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'Maverick' star James Garner dies at 86

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'Maverick' star James Garner dies at 86

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Jul 20, 2014

Iconic actor James Garner has died at 86-years-old. He passed away at his home on Saturday from what police are calling natural causes.

"Garner starred in hit TV series almost 20 years apart -- 'Maverick' in the late 1950s and 'The Rockford Files' in the 1970s," reports CNN. "He also had a notable film career, starring in such classics as 'Sayonara' (1957), 'The Great Escape' (1963), 'The Americanization of Emily' (1964), 'Grand Prix' (1966) and 'Victor/Victoria' (1982), as well as the TV movies 'My Name Is Bill W.' (1989) and 'Barbarians at the Gate' (1993) ... More recent films included 'Space Cowboys' (2000) and 'The Notebook' (2004)."

He legendarily challenged studios on both "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files" and sued for being treated unfairly as a lead actor. Garner won his case both times.

Garner "was nominated for a slew of awards, including Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG Awards and an Oscar (for 1986's 'Murphy's Romance'). His performance in 'The Rockford Files' won him an Emmy," further reports CNN.

He entered the entertainment business for money at 16-years-old, working as a swimsuit model after dropping out of Hollywood High School. Garner then joined the Merchant Marine and the National Guard during the Korean War, where he was awarded a Purple Heart. When he returned, he set his sights on a respectable acting career.

According to CNN, "Garner was also a longtime political activist. He helped organize the 1963 March on Washington and frequently donated to Democratic candidates and liberal causes."

The famed actor is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lois Clarke, and his two daughters, Kim and Gigi.

Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Julianne Cassidy is a newly Nashville-based entertainment journalist from Philadelphia.