Skip to comments.James Garner Always Stuck To His Guns When It Came To Politics
Posted on 07/20/2014 2:09:01 PM PDT by rey
There was more to James Garner than just his acting and racing careers. The beloved actor, who died July 19 (read about his career, life and death in this related Inquisitr article) left behind a legacy of political activism.
Like the vast majority of the people in the TV and movie industries, James Garner was a staunch, lifelong Democrat. Thats hardly unusual according to this article in Suite, Hollywood gives five times more money to Democrats than to Republicans. But where many Hollywood Democrats like to talk the talk, Garner walked the walk sometimes literally.
On August 28, 1963, Garner was photographed by the New York Daily News walking hand-in-hand with black actress Diahann Carroll during the March on Washington a peaceful demonstration that was a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement. At the time, the very act of a white man holding hands with a black woman would have been outrageous. But that did not matter to James Garner; throughout his career, he stuck to his strongly democratic principles, even incorporating his beliefs into his acting career.
For the 1985 CBS miniseries Space, Garner asked that the political affiliation of the lead character be changed from Republican to Democrat, saying, My wife would kill me if I ever played a Republican, according to a 1985 Boston Globe article that is not currently available online, but is cited on Garners Wikipedia page.
Interestingly, when principled Democrat James Garner had to work with ultraconservative Mel Gibson on the 1994 film version of Maverick, there was no friction between the two actors. He later told The Village Voice: Mel and I got along fine.
In his 2011 memoir The Garner Files, James dished on Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, two notable Hollywood Republicans. As quoted in Variety:
In my opinion, Arnold Schwarzenegger wasnt qualified to be governor of California. Ronald Reagan wasnt qualified to be governor, let alone president.
Also in his memoir, James recounts being approached about running for U.S. Congress as a Republican in 1962.
It didnt stop them when I told them I was a Democrat . They just thought I could win.
He was again approached about running for office, this time for Governor of California in 1990, and again turned the opportunity down.
Theres one difference between me and [Schwarzenegger and Reagan]: I know Im not qualified.
What is your opinion of entertainers such as James Garner, Tim Robbins, and Natalie Maines mixing politics with entertainment? Let us know in the comments.
And so he just blindly followed the Demonrat’s march to the left?
Great actor, but not very smart
Garner was a great actor and it disappointed me that he was a typical Hollywood leftist.
For the most part he didn’t really push his liberal views but every now and then it would creep into his parts.
Loved his acting, but despised his sleazy political ad with Jack Lemmon that ran in California, that called for some sort of tax raise.
It is disgusting to require the writers to change the political party of his character in a Michener mini-series.
I don’t give a damn that the man was a Democrat.
I liked his acting, I appreciate the fact the man was a veteran of the Merchant Marine and the Korean War. He had a hell of a time of it in the Korean War yet wasn’t always carping about it.
He had a pretty horrible childhood but most people never knew about that until later in his life when his memoir was published. I never heard the man using his childhood as a crutch.
He was, from all accounts I have heard, a humble down to earth man from Oklahoma. A lib? Sure, doesn’t mean I can’t admire his work or the fact he was a great entertainer.
Mel and I got along fine.”
What a sad time we live in when it is assumed people with differences can’t get along.
But Barack Obama was/is??
Garner was basically a New Deal Oakie Democrat. Like many of his generation, he was raised a Democrat and died a Democrat. It's tribal -- logic has nothing to do with it.
As far as the prejudice against certain legitimate backgrounds like acting goes, one of America's best Governors and Presidents was a former actor, so that prejudice is obviously flawed IMO. It's not the background, it's the man.
Uh-huh. While Southern Democrats stood in the doorways of schools to prevent black students from entering.
Democrats invented the Civil Rights movement? Since when?
The Solid South is gone, killed by Lyndon Johnson and George Corley Wallace, both Democrats.
The Republican Party was founded on a platform of anti-Slavery and the equality of the races before the law. Since when did the party of opportunist looters - the Democrats - take on that mantle?
Only when they thought they could take votes from the people who stood for principle.
Garner was from Oklahoma, born in the Depression. If he was for civil rights, it put him against the party he was born into - which many young Southerners did in the early 60's, or civil rights would have never survived.
But they didn't invent it. On the contrary. They merely caught up to the rest of the country.
Garner was one my favorite actors. RIP.
Right on Arnold, wrong on Reagan. Of course Garner and Arnold got along. Arnold pretty much is a Democrat in all but name.
Said it better then I did.
And we're the last generation that remembers this from living it.
As Laura Ingrahams book title said: Shut Up & Sing
Although Garner is a lifelong liberal Democrat, his oldest friend is a conservative Republican.
These days, most so called “ liberals “ won't even talk to you if you are a Republican. I have had clients who if they ever learned I was a Conservative won't ever buy from me.
An old pal of mine was a confirmed Democrat. Nothing really changed his mind and we'd argue all the time. He was a hard working, fun loving family man who'd always be around to help his friends.
I miss that guy a lot and consider him a first rate gentleman. Just because I did not agree with his politics didn't mean I could not see what made him a good man.
There are some leftists I will not support at the box office: Sean Penn, Danny Glover, and a few others. James Garner was not one of them, as far as I know he did not support third world dictators and he did get along with conservatives. I would not be able to view many movies if I judged actors and directors strictly along Party lines.
Let me entertain you
Let me make you smile
“Interestingly, when principled Democrat James Garner had to work with ultraconservative Mel Gibson...”
No bias here (eyes rolling).
Constitution says natural born citizen, 35 years of age; if 8 years of being governor of the largest state doesn't measure up , then Garner's only logic was the logic of hate.
Garner was a professional that did not allow his politics to overflow into his work as others have done.
Why even bring this up except to raise controversy on the day of the man’s death? Shame on the OP.
RIP James Garner. Thank you for bringing some well enjoyed entertainment into my life.
I’ll always remember James Garner on the original Rowan & Martin Laugh In, in one of those short bits.
On a blank stage, Garner meets the lovely (and black) Chelsea Brown. She gushes how much she admired him in Maverick & wherever she has seen in in cinema & goes on and on until he abruptly asks her, “Your place or mine?”
Ms. Brown coos, “Ooooh, Mister Garner!” and they walk off the stage together, arm in arm.
Suddenly, Wolfgang the German soldier appears and mutters,
“Verrrrry interesting! But right now, in Birmingham, dey are showing a test pattern!!”
Yup, Jimbo nailed the execrable Austrian Socialist.
Also in his memoir, James recounts being approached about running for U.S. Congress as a Republican in 1962.
It didnt stop them when I told them I was a Democrat
. They just thought I could win.
Charleton Heston was also a Democrat until 1964. Heston supported Stevenson and JFK and marched with MLK Jr in 1963.
A very common combination.
How’s his wife Mariette Hartley holding up?
My father was a conservative democrat. I think if he were alive today he would be a conservative independent.
And I believe James Garner was similar. I cannot see him walking hand in hand with Rock Hudson or any homosexual in a pride parade where men walk naked showing their disgusting private parts in view of children. I cannot see him speaking up for the race baiters be they Al Sharpton or Thad Cochran. I cannot see him speaking up for legalizing (amnesty) of millions and millions of lawbreakers. I cannot see him supporting government shoving its health care laws down everybody’s throats or sicking the IRS on political opponents.
He was 86 when he died. I did not see him championing anything democrat in his later years. Even 20 years ago the democrat party was far to the right of where it is today.
A democrat from the era that James Garner lived through is not even close to the democrats of today.
I knew Garner was a lib many years ago. Knowing the politics of certain actors or celebs doesn’t influence my opinion of their work. Garner was excellent at what he did. And however liberal he might have been, he was never the leftist, America-hater many Hollyweird celebs are.
John Wayne did “Rooster Cogburn” with Katherine Hepburn who was about as liberal as they came. They got along just fine from reports I’ve read about the flick.
They were never married, but they had great chemistry in all those ads. Lot’s of folks thought they were.
He was an FDR Democrat.
old school dems are nothing like progressives.
Reagan was an old school democrat.
progressives are the enemy. the parallels to how hydra hid and came to power in the new Captain America movie are extremely close
That’s a joke, right?
I agree with your comments.
Will add I respect him for his 14 months
of combat in the Korean War.Two PH`s.
Saw today he was a Red Devil as I was in VN.
So many great movies he made that will live on.
Don`t agree with his politics,but I will miss him.
One less dimocrat voter
James Garner may night be a Republican, but he was a great actor . RIP Bret and Jim.
I know too much about Truman to ever consider him even remotely “respectable”.
He was himself a veteran of our armed forces in time of war.
His treatment of some of those who served under him as Commander In Chief was execrable.
I wish FR had an edit button. Night is supposed to be not...
“I know Im not qualified”
This is supposed to be a citizen run government, so we are ALL qualified.
Ok, here’s how it works in Hollywood...
You have a nice face, someone says, “Hey, you ought to be in pictures”.
You can read a line, you get a gig, you don’t blow it, it results in a contract with an agent.
The agent shills for you, finds roles for you and collects ten per cent. You get a publicist and get some viz.
You land roles where you are told what to say, how to act, what to wear and how to ride a horse and look cool.
This guy was not a real cowboy or detective, didn’t cure cancer and really wasn’t married to Doris Day.
He did serve his country then got lucky in Hollywood. Case closed.
Let’s mourn guys like Salk who made iron lungs obsolete. Cheers!
This thread sure brings out the stupids and PC on race crowd
Are you sure?
You probably know more about him than I do. From my vantage point he seemed a respectable kind of guy.
Well said. Thank you. My dad (age 89) does not believe half of what I tell him about Democrats today. It is only in recent years (ie after Clinton) that he began to change his voting habits.
You are a person that gives a good lesson in facts.
So many people have heard the twisted version of the civil rights movement that they would be in complete denial as to what you have written and that is utterly appalling.
Maybe I’m a bit slow....but all I ever got from Garner on-screen was good acting, laughing entertainment and inspiration. In fact....the characters he played and how he played them might have led me to think he was a plain old middle of the road American.
Hope Jimmy gets a big hug from Rocky when he arrives in Heaven. I care not about his politics. Rest in peace Mr. Garner, I will always enjoy your character.
He was married to the same woman for some 50-odd years. He couldn’t have been too awful bad. A lot of people that grew up during the depression believe it was Hoover’s fault and that FDR got us out of it. That doesn’t make it so.
The guy who played his Father did look remarkably like him. They had the exact same nose.
In just a few episodes at the very beginning he had a different and very much more unpleasant guy portraying Rockford’s Father.