As must be well known by now, Jim Garner is recovering in the hospital, having had surgery following a minor stroke. By all accounts he is expected to make a full recovery, but the details haven't yet been made public.
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.