I first saw James Garner back in the Old Days when I was a kid. I saw the very first episode of MAVERICK back in 1957. I was sitting right smack in the middle of the living room floor in front of the old Emerson black and white Television!
James Garner was a household name in the Fifties. Then he started making movies...and quit the MAVERICK show halfway through it's run. But they continued to have his name on the credits and used to re-run his old shows even though he was already gone.
I guess the first actual movie I saw him in was THE GREAT ESCAPE. Over the years I saw him in lots of movies in the theater. Then he was back on TV....I saw Rockford only occasionally because I was working then and didn't always watch TV....and when I wasn't at some drilling rig, I was out Hell-raising down in Texas....
But, James Garner has been around FOREVER!
Steve McQueen lived right next to him in the sixties....up above his house on a hill in California. Garner was real particular about his lawn and landscape. Steve used to throw empty beer cans down from his house onto Maverick's lawn just to drive him crazy!
Steve McQueen got real jealous when Maverick got the part in the racing film GRAND PRIX. McQueen had wanted to do it because he was really a racer. Garner only got interested in racing after that movie.
McQueen was on location in Taiwan filming The Sand Pebbles when he got the news. After that he went several years without speaking to Garner which kind of put a big dent in their relationship. At least, for quite a while...I think James Garner had a whole different opinion of Steve after that....
GRAND PRIX turned out to be a flop, however. McQueen later made his own Flop, LE MANS, in 1970-71. I saw LE MANS at the theater and thought it stunk, and I was a die-hard Steve Fan!!
Anyway, I hope the fellows made up. I know that before Steve's death, he went around to everyone he ever knew and tried to make amends for everything he had ever done to everyone!
I know that Steve became a real Christian right before he died....and when he died in the hospital down in Juarez, Mexico in 1980, he had an open Bible in his lap....