James Garner was never good with women. Hard to believe, we know. The suave Hollywood heartthrob just didn’t function well around women. In fact, he even went so far as to say that he would get “scared” around them. In 1981 the star was asked by Panorama Magazine if romance frightened him, to which he replied no. Romance didn’t frighten him. Rather, it scared him. “I can’t talk ‒ I’m afraid I might do something or say something wrong, that they’ll dislike me. So I don’t do anything ‒ it’s my own fear,” Garner said.
That might be a shocking revelation for some, as the actor traditionally stuck to playing roles of self-assured and confident men. Even though he dealt with self-proclaimed confidence issues, he still managed to find love. He was married to Lois Clarke for 58 years.
Garner met his wife at a Democratic presidential rally in 1956. After that night, the two reportedly spent every night together for two weeks. His 2011 memoir, “The Garner Files,” says that it was love at first sight between James and Lois. “She was as beautiful as she was sweet,” Garner wrote. “I was nuts about her from the moment we met. Still am.”
They were married not long after they met, despite their families disapproving of their relationship. Garner’s family didn’t believe in marriage and thought the couple had too many differences. To his family, even their differences in height were too great for their marriage to be successful. They had differences in upbringing too, with Garner being raised in small-town Oklahoma and Clarke growing up in fast-paced Los Angeles. Against all odds, they stayed married until James died in 2014.
The Push to Keep Garner’s Legacy Alive
James Garner’s daughter, Gigi, has been making every effort to keep the spirit of her dad alive today. A lot of that includes talking about who he was as a person. So many people know the Maverick and Rockford Files actor as the characters he played on those shows. Gigi says that was only one part of who he was, and was certainly not an accurate depiction of her father.
In an interview with Closer Weekly, Gigi talks about who her dad was offscreen. We already know that he had confidence issues with women, but there was so much more that Gigi could tell us about him. “The truth about my dad is that people think he’s like he was on TV, but there were many sides to his personality,” she said during her interview. “He was funny and jovial; in fact, the funniest person I ever knew, so witty and so quick. At the same time, he was shy and introverted in some respects.” Even in death, we’re sure his memory will live on through his daughter’s storytelling and his many industry friends.