Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I'm sure this self-effacing, very private man would prefer that none of this had been made public, but he's long since realized that it's the price of fame. And, despite his shyness, he does deeply appreciate - and has always been puzzled by - the actual love and real concern of his millions of loyal admirers.
I have been among that group since I was 13 and watched the premier of a new western series called Maverick in the fall of 1957. James Garner was my very first celeb crush. Actually, he's also my only celeb crush, because in all these years I've never seen anyone who impressed me quite like he always has.
What started out as a teen crush became something more over the years, as I learned about James Garner the person. He became a father figure to this only child of a man who had never wanted children and never attempted to hide his resentment at my unwanted presence in his life. James Garner came to fill that void for me. He was my male role model as I grew up.
I'd never want to embarrass this wonderful man who can't even understand why people think he is special, but, Jim, you are special. I admire you for so many things - I could never list them all.
But most of all, I admire you for being a real hero - without feet of clay - to a young girl who was badly in need of a hero in her life. You've never let me down in all these many years, and for that I could never thank you enough.
God bless and get well soon.
"He's still in the hospital, but my understanding is he is doing well and will be going home soon. When, exactly, we have not been told yet," Allen said.
Garner, who turned 80 last month, rose to prominence in the 1950s as the star of "Maverick," playing a wry riverboat gambler who was quicker with a quip than a gun and, unlike his Western counterparts, was faster still to run from trouble than to face it. The show aired from 1957 to 1962, but Garner, who was nominated for an Emmy as Bret Maverick, left in 1960 to pursue a film career.
He has appeared in such films as "The Children's Hour," "Victor/Victoria" and "The Great Escape" and was nominated for an Oscar in 1985 as the small-town pharmacist opposite Sally Field in "Murphy's Romance."
Garner returned to television full-time in the mid-1970s playing Jim Rockford, a modern-day private detective who, like his "Maverick" character, also was not afraid to run instead of fight. He won an Emmy for the role in 1977.
Garner also reprised his Maverick role in the short-lived "Bret Maverick" series in the 1980s.
More recently, he played Katey Sagal's father in the sitcom "8 Simple Rules ... for Dating My Teenage Daughter." Garner joined the cast in 2003 after John Ritter, who played Sagal's husband, died during the show's second season.