BORN: April 7, 1928
DIED: July 19, 2014
AGED: 86 yrs
DIED FROM: Massive Heart Attack
REAL NAME: James Bumgarner or Baumgarner
MARRIED: once, to Lois Clarke. Married 2 weeks after meeting. Stayed married 58 years
CHILDREN: 2 daughters
OSCAR NOMINATION: once- “Murphy’s Romance” 1985
KNOWN FOR: His straightforward manner. Being a family man and honourable to them and his friends. Private. Doing his own stunts especially on “The Rockford Files”. Fought for his rights against the studios with “Maverick” and won! He also fought the execs when doing The Rockford Files but was not as successful because, when he took time off for his health, the cancelled the show. Known to be a great kisser! Sally Field said he was the best and he knees felt weak whereas Julie Andrews felt her actual knees buckle after a kissing scene. He revealed he was a lifelong pot smoker and it helped his pain. Oh and he was a staunch Democrat.
TALENTS: A major race car driver who actually competed in the Indianapolis 500 a couple of times. He played golf and loved sports.
What can I say, I love this actor and had a major crush on him when he was in The Rockford Files…I had no care that I was 11 and he was…a bit older. He looked ruggedly handsome and he was so funny on his hit TV show, “The Rockford Files.” I had no idea how much pain he was in while making the TV show because of the stunts he did which wreaked his knees resulting in 2 knee replacements plus an ulcer and a heart attack. In fact, due to the stresses he was enduring from the show, mainly behind the scenes with the executroids, he separated from his wife and had to get his health, physically and emotionally. They, obviously, reconciled and were happily married until he passed away. The staff and actors were so loyal to him that they all came back to do some more Rockford Files specials. Julie Andrews loved working with him and…vice versa.
This man was raised by his dad and a few step moms since his real mom died when he was about 5 years old but one step mother was very, very abusive and often beat him and his 2 older brothers. He is also a veteran of the Korean War and was wounded twice, once by enemy fire being injured in the hands and face and the other time, by friendly fire where he got smacked in the butt. He ended up in movies and credits Charles Laughton as a mentor. He enjoyed working in film but, also, TV and, although he loved working with Julie Andrews, when he worked on TV commercials with Mariette Hartley, many people thought they were married in real life…they had great chemistry. John Wayne thought he was the best actor of his generation and he was one of the best as an actor and a human being who took no guff!
1. The Children’s Hour-1961
2. The Great Escape-1963
3. The Thrill of it All-1963
4. Move Over, Darling-1963
5. The Americanization of Emily-1964
6. Support Your Local Sheriff-1969
7. Support Your Local Gunfighter-1971
9. Murphy’s Romance- 1985
10. My Fellow Americans- 1996
1. Maverick- 1957-1962
2. The Rockford Files -1974-1980
3. 8 Simple Rules -2003-2005