Arts & Entertainment | National

James Garner, actor with Cherokee heritage, passes on at 86






Mourners laid flowers at the James Garner statue in Norman, Oklahoma. Photo by Indianz.Com

James Garner, an actor with Cherokee ancestry, died Saturday night. He was 86.

Garner was born in Oklahoma in 1928. His mother, Mildred Meek Bumgarner, was Cherokee, but she died when he was only 4 years old.

News reports do not say whether Garner or his maternal ancestors were enrolled in the Cherokee Nation or the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. He was proud of his tribal heritage -- he named his company Cherokee Productions in honor of his roots.

Garner rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s playing a card shark in the hit TV series Maverick. He later had a role as a lawman in the 1994 film remake, where he starred alongside Native actor Graham Greene.

Garner also starred in the hit 1970s TV series The Rockford Files, in which he played a detective.

Get the Story:
Family, friends recall Garner’s Norman roots (The Norman Transcript 7/21)
Oklahoma native James Garner dies (The Oklahoman 7/21)
James Garner dies at 86; TV antihero of 'Maverick,' 'Rockford Files' (The Los Angeles Times 7/21)
James Garner, disarming leading man of film and television, dies at 86 (The Washington Post 7/21)
James Garner, Witty, Handsome Leading Man, Dies at 86 (The New York Times 7/21)