Pop Culture

OKPOP Museum Announces New Collection from Legendary Actor James Garner

The OKPOP Museum is happy to announce it has acquired artifacts from beloved film and television actor and native son of Norman, OK, James Garner. Items include Garner’s costume from Maverick, artifacts from the film The Notebook, photos from the historic March on Washington, and dozens of photos of him with familiar faces like Dean Martin, Natalie Wood, Martin Luther King, Jr., Queen Elizabeth, and many more.

Before James Garner became a fixture on television and movie screens, he was born James Scott Bumgarner in Norman, OK, on April 7, 1928, where his journey took him from wartime—where he earned two Purple Hearts for his bravery in the Korean War—to showtime, with his breakout role as the adventuresome card shark in the television series, Maverick, which aired for the first time on September 22, 1957. He later played a private eye in The Rockford Files and appeared in dozens of movies throughout his long career. Garner passed away in 2014 at the age of 86. Since then, daughter Gigi Garner has felt a duty to ensure her father is remembered not only as an actor, but as a father, a friend, and an Oklahoman.

“It feels like my job to make sure people remember him, especially in Oklahoma,” said Garner. “My father was most proud of being an Oklahoman. And I want people in Oklahoma and all over the world to know that.”

The acquisition of this collection would not have been possible without the OKPOP Foundation, OKPOP Museum’s nonprofit fundraising group. Thanks to the efforts of the OKPOP Foundation, artifacts from the James Garner Family Estate are back home and will be part of OKPOP’s “Imagined Worlds” exhibit, which will highlight Oklahoma creatives from film, television, literature, visual arts, and more.

“From Maverick to the Rockford Files to The Ultimate Gift, Mr. Garner is arguably one of the most iconic actors to come from Oklahoma,” said D. Scott Petty, chair of the OKPOP Foundation Board and SVP of Business Development for Oklahoma with Simmons Bank. “He was a remarkable man with a compelling life story, and it feels good knowing that his legacy will be documented and preserved for generations to come at the OKPOP Museum.”

“I’m excited to be there along with so many other family members to celebrate, and hopefully to meet and talk to people who are fans of my father in the place he loved so much,” said Garner.

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