James Garner played the handsome, likeable rogue Bret Maverick in the western series of the same name, the handsome, likeable rogue James Rockford in the Rockford Files, the handsome, likeable rogue in... well, you get the idea. But, Garner was the handsome leading man with flaws and imperfections. It was very easy to identify with the characters he played, because he infused humanity into the characters, and the reality that just because he may be a marquee idol, not everything was going to work out for him, much as it hasn't for the rest of us.
Over the course of his career, Garner was the master of almost happily ever after. Things may not have gone as he'd planned, but they turned out pretty darn good, and hey! Life is good, so, I guess there's hope for the rest of us! He was entertaining to watch and, as I said, easy to identify with. And he never seemed to let fame and leading man good looks go to his head. He could be the quintessential 'guy next door'. He was 86.
Rest in peace, Mr. Garner.
Maverick's debut was in 1957,
Rockford in 1974