James Garner and Lois Clarke did nearly the impossible for both Hollywood couples and the average married couple. They met, married, and remained in each other’s corner for nearly a lifetime. The couple was reaching nearly 58 years of marriage before the actor passed in 2014 from a heart attack at the age of 86.
14 Day Romance
In 1956 James Garner had yet to become a famous actor in movies and tv shows. The pair met at a friend’s pool party and again a few days later at a Democratic presidential rally. Garner asked her out to dinner that night. She accepted and they proceeded to have dinner together every night for the fourteen nights. Then, against the advice of some friends, but mostly family, they got married. Their families didn’t think that two would work out because of their backgrounds and religious views.
While Lois Clarke was local to Los Angeles and from a Jewish background, the soon to be movie star, Garner, was Methodist and from Oklahoma. There was also the fact that Lois had a daughter, Kimberly, from a previous marriage. Garner later adopted her and the Hollywood couple had another daughter Gigi Garner, a few years later.
The Rockford Files
Over the years that the two were married, the their love story would face its own set of trials. One of which was the eighteen-month separation during the filming of The Rockford Files. According to Garner, he and his wife Lois were never in any real danger. They separated due to the pressures that The Rockford Files was putting on him. He is quoted telling People magazine that “Ninety-nine percent of the problem was the pressures of Rockford. It wasn’t us, it was me needing to get away to get my head together.”
Garner made the effort to keep good working relationships with the actresses he worked with, but to keep even better relationship with his wife. He will be forever remembered for being a wonderful actor appearing in roles from Maverick, 8 Simple Rules, Grand Prix, The Children’s Hour, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and The Notebook. He will also always be remembered for being a dedicated, caring husband.