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Actor James Garner Dead at 86

Actor James Garner Dead at 86

Mark Mainz/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- James Garner, the actor who helped re-define the western and detective genres on television, died Saturday at his California home. He was 86.

Garner first gained fame in the late 1950s on the TV comedy series Maverick. At a time when traditional Westerns were a staple of primetime TV fare, Garner's wisecracking Bret Maverick -- a gambler who'd rather run than fight but who could outdraw most gunfighters -- was a tremendous hit, and made Garner a star.

Garner left Maverick after three seasons and built a film career, starring in both comedies and dramas, including the classic 1963 war drama The Great Escape and two hit romantic comedies opposite Doris Day.

In 1974, Garner returned to television in the comedy-drama The Rockford Files. Garner's take on Jim Rockford, a Los Angeles detective who lived with his father in a run-down mobile home and drove a Pontiac Firebird, was an even bigger hit than Maverick, airing for six seasons and earning Garner a best actor Emmy in 1977. Like Maverick did with Westerns, The Rockford Files in many ways redefined the TV private detective show, and paved the way for similar hits, such as Magnum P.I.

Garner continued to switch between TV and film in his later years, and was nominated for an Oscar in 1985 for starring opposite Sally Field in the romantic comedy Murphy’s Romance.

His later films included 1994's Maverick, with Mel Gibson playing the title role and Garner starring as his father.

Garner also appeared in 2000's Space Cowboys opposite Clint Eastwood, 2004's The Notebook, and had a role on the TV sitcom 8 Simple Rules.

Garner's autobiography, The Garner Files: A Memoir, was published in 2011. In 2005, Garner received the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

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“30 Rock” Star Tracy Morgan in Critical Condition After NJ Car Crash

“30 Rock” Star Tracy Morgan in Critical Condition After NJ Car Crash

ABC/Randy Holmes(CRANBURY, NJ) --  Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was injured in a car crash on the N.J. Turnpike early Saturday morning, a State Police spokesperson told ABC News.A spokesman at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital said Morgan, who starred in NBC's 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live, is listed in critical condition. He and his party were riding in a chauffeured Mercedes Sprinter, a limo-type bus, and were returning from a tour date in Delaware when the multi-car accident occurred.  There were seven people on the bus at the time of the collision.One person, identified by New Jersey State Police as James McNair, 63, was killed in the crash. Three others, including Morgan's assistant Jeff Millea and comedians Ardie Fuqua and Harris Stanton, were injured, police said. McNair was a comedy writer for Morgan and the two were longtime friends. Millea is also listed in critical condition, said an official briefed on the investigation.

Lewis Kay, a representative for Morgan, released a statement on Saturday morning, saying that the comedian "remains in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital," adding, "His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care."

Morgan's representatives do not expect "much of a change in his condition today," but added that they will "provide a further update once more information becomes available."The six-vehicle crash happened in the northbound lanes at mile marker 71.5 near New Brunswick about 1 a.m., according to N.J. State Police. The crash was essentially a chain reaction that began when the driver of a tractor trailer "failed to observe slow-moving traffic" ahead of him -- possibly because he had dozed off. The driver tried to swerve away from the vehicle containing Morgan and others at the last moment, but failed, and rear-ended Morgan's vehicle.  All of those injured in the crash were on board the bus,  the New Jersey State Police said. 

Multiple charges have now been filed against the truck driver, identified as Kevin Roper, including one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.  Morgan's performance Saturday night in Charlotte, N.C., was cancelled.

Among the celebrities tweeting prayers and get-well wishes to Morgan: frequent SNL guest host Steve Martin, former SNL cast members Rachel Dratch and Chris Rock, 30 Rock guest star Chloe Grace Moretz, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Marlon Wayans, George Lopez, Bob Saget, Mike Epps, Rob Riggle, Questlove of The Roots, Andy Richter, Russell Simmons, Mary J. Blige, Ice T, Rosanne Barr, Joan Rivers, Josh Groban and actors Kevin Brown and Grizz Chapman, who played Dot Com and Grizz, members of Morgan's character's entourage, on 30 Rock.

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Comedian David Brenner Dead at 78

Comedian David Brenner Dead at 78 DavidBrennerSite.com(NEW YORK) -- David Brenner, a comedian who appeared on The Tonight Show more often than any other guest, has died, ABC News Radio has confirmed.  He was 78. Brenner died in New York City surrounded by his children, according ...

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“Fast and The Furious” Star Paul Walker Dead at 40, Killed in Car Accident

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Contractor Sues Jennifer Aniston over Unpaid Bill

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