Bumgarner hated garlic. Hated it. He could smell it a mile away. Yet that
hatred may have saved the lives of his army unit during the Korean War. In his
memoir, he describes smelling the garlic wafting in the air from the direction
of North Korean positions. The North's soldiers gradually came closer, and
Bumgarner alerted his unit, which was able to shut down that advance.
Bumgarner. Must have been a geeky nerd.
James Scott Bumgarner was born in Norman, Oklahoma, on April 7, 1928. His
father's disastrous marriage to a stepmother who abused the children led to a
divorce. Father Weldon went to California and James joined the Merchant Marine.
His delicate digestive system came into play and he mustered out with constant
Bumgarner bounced between California and Oklahoma, attending Hollywood High,
modeling men's bathing suits, and playing high school football back home.
Then Korea. Then Hollywood. You know what comes next. Maverick
. Mid-1960s success on the movie screen. His marriage to Mariette
Hartley. An Academy Award nomination for his role in Murphy's Romance
OK, one of those is an urban legend. Another urban legend about Garner vastly
blew up the Korean garlic nose thing. But what I told you about that was true.
James Garner died at age 86 on July 19, 2014, in Los Angeles. He had been
married to his wife Lois, who survives him, since 1954. She had brought her one
daughter into the marriage, and they had another.
I know. I didn't tell you much about his career. Why bother repeating all the
details when I can leave you with this Jantzen swimming suit ad
Did I mention how much I loved him?
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