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The 4 best movies starring the late James Garner

July 23, 2014

Referred to by AARP as "Hollywood's whimsical hero," James Garner played more than 90 roles on the big screen before he passed away July 19 at the age of 86. A top actor, devoted family man and committed husband, Garner will be missed by many. Gather a group of movie lovers and watch some of the acclaimed actor's top films to celebrate his life.

"The Notebook"
One of his most modern films, The Notebook is one of the most highly regarded movies of the millennial generation and stars Garner alongside Gena Rowlands, Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. An older man visits a woman at an assisted living community and tells her a classic love story between two young adults from different socioeconomic backgrounds. If you haven't seen this yet - or even if you have - make sure you have tissues ready, as it's a serious tearjerker.

"The Great Escape"
Garner appeared in the film with actor and real-life friend Steve McQueen, who Garner considered both a rebel and a younger brother, according to CNN. The two were neighbors at their homes in Los Angeles. Together, they co-starred in the movie, which told the story of two prisoners of war who together planned an escape from a German camp in World War II. The film was nominated for five awards and took home four, including Best Actor, Top Ten Films, reported the Internet Movie Database.

James Garner only played a few movie roles before starring in this 1957 film, and decided around that time to modify his name, according to The New York Times. Born James Bumgarner, the actor removed the first syllable from his last name following the movie. Garner starred alongside Marlon Brando in the film, which was based on James Michener's novel set in Japan about the romance between a U.S. air force major and a female performer. If you haven't already seen it, it's worth a viewing - according to IMDb, it won eight awards.

"Space Cowboys"
A movie that appeases both fans of classic westerns and those who prefer more modern stories, Space Cowboys was filmed in 2000 and starred some of the top men in the industry, noted IMDb. Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones and Garner appeared in the movie, which told the story of a few older men who reunited to travel to space for a special project. It was nominated for seven awards, including an Oscar.