The Garner Files

The Garner Files

3.8 50
by James Garner, Jon Winokur
     
 

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After suffering physical abuse at the hands of his stepmother, Garner left home at fourteen. He became Oklahoma’s first draftee of the Korean War and was awarded with two Purple Hearts before returning to the United States and settling in Los Angeles to become an actor. Working alongside some of the most renowned celebrities, including Julie Andrews, Marlon…  See more details below

Overview


After suffering physical abuse at the hands of his stepmother, Garner left home at fourteen. He became Oklahoma’s first draftee of the Korean War and was awarded with two Purple Hearts before returning to the United States and settling in Los Angeles to become an actor. Working alongside some of the most renowned celebrities, including Julie Andrews, Marlon Brando, and Clint Eastwood, Garner became a star in his own right, despite struggles with stage fright and depression. In The Garner Files, this revered actor and quintessential self-made man recalls “trying to decipher” William Wyler with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, breaking Doris Day’s ribs, having a “heart-to-heart and eyeball-to-eyeball” with Steve McQueen, being “a card-carrying liberal—and proud of it,” and much more

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though Garner fans are aging—inevitable, since the star himself is 84-years-old—there are plenty who'll snap up this enjoyable memoir. Having gained a loyal following through TV series such as Maverick and The Rockford Files, and films including The Great Escape and The Notebook, Garner has remained in the public eye for more than six decades. Wherever you fall on the Garner spectrum, there's plenty to love in this book. Garner (or more likely Winokur) has a knack for telling a story and finding the perfect quote to tie it all together. Summing up his difficult childhood, which included an alcoholic father and an abusive stepmother, Garner says he lived through "The Depression. In Oklahoma. In the dust. After that, studio executives don't bother you at all." He fell into acting because "a woman pulled out of a parking space in front of a producer's office" and he pulled in. In describing meeting his wife, Garner says he "fell in love for the first and last time on August 1, 1956." Even if this charming book has some choppy and random moments, it still resembles a conversation with an old friend who loves to tell colorful stories. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
With Winokur (The Big Book of Irony, 2007, etc.) Garner tells his life story with the same wry, self-effacing charm that characterized his classic TV characters: the laidback cowboy Bret Maverick and the down-on-his-heels gumshoe Jim Rockford. Raised in Depression-era Oklahoma by an alcoholic father and abusive stepmother, Garner escaped to Hollywood, got his own hit show (Maverick) before he was 30 and made movies. He has stayed married to the same woman for over 50 years. Fate has, for the most part, been kind: "The only reason I'm an actor is that a lady pulled out of a parking space in front of a producer's office." Along the way, he also spent a hellish season in the Korean War and received two Purple Hearts in Korea--though he claims that he "didn't save anybody but myself." Garner praises mentors such as Henry Fonda and Marlon Brando and offers testier assessments of his late neighbor and competitor Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson ("a bitter, belligerent SOB") and Charlton Heston ("stiff as a board"). He gives great inside dope on the technical demands of making of his racing hit Grand Prix (1966), the sheer physical toll action roles can take on the body and the equally brutal business end of Hollywood, where Garner has survived two legendary you'll-never-work-in-this-town-again run-ins with the studios ("It was like being in business with the Mafia, only Universal didn't need a gun, just a pencil"). The author is also full of contradictions. He doesn't believe in glorifying the military but supports a memorial for Korean War veterans, calls himself a coward but continually points out that he never backs down from a fight and claims not to take acting too seriously ("I have to laugh when I hear actors talking about their art") but clearly knows the craft and respects it. Although he can go on too much about how unaffected and genuine he is, Garner comes across as likable on the page as he does on screen.
From the Publisher
"Narrator Michael Kramer effectively captures the actor's easygoing manner and humor." —Library Journal Audio Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451642605
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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From the Publisher
"Narrator Michael Kramer effectively captures the actor's easygoing manner and humor." —-Library Journal Audio Review

Meet the Author

Jon Winokur is the author of various nonfiction books, including The Portable Curmudgeon, Zen to Go, and Advice to Writers. He lives in Los Angeles.

James Garner has starred in numerous television shows and films, from Maverick and The Rockford Files to The Great Escape with Steve McQueen and Victor Victoria with Julie Andrews.

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