James Garner's 'The Garner Files': 5 Revelations From the Actor's Candid New Memoir

11:18 PM PST 11/01/2011 by THR staff

In what's being described as a "juicy tell-all," the actor reveals he once did cocaine with John Belushi and calls friend Steve McQueen an insecure poseur.


James Garner, best known for his starring roles in the TV series Maverick and The Rockford Files, has written a new memoir that critics are calling "a juicy tell-all, classic Hollywood style."

Indeed, the actor doesn't hold back in the book, titled The Garner Files, which was co-authored by Jon Winokur. That quote is from the Christian Science Monitor, which also describes the book as "a classic tale of making it in Hollywood fueled ... with Garner’s good lucks, fortune, charm, and sense of humor."

In the memoir, Garner shares several revelations with readers about his life and career. Among them:

1. He has a history with drugs. Garner writes that he smoked pot for most of his adult life and even did a little cocaine with John Belushi.

2. He's ultra-political. He calls himself a "bleeding-heart liberal" who considers Adlai Stevenson the most intelligent man to have run for president, with Barack Obama a close second.

3. He has strong opinions about his fellow actors, and not all positive. Garner calls his friend Steve McQueen an insecure poseur and not much of an actor. He labels Charles Bronson, another co-star from the 1963 movie The Great Escape, bitter and belligerent.

4. He rates only two of his movies as excellent. He gives high praise to The Americanization of Emily and The Notebook. Of the anti-war drama Emily, he writes: "Audiences have come around to it, and it's now a cult favorite and a minor classic. Unfortunately, it hasn't put war out of style." He also considers Grand Prix and Murphy's Romance pretty good, but the rest of his movies he considers only average or even just plain awful.

5. He got into acting by accident. While working at a Shell station, Garner met a soda jerk who told him that his good looks could make him a big star. After serving in Korea, he came back to find out that the soda jerk was a stage producer, gave him a non-speaking role in the stage production of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, where he learned how to act by watching Henry Fonda night after night.

The book, from Simon & Schuster, is 282 pages and retails for $25.99.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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