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James Garner will publish a memoir, 'The Garner Files,' with Simon & Schuster

March 30, 2011 |  8:15 am

Simon & Schuster announced Wednesday that it will publish a memoir by James Garner. "The Garner Files" is due to hit shelves in November 2011.

“I’ve avoided writing a book until now because I feel like I’m really pretty average, and I didn’t think anyone would care about my life. I’m still a little uncomfortable, but I finally agreed, because people I trust persuaded me people might be interested and because I realized it would allow me to acknowledge those who’ve helped me along the way. I talk about my childhood, try to clear up some misconceptions, and even settle a score or two,” Garner said in a press release.

Simon & Schuster's publisher, Jonathan Karp, added, “This book is charming and disarming and always entertaining -- just like James Garner, or Jim Rockford, or Bret Maverick.  And it’s the story of a big American life, from growing up in Oklahoma during the Depression to the Korean War and to Hollywood stardom.”

The 82-year-old actor -- just a week shy of 83 -- was born in Norman, Okla. He left home as a teenager and went to serve in the Korean War, where he earned two purple hearts. He had a variety of small television roles before landing on "Maverick" in 1957 -- his on-screen persona in the western was so appealing that he soon became its focus.

Garner carried that persona -- handsome and likable, using wits more than brawn, and just wry enough to let on he wasn't taking things to seriously -- onto the big screen as well in light comedies like "Support Your Local Sheriff!"

In 1974, he returned to series television as the star of "The Rockford Files." James Rockford, a private detective, traverses L.A. in pursuit of bad guys and willing women, always just making barely enough to scrape by.  The show is a marvelous time capsule, beginning every episode with someone leaving a message on Rockford's enormous answering machine, which is set up in his run-down trailer -- on what must now be a million-dollar Malibu promontory. (Irrelevant side note: I love this show so much that it was the first thing I streamed when I got my hands on an iPad).

Garner's later roles include an Oscar-nominated performance in "Murphy's Romance" (1985) and a semi-regular role on the ABC sitcom "8 Simple Rules." He's also appeared in literary adaptations: "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood," "Roughing It" (as Mark Twain) and in "Marlowe" as Raymond Chandler's classic detective.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: James Garner in the 1969 movie "Marlowe," based on Raymond Chandler's "The Little Sister." Credit: MGM