• Jul 20th 2014 at 12:53PM
  • 21
James Garner, star of such Hollywood television and film classics as Maverick and The Rockford Files, has passed away at his home at the age of 86. Garner is believed to have died of natural causes.

While Garner is best known for his television and movie roles, he was also a certified car guy. After starring in Grand Prix in 1966, James Garner developed a taste for racing, later being part owner of the American International Racers team, which took part in Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring endurance racing events. Garner's outfit also took part in the Baja 500, finishing 7 out of 10 AMC SC/Ramblers and taking three out of the top five positions. Garner himself drove an Oldsmobile 442 in off-road competition in 1969 and 1970. Garner's love of racing extended to the Indy 500, where he drove the pace car in 1975, 1977 and 1985.

With such a certified pedigree for competition racing, it comes as little surprise that Garner's automotive obsessions carried over into this acting career, gaining particular notoriety in The Rockford Files, where the gold Pontiac Firebird Esprit Garner's character drove became something of a star in its own right. Anyone who has watched the series is surely familiar with the J-turn that Garner's character, Jim Rockford, employed for quick getaways. So engrained was this stunt, which Garner performed himself, in the show that it is commonly referred to as the Rockford Turn.

We've gathered together some auto-themed clips for which Garner is known. Scroll down to take a short trip down memory lane as we celebrate the life and career of James Garner.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      The last of the three 'great ones'. McQueen, Newman and Garner.
      • 1 Year Ago
      great actor will be missed!
      • 1 Year Ago
      I remember practicing "Rockfords" in parking lots when I was in my teens. The t.v. show "Rockford Files" really holds up too, I have been re-watching it on netflix for the past month or so. Its not as dated as most shows from the era. Seemed like a kick ass and genuine guy.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Rockford Files to me was all about that J-turn (like the A team was about the "flip a car, land on it's top" stunt), and of course, that was the first telephone answering machine I'd ever seen in the opener (and the pre-curser to Bart Simpson writing on the blackboard in every opener). "It's Laurie at the trailer park. A space opened up. Do you want me to save it or are the cops going to let you stay where you are?" Classic. RIP big man.
      • 1 Year Ago
      James Garner, you were a class act all the way. Remember watching you in the Great Escape and Grand Prix. You were epic in Maverick and The Rockford Files. Still remember the Lola T70 Coupe you entered under the AIR banner. Through it all, you defined what Hollywood really should be all about. You will be missed, but not forgotten. You and Steve McQueen will have some grand races together.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Very well said. Thanks Jim, for the great movies and racing memories.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      RIP to a legend.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh wow, just was watching the some episodes of Rockford Files on DVD last night, watching him race through the streets of LA in that gold Firebird, trying to shake off some goons following him. Those were the days. Rest in peace Mr. Garner.
      • 1 Year Ago
      He did those camera commercials too. ...Rockford Files baby!
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't forget to give Garner credit for serving his country in combat.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Rest in peace, Jim.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I totally forgot he did Mazda ads!
        • 1 Year Ago
        Yup...he and Mariette Hartley did those Mazda commercials...I vaguely remember one advert of them both doing a humorous 60 second spot for the Mazda 323. RIP, Mr. Garner. Peace! AladdinSane ★
      • 1 Year Ago
      Loved watching The Rockford Files as a kid. RIP!
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