James Scott Garner Biography: Age, Net Worth, Wife, Children, Parents, Siblings, Career, Movies, Awards, Death

May 25, 2024 0 Posted By Haruna Ayuba

James Scott Garner, originally born as Bumgarner on April 7, 1928, and passed away on July 19, 2014, was a well-known American actor. He had prominent roles in numerous movies, including The Great Escape (1963) alongside Steve McQueen and The Americanization of Emily (1964).

He also appeared in television series, playing memorable characters like Bret Maverick in the 1950s Western series Maverick and Jim Rockford in the 1970s private detective show, The Rockford Files.


  • Full Name: James Scott Bumgarner
  • Other Name: James Garner
  • Date of Birth: April 7, 1928
  • Age: 96 years old (as of 2024)
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of Birth: Norman, Oklahoma, United States
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Actor
  • Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)
  • Parents: Weldon Warren Bumgarner and Mildred Scott
  • Siblings: Jack Garner (brother)
  • Spouse: Lois Clarke (m. 1956–2014)
  • Children: Greta “Gigi” Garner (daughter)
  • Relationship Status: Deceased (James Garner passed away on July 19, 2014)
  • Net Worth: $20 million

Early Life and Education

James Garner, posthumously at the age of 96, was born on April 7, 1928, in Norman, Oklahoma. He grew up in a modest household alongside his older brother, Jack Garner.

Coming from mixed English, Scottish, and German ancestry, Garner experienced a challenging childhood due to his mother’s premature death when he was just four years old. His father struggled to raise the boys alone, working as a carpet layer to make ends meet.

Despite these hardships, Garner found solace in sports, particularly basketball and football, during his formative years.

After graduating from high school, Garner enlisted in the United States Merchant Marine at the age of 16, serving during the last few months of World War II.

Following his military service, he briefly attended Hollywood High School before dropping out to pursue various odd jobs. It wasn’t until his mid-twenties that Garner discovered his passion for acting while attending a class at the famed Pasadena Playhouse. This pivotal moment set him on a path toward a successful career in entertainment.

Personal Life

In 1956, James Garner tied the knot with Lois Clarke, a fellow actor. Their love story began on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend. Instantly smitten, the couple quickly became inseparable and married shortly thereafter.

Throughout their nearly six-decade-long marriage, Garner and Clarke shared a deep bond, walking through life’s challenges together.

Together, they welcomed their daughter, Greta “Gigi” Garner. Garner’s devotion to his family was evident in his commitment to maintaining a healthy work-life balance despite the demands of his thriving career.

However, like any marriage, theirs faced its share of trials, including rumors of infidelity that occasionally surfaced in the tabloids. Despite these challenges, Garner and Clarke remained steadfast in their commitment to each other until his passing in 2014.


James Garner‘s career in entertainment spanned over six decades, encompassing a diverse array of roles across film and television. He made his acting debut in 1956, landing a supporting role in the Broadway production of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.

His breakthrough came with the role of Bret Maverick in the hit television series Maverick, which catapulted him to stardom.

Garner’s versatility as an actor allowed him to seamlessly transition between genres, from westerns like Support Your Local Sheriff! to comedies such as The Great Escape and Murphy’s Romance, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

However, it was his portrayal of Jim Rockford in the long-running series The Rockford Files that earned him widespread acclaim and multiple Emmy Awards.

Throughout his career, Garner remained a beloved figure in Hollywood, known for his down-to-earth demeanor and effortless charm. His legacy continues to inspire aspiring actors and entertainers to this day.


  • Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (1977, 1980)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (1978)
  • Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award (2005)

Net Worth

At the time of his death in 2014, James Garner‘s net worth was estimated to be around $20 million, a wealth which he amassed from his lucrative career.


James Garner passed away on July 19, 2014, at the age of 86, at his home in Los Angeles, California. The cause of death was listed as a heart attack.


James Garner faced some controversies, such as a bondage scene in the 1984 film The Glitter Dome and allegations that Steve McQueen believed he had an affair with his first wife.

In The Glitter Dome, Garner starred alongside Margot Kidder in a bondage scene, which was directed by Stuart Margolin, his co-star from The Rockford Files.

Additionally, Garner was involved in claims that McQueen was convinced he had an affair with McQueen’s first wife, Neile Adams. Furthermore, Garner had a successful career as a leading man in Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s, appearing in films like The Great Escape, The Americanization of Emily, and Grand Prix, as well as portraying Bret Maverick in the Western television show Maverick.

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  • The Great Escape
  • The Notebook
  • The Americanization of Emily
  • Victor Victoria
  • Support Your Local Sheriff!

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