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       James Garner's  multiple award winning movie & television career

About the Book

Since his television debut in the mid-1950s, James Garner entertained millions of fans on screens both big and small. From supporting roles in memorable films like Sayonara and The Notebook to leading roles in box office hits including The Great Escape, Victor / Victoria, and the feature film version of Maverick, the actor appeared in some of the most entertaining movies of all time. 

In The Essential James Garner,  Stephen H. Ryan and Paul J. Ryan consider the prolific output of one of America’s most beloved actors. This book looks at the key feature films, made-for-television movies, and television episodes of Garner’s career. The authors discuss each of the actor’s most well-known films—The Great Escape, The Americanization of Emily, Support Your Local Sheriff! and Murphy’s Romance, among others—as well as critically acclaimed television movies including Barbarians at the Gate, Breathing Lessons, Decoration Day, Heartsounds, My Names Is Bill W., and Promise. Each entry provides details about the film’s production, critical reception, and commercial success. The best episodes of Garner’s two iconic television, Maverick and The Rockford Files—as well as his highly regarded but little seen series Nichols—are also identified. 


After reading The Essential James Garner, I felt these two gentlemen truly captured the essence of my father’s classic work. Paul and Stephen Ryan genuinely recognized the subtle genius of dad’s gifts, and I applaud them for their insightful observations. - Gigi Garner

Actor James Garner (1928–2014) is probably best remembered as the star of two very successful TV shows—Maverick in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and The Rockford Files in the 1970s—but he also enjoyed a career that spanned five decades and included seven TV series, more than 40 films (The Great Escape; The Notebook), three Golden Globe Awards, and two Emmys. In 2005, Garner was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Screen Actors Guild. All of that is impressive, but does Garner’s career warrant an entire book devoted to those films and TV shows considering he wrote his own memoir, The Garner Files, in 2011? The authors, an acquisitions editor at Rowman & Littlefield (Stephen) and a business management consultant (Paul), say yes, adding their aim is to “point out the highlights of Garner’s career and encourage readers to discover or revisit the best that Garner had to offer . . . particularly those that were not given their proper due.” They do that with a short bio followed by a chronological examination of each included film and TV show. This book is illustrated with photos and ends with a complete filmography and list of awards and honors. VERDICT: This well-researched work will be of most interest to die-hard Garner fans and film researchers. - Library Journal

Neither a biography nor a work of film criticism, this latest in Rowman & Littlefield’s Essential series is an appreciation of James Garner’s career in television and movies, and as one of the twentieth century’s most likable actors, there is much to appreciate. Following the established series format, the text opens with a solid introduction to Garner’s life and work and then moves on, first, to more detailed treatments of the movies and the television series. The movie sections include plot summaries, brief accountings of how and why the movies were made, reviews of the films’ critical reception, and brief analyses. For the television series, including the classics, Maverick and The Rockford Files, the authors provide a look at the series’ themes and story arcs as well as episode guides with plot summaries. This is not a full critical appraisal of Garner’s career, but it will certainly be satisfying to the actor’s many fans, who will enjoy the trip down memory lane.  – Booklist

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James Garner Book