It's a sad day for those of us who love being entertained and love cars, because actor and lifelong gearhead James Garner just died. The star of The Rockford Files died at 86 of causes not yet revealed, in his home in Los Angeles.
Garner, after starring in the racing movie Grand Prix, found that he had a real aptitude for racing — real F1 drivers consulting on the film told him that had he not been an actor, he could have been a formidable racer. That started his long passion for racing and cars.
Garner was so interested in cars and racing that he even sought out novel means to share his love with family and friends, thanks to a bizarre one-off four-seat Indy car he had built. Cars continued to be prominent in his work, with his iconic series The Rockford Files featuring a Firebird that was almost as important a character to the show as Garner himself.
Garner extolled the virtues of smooth rotary engines to America as spokesperson for Mazda in the 1980s, and even came up with a novel sort of J-turn for his television show that was named "the Rockford turn."
Garner was a fine actor, a genuine lover of cars, and a surprisingly talented driver. He will be missed.