How ‘Maverick’ Star James Garner Had ‘Different Mindset’ About Hollywood, According to His Daughter

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by L. J. Willinger/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

Legendary actor and Maverick star James Garner was as influential as he was prominent in entertainment media. Interestingly, his daughter said he had a “different mindset” regarding Hollywood compared to most people.

Fox News spoke to Gigi Garner last year about her father’s work and keeping his legacy alive. Later in the interview, she shared he looked at the world a bit differently than most did at the time. “He had a very different mindset and went about things, even in the industry, much differently than other people did,” said Gigi. “He had a core sense of moral values…He was truly an exemplary human being. He marched on Washington with Martin Luther King when it was not a popular thing to do.”

Additionally, this mindset extended more than the entertainment industry and moral values. James was resolute in his beliefs and stood up for them if needed. “He sued a major studio while being threatened, ‘You’ll never work in this town again.’ Over Maverick, of course,” Gigi disclosed. “He won that lawsuit. He also sued over Rockford. My dad was very convinced in his beliefs and if he believed he was in the right, he was going to stand up for that.”

Gigi also disclosed Garner always wanted to learn new skills and was eager to try new things. For instance, when he did Grand Prix, Gigi said he did his own stunts and learned how to be a race car driver. “He loved to work; that was his thing. Whatever it was, he was the first one there in the morning.”

‘NCIS’ Star Mark Harmon Took James Garner’s Advice to Heart

To this day, Mark Harmon’s career is thriving, especially with his long-established role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS. As it turns out, his successful career and professional outlook may have been in large part because of a piece of advice James Garner gave him.

Serving as Harmon’s mentor, the late actor naturally passed on a lot of useful advice regarding the profession. Speaking to TVInsider in 2017, Harmon discloses advice he keeps close to his chest to this day.

“Choose your mentors carefully,” Harmon said. “A big one for me was James Garner. That was the kind of career I wanted. Jim would always say, ‘I don’t care who’s the No. 1 guy in the business right now. That doesn’t last. I just want to be in that Top 10 for 30 years!’ For him, it was all about the long haul. I never forgot that.”

Though his tenure on NCIS seems to be up, there’s no denying how long and pronounced Harmon’s career has been. His film and movie appearances begin in the early 70s and he’s still going strong today.