Jack Edward Garner, who appeared in more than 60 episodes of “The Rockford Files” alongside his younger brother, series star James Garner, died Tuesday, Sept. 13, near his home in Palm Springs. He was 85.
Jack Garner also appeared in bit parts in a number of films. He was a former minor-league baseball player in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and onetime lead singer in the house band at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles.
Garner began appearing in small roles on television in the late 1960s, guesting on “The Green Hornet,” “The Doris Day Show,” “Daniel Boone,” “Love, American Style,” “Medical Center,” “Gunsmoke” and “The Bionic Woman,” among other shows. He played a variety of small parts on “The Rockford Files” and later played Jack the Bartender on James Garner series “Bret Maverick” in 1981-82.
Later he returned to appear with his brother in a series of “Rockford Files” telepics with his brother from 1996-99.
Garner’s bigscreen work included roles in Blake Edwards’ “Wild Rovers” and “Sunset,” the latter starring James Garner, as well as “Maverick” and “My Fellow Americans,” both with his brother.
Jack Edward Bumgarner was born in Norman, Okla., together with his two brothers. After their mother died, the boys were shuttled around to different relatives while the senior Bumgarner got married a couple more times. Jack and Jim eventually moved to Los Angeles to catch up with their father.
Garner is survived by his wife, Betty; a daughter; and his youngest brother, Jim, whom he always affectionately called “Babe.”