Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Remembering James Garner...



HALLIE EPHRON: I was saddened to see that James Garner died last week. Dead at 86 -- not a bad run. And I thought: was he adorable or what? I wish I'd met the guy just so I could say I did.

I had such a crush on him, first when he played Maverick with wry humor, his hat tipped back on his head. Then again, much older as Murphy Jones in Murphy's Romance when he ogles Sally Fields's behind as she grabs a bale of hay.

Could he really have been as nice as he seemed? So I read his obituary skimming past his considerable credits to find out that he grew up in an unhappy home (his stepmother beat him and his two older brothers) in Oklahoma where his father ran a country store. He got into acting on a lark. And... he was still married to the woman he married two weeks after he met her in 1956. And he had two daughters.

If you asked me why I was so in love with him it would be a) he's knock-down-dead gorgeous and b) he made me laugh.

Another actor I was mad about was Robert Mitchum. Look at him,
is he the anti-James Garner or what? He died at 79 in 1997, and his NY Times obit described him as "rugged with dignity." True to his image on screen, in real life he was hard-drinking, chain-smoking bad boy who slept around.

If you ask me why I had a thing for Robert Mitchum it would be: a) those hooded eyes were sexy as could be and b) he scared me to death.

If I had to pick, James Garner (white hat) or Robert Mitchum it would be no contest -- though I'm not saying which one or for what.

So today I'm asking you to reveal yourself. Who would you rather be (or be with)?


  • Robert Mitchum or James Garner?
  • Barbara Stanwyck or Debbie Reynolds?
  • John Boy or Walter White?
  • Sharon Stone or Cameron Diaz?
  • Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr.?
  • Jack Nicholson or Carey Grant?
  • Tina Fey or Sarah Silverman?
  • Jennifer Anniston or Jennifer Lopez?
Your answers will tell us everything we need to know about you.

50 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

Wow . . . okay, here goes:
tough choice between Robert Mitchum and James Garner --- both were great actors, but I guess I'd go with James Garner
I was going to say Barbara Stanwyck but there was Debbie Reynolds in "Singin' in the Rain"
John Boy
can't pick between Sharon Stone and Cameron Diaz
Benedict Cumberbatch
Carey Grant
Tina Fey
Jennifer Anniston

Not sure what that says about me, but . . . .

Ramona said...

James Garner
Debbie Reynolds
John Boy
Sharon or Cameron--neither. Pass.
CARY GRANT!!!!
Tina Fey
Jennifer Lopez? Maybe.

Now tell me what that tells about me.

Robert Mitchum was in The Night of the Hunter, which is the scariest damn movie ever. EV-ER. Hannibal Lecter is a wussy pussycat compared to Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter.

Ramona said...

Oh, I forgot the Cumberbatch! Although he can be a great bad guy (Atonement and War Horse.)

Ellen Kozak said...

Garner, every time. My earliest crush. Charlie Rose said (on CBS morning show) that he knew and liked him, and that one of his great regrets in life was that he had never taken him up on a golf invitation.

I don't know (or don't care) about most of the other pairings. Life is too short. But Cary Grant every time. (Remember that famous telegraph exchange with him? "How old Cary Grant?" "Old Cary Grant fine.") Handsome + humor = winning combination, ALWAYS.

Handsome + humor was why I was crazy about DeForest Kelley, a celebrity I did know. (And, come to think of it, Charlie Rose.)

And that's why-- he isn't on your list, but-- I'd have gone for JFK, big time. Or his son. I didn't like Reagan's politics, but I see the appeal-- handsome + humor. Especially self-deprecating humor.

Indeed, handsome + humor + intelligence + compassion and I'm a goner. Throw in blue eyes and that's all she wrote.

Reine said...

Hallie!

James Garner
Barbara Stanwyck
John Boy
I'm not familiar with Sharon Stone or Cameron Diaz.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr.
Cary Grant
Sarah Silverman
Jennifer Lopez

Hallie Ephron said...

Reine: Sarah Silverman!

Hallie Ephron said...

Ramona, love the 'maybe.'

Deb Romano said...

James Garner and Cary Grant (Cary, oh, Cary!)- forever!!!!

Everything I'd ever heard about James Garner makes me believe he was a nice guy in real life.

I don't have much of an opinion, positive or negative, on most of the other people mentioned. Some are people I've never heard of. I do have a strong (negative) opinion about one of the people, now that I think of it, but I won't say which one.

There are people (the one I don't like, and a couple of people not mentioned) whose movies I will never see because I. Just. Do. NOT. Like. Them.

But I'll ALWAYS love James and Cary!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ellen - I adore Charlie Rose!!! Thelma Straw in manhattan

Hallie Ephron said...

Charlie Rose?!? Really??

Kaye Barley said...

Fun!

James Garner
Barbara Stanwyck
John Boy
Cameron Diaz.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. (Great idea, Reine!)
Cary Grant
Tina Fey
Jennifer Anniston

Robert Mitchum had a summer home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland while I was growing up there. He ended up banned from several places 'cause he was easily provoked and quick to raise his fists. And his son would ride around the river in his boat cleaning out the local watermen's crab pots - not a cool thing to do.

Mary Sutton said...

Hallie, you're killing me.

James Garner
Debbie Reynolds (mostly because of Singin' in the Rain)
John Boy
Stone or Diaz? Is there a third choice here?
Cumberbatch or RDJ - I refuse to choose, I want them both.
Carey Grant (every time)
Fey or Silverman? Meh, I guess Fey has a small advantage
Jennifer Anniston

beth anderson said...

Never a desire to be anyone aside from who I am but would love to have known the following:

James Garner, my perennial favorite
Barbara Stanwyck, my hero in The Big Valley
Walter White (John Boy was a namby-pamby)
Cary Grant (multi-talented, too bad things couldn't have been different for him and Randolph Scott)

The others aren't worth mentioning with these folks.

Cyndi Pauwels said...

You don't make this easy, do you?

-James Garner?
-Debbie Reynolds?
-John Boy
-Sharon Stone (Diaz annoys me)
-Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr. - no way I can decide between these two!
-Jack Nicholson or Carey Grant? meh, I can take them or leave them
-Tina Fey
-Jennifer Anniston

Phew! At least you didn't ask me to choose between Kirk and Picard ;-)

Denise Ann said...

Jack Nicholson and I don't care about anyone else! I once met Jimmy Smits -- swoon.

Susan D said...

James
Debbie
John Boy (no, NOT a wuss! He stood up for what he believed in.)
Cary Cary Cary Cary.

Even if James Garner hadn't always played real nice guys, you'd have to love him for that series of Polaroid commercials he did with Mariette Hartley. Apparently they were so natural together everyone thought they were married.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt82z_GUCKw

Robert Mitchum: if you need any hint about how creepy his characters could be, check out The Night of the Hunter.

Hallie Ephron said...

Cyndi: Yes, yes!
Kirk or Picard?
Riker or Picard?
Spock or Data?
Data or Seven of Nine??

I'll go:
Picard
Riker
Data
Seven of Nine

Deborah Crombie said...

James Garner

Debbie Reynolds (Hey, no choice possible on this one...)

John Boy

Cameron Diaz, absolutely. I think she's a great comedic actress. Just watch The Holiday.

Going with Reine. Not choosing between Cumberbatch and Downey.

Cary, Cary, Cary!

Tina Fey

Jennifer... Lopez!

I suspect I failed the "Dark and Dangerous" test.

Rhonda Lane said...

James Garner - totally. Can't choose between Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. My brain exploded.

I'm not elegant enough for Cary Grant. I'd be "a sure thing" for JFK, but I'd talk horses with Reagan. And, actually, I'd probably talk horses with Jackie, too, so that would make JFK off-limits because of Horse Girl Solidarity.

Modern ladies I'd join for Chinese take-out and wine: Sarah Silverman, Sharon Stone (she's actually very funny), and Tina Fey. I imagine both Barbara Stanwyck and Debbie Reynolds would be a blast, too. Debbie's public image back in the day was squeakier than I suspect she really is.

Triss said...

James Garner, always forever. For me, you can't beat handsome plus funny. He was so memorable in Rockford, in Murphy's Romance, in Americanization of Emily.

Cumberbatch, because you also cant' beat smart. He'd be so interesting to hang out with

Cary Grant. No explanation needed!

I don't actually want to be any of the women. Barbara Stanwyk, maybe, but I don't really remember her in the movies. Maybe Tina Fey- I admire her a lot in real life- because she is funny and I am not.

Barb Ross said...

James Garner
Debbie Reynolds
Cameron Diaz
Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr.--both, of course
Jack Nicholson or Carey Grant--both
Tina Fey or Sarah Silverman-both, though Sarah in smallish doses
Jennifer Anniston or Jennifer Lopez--hmmm, both, though it's the Anniston of Friend with Money and the Lopez of Out of Sight

Judy said...


•James Garner!
•Debbie Reynolds
•John Boy or Walter White? Neither
•Cameron Diaz
•Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr.? BOTH!
•Cary Grant - Absolutely
•Tina Fey
•Jennifer Anniston or Jennifer Lopez? Meh.

Grandma Cootie said...

Oh, this is funny. Some fought choices. I have no idea what this will mean, probably that I have a split personality or something ;-).
James Garner, touch choice tho
Barbara Stanwyck
tough one, I think John Boy
Sharon Stone
Robert Downey, Jr. of course! (BC is good too)
Cary Grant!!! yes yes yes
Sarah Silverman
Jennifer Lopez

Or just replace everybody on the list with Cary Grant and RDJ running a close second!

Rhys said...

I skimmed down this list and realized I am a big old softie. Garner, Reynolds, Cary Grant... obviously I'll never write noir!

Fun post, Hallie.

FChurch said...

Hands down, James Garner and Cary Grant. Period. The rest aren't even in the same stratosphere. Well, except for Barbara Stanwyck and Debbie Reynolds, neither of whom I'd want to be--now, if you'd said Audrey Hepburn? Or that other Hepburn? ;-)

And Picard, all the way, baby!

Hallie Ephron said...

Never in a million years could I have predicted some of these choices! Fun fun fun!

Karen in Ohio said...

James Garner
Cary Grant
Tina Fey

The rest? Meh. No preference. Debbie Reynolds and Barbara Stanwyck, in competition? Totally different types.

The answer for everything else would be Tony Curtis, who was my first, and only, celebrity crush. He is brilliant and so, so sexy in Some Like it Hot. Even with glasses. Sigh.

Pat D said...

James Garner forever. I loved him as a kid and continued to this day.
Cary Grant-at least his movie persona
Benedict Cumberbatch looks interesting
Robert Downey Jr for sure. I saw him on a Graham Norton show and he was funny, kind, and witty.
Barbara Stanwyck was a hardworking lady. So is Debbie but she tends to whine.
The rest of them I don't really think about.
What did you think of Garner in Darby's Rangers or The Great Escape?

Cyndi Pauwels said...

Oh, no - look what I've started! all unique and special in their own way.

Yes, I'm a geek!Asking me to parse Star Trek is tougher than Hallie's original list, but here goes:

Picard...mostly, but Kirk is a sentimental favorite, too
Riker with a beard, but Picard...do love his mind (and his noir)
Spock or Data or Seven of Nine?? - no way I can decide here. They're

Deborah Crombie said...

Cyndi Pauwels, if I were a guy it would certainly be Seven of Nine:-)

Edith Maxwell said...

Fun quiz!
-James Garner - the first man I found sexy, way (way) before I even knew what that was.
-Barbara Stanwyck or Debbie Reynolds: No pref.
-John Boy or Walter White: Who?
-Cameron Diaz - she's matured so much as an actor.
-Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr.: They're both cute and talented.
-I'll take bad-boy Jack, thank you very much!
-I adore Tina Fey.
-Jennifer Anniston or Jennifer Lopez: I don't really go for either of them.

Hallie Ephron said...

Edith, I see you as much mor of a Jennifer Anniston type, but then I'd never have guessed you'd go for Jack.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

I'm not looking at anyone's answers until I post my own:

James Garner? (Mitchum too scary--I always see him in Cape Fear. ANd Night of the Hunter. SCARY.)

Barbara Stanwyck or Debbie Reynolds? (Not a fan of either, bizarrely. But I guess Debbie, from SIngin' in the Rain.)

Walter White? (Never understood the Waltons.)

Cameron Diaz ( I guess..Stone has a terrific attitude, though ,and great clothes.)

Robert Downey Jr.? (DOn't kill me, but I think he is terrific.)

Jack Nicholson or Cary Grant? (CARY! big time.)

Tina Fey BRILLIANT

Jennifer Anniston or Jennifer Lopez? (J-Lo. Jennifer Anniston is..ah, sadly, not that talented. I hate to say. Friends, great. Everything else, not so much. I feel kind of sorry for her.)

SO? What does that mean?

Kathy Reel said...

Oh, what fun! Here goes.

James Garnder -- Just so charming and delicious

Barbara Stanwyck -- She ruled the Big Valley with an iron fist and seemed a gutsy lady.

John Boy or Walter White -- This one is a bit difficult. While I admire John Boy's kindness and sense of what's good and right, I think I'd rather have a conversation with Walter White.

Sharon Stone -- Another gutsy lady, although Cameron might be okay if she didn't talk. Hehehe!

Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey, Jr. -- Really, how can you ask us to choose between these two?

Jack Nicholson -- Yes, I agree with Edith in my bad boy Jack preference.

Tina Fey or Sarah Silverman -- Tina Fey would win out, and I can imagine how much fun she would be to hang out with, but Sarah Silverman would be an interesting trip into the more bizarre corners of my mind.

Neither of the Jennifers appeal to me. In the grouping of Jennifers, I think Jennifer Garner would be my choice of conversation partner. The other two are just annoying.

Well, I started and ended with a Garner. Didn't plan it that way, but I like the symmetry of it.

Kim said...

Love this one though the first is a no-brainer. I ADORE James Garner. I watch Rockford over and over on Netflix - in fact I was in the middle of a Rockford marathon when I heard the news of his passing. I recently read an article that recalled an interview with Garner - when asked if he wanted to be famous, he said (I'm paraphrasing), "What I want is when people hear my name, it makes them smile." He definitely succeeded!

James Garner
Barbara Stanwyck or Debbie Reynolds? (I want to say Barbara Stanwyck, but I'm probably a Debbie Reynolds at heart)
John Boy or Walter White? (Don't know who Walter White is)
Cameron Diaz (Sharon Stone scares me a little)
Robert Downey Jr. has been my crush since I was 18!
Carey Grant (Jack Nicholson really scares me)
Tina Fey
Jennifer Anniston

Lisa Alber said...

A quiz -- I love a good quiz!

James Garner
Barbara Stanwyck for sure
Had to look up Walter White -- the Breaking Bad guy! Walter White for sure (never liked The Waltons -- bored me)
Hmmm ... Can we add Angelina Jolie to that one? I'd pick Jolie.
Oh Cumberbatch and Downey Jr. -- now that's a tough one -- can't decide
Carey Grant
Tina Fey for sure
Jennifer Lopez (I don't get the Aniston thing)

Ellen Kozak said...

Rhonda, if you want to know what Debbie R was really like, read the only slightly disguised memoir/novel "Postcards from the Edge." But a survivor, always a good thing.

Young (not fat) Kirk over Picard, but Picard over fat Kirk every time. Picard over fat (and dull) Riker (and even not-so-fat Riker) every time. Spock (because I've met Nimoy and he was very charming) over Data, but it's close (I really don't like ST:TNG, so Spock wins because I love TOS). Seven wins, but I like B'Elanna Torres too. And Worf over Data.

And Mark Harmon in any role whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

James Garner - so lovable
Debbie Reynolds - so cute!
John Boy - so ernest
Cameron Diaz - funny
Benedict Cumberbatch - fewer problems, I think
Jack Nicholson or Carey Grant? Neither
Sarah Silverman - still angry at Tina Fey for betraying our gender
Jennifer Lopez - nice, beautiful and talented

Ellen Kozak said...

Kathy Reel-- I am still holding it against Jennifer Garner that her character horned in on Felicity's romance. I won't go to see her in anything. I also won't go to see Angelina Jolie in anything. It's a variation on what Rhonda said about "horse girl solidarity." There is something called "Girls'Rules," and if you break them, don't count on having women friends.

Rhonda Lane said...

Kirk AND Picard because sometimes a girl likes craft beer and others a nice merlot. (Sometimes, you feel like a nut. Sometimes, you don't.)
As for other captains, I could listen to Sisko talk all day.

Spock over Data
Picard over Riker
Seven over Data
Chakotay over Riker
(Riker's all yours, Deanna.)

Hi, Ellen - I read Postcards and saw the movie and don't remember a lot of details, but do remember she might've been entertaining while passing (or, more likely, Bogarting) the shrimp lo mein at my imaginary take-out party. :) :)

Hallie Ephron said...

Oh my - Chakotay! I'd forgotten about him. I wasn't crazy about Voyager. Or the Deep Space Nine - except that Debs named one of her dogs after Jadzia Dax.

Anonymous said...

James Garner, Debbie Reynolds, Benedict Cumberback ,John Boy.neither Sharon or Cameron Cary Grant, Tina Fey pass on Jennifer Ruth Nixon

Reine said...

I have to ask. Are people confusing Walter White with Ralph Waite?

Kathy Reel said...

Reine, no confusion on my part about Walter White, but I'm sure that I'm showing my dark side in choosing him over John Boy.

Yikes, Ellen I didn't realize that Jennifer Garner could be controversial. Hehehe! Oh, and I think Postcards from the Edge is what keeps me from being a big Debbie Reynolds fan.

Rochelle Staab said...

How fun!
For me...
James Garner
Barbara Stanwyck
JB or WW? Didn't watch either show (what does that say?)
Sharon Stone
Robt Downey Jr.
Cary Grant
Tina Fey
J-Lo

Bev Fontaine said...

Love James Garner, but Robert Mitchum could be funny as well as scary (Very scary!)
I've read that Barbara stanwyck was wonderful to younger actors, and she was so talented, so Barbara it is.
John Boy over Walter White
I don't like Sharon Stone or Cameron Diaz - both too full of themselves
Benedict Cumberbatch - he can be good or bad, serious or funny - and oh so sexy!
Cary Grant by a mile
Tina Fey
Don't like either Jennifer. I agree with Kathy Reel. Jennifer Garner is great.
This was lots of fun and made me think about what kinds of people I admire, for different reasons.

Deborah Crombie said...

Hallie, yes, Dax says "Hi" to all the trekkies out there:-) (And reminds everyone once again that she is a GIRL!)

Nancy Schwalen said...

James Garner
Neither Barbara or Debbie (but why not Audrey H or Kate H or Bette D?)
Neither John boy or Walter White
Neither Cameron or Sharon (haven't seen movies by either of them)
Cary Grant
Cumberbatch (and also Jeremy Brett of the 1980s versions)
Tina Fey
Neither Jennifer

JKW said...

I'd rather be me and hands down Jack Nicholson to be with. My late hubby 'looked' like Robert Mitchum and he wanted to be an actor (not because of that). He was excellent in the school and community playhouse plays. He even wrote and produced them in the community. Blessings, Janet

Anonymous said...

Given the choices:

James Garner
Barbara Stanwyck (lovely person in real life too)
John Boy
skip this one
Cary Grant (I met his daughter at a book event)
Tina Fey

IMHO, I think Jennifer Aniston did Not have to lose 20 pounds ~ she looked good at 130 lbs. and she had dark curly hair. Jennifer Lopez grew into her looks and is way better looking after she had her twins. There is something about her looks that improved over the years.