988, for example, he went under the knife to clear an obstruction restricting the flow of blood from his heart. Then, in May 2008, he underwent surgery following a minor stroke.

Sadly, he passed away on July 19, 2014, following a heart attack at the age of 86. He was survived by his daughters Kim and Gigi, and his wife of nearly 58 years, Lois.

Gigi has done her best to keep her dad's legacy alive, which is why she has been trying to help people remember her father as the considerate, generous, and loving man that he was.

Apart from that, she launched the James Garner Animal Rescue Fund on Father's Day 2019. Rest in peace, legend.

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