The Rockford Files star James Garner has died, aged 86.
Emergency services were called to his Los Angeles home on Saturday evening, and the actor was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a report by TMZ.com.
He died of natural causes, an officer from the Los Angeles Police Department told the Reuters news agency.
Garner is best known as detective Jim Rockford, the title character of crime series The Rockford Files. The series ran from 1974 to 1980 and he later reprised the role in the 1990s for several TV movies. He was nominated for his role at the Emmy Awards for five consecutive years and eventually won the accolade in 1977.
The actor is also famous for his leading role in western TV series Maverick, which began in the 1950s. He later co-starred with Mel Gibson in the 1994 big screen version.
He also appeared in 1963 movie classic The Great Escape, Grand Prix in 1966 and 1985’s Murphy’s Romance, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. His last notable film credit was in romance drama The Notebook in 2004.
In 2008, Garner suffered a stroke and had worked little since.
Moviemaker Ron Howard, Carole King and Marlee Matlin have led the early tributes to Garner.
Howard recalled the actor’s role in 1966 movie Grand Prix, noting, “RIP James Garner. Admired by all who knew him. When starring in Grand Prix the people around F1 (Formula One) said he had the talent to be a pro driver,” while singer/songwriter King remembered working with Garner on the set of Murphy’s Romance, adding, “He was one of the nicest people”.
Matlin tweets, “Now sad to read my dear friend & costar James Garner passed. RIP sweet Jim Rockford,” and Forrest Gump star Gary Sinise, writes, “R.I.P James Garner. Such a lovely man I had the pleasure of working him in 1989 in My Name Is Bill W with James Woods”, while Kaley Cuoco – Garner’s TV granddaughter in 8 Simple Rules – adds, “I say this with a heavy broken heart. Was an honor working beside u receiving ur bear hugs every day. (love) u Grampa Jim (sic).”
Other tributes have come from singer LeAnn Rimes, Alan Cumming, Stephen Fry, former child star Haley Joel Osment, and Sally Field, who writes, “My heart just broke. There are few people on this planet I have adored as much as Jimmy Garner. I cherish every moment I spent with him and relive them over and over in my head. He was a diamond.” Field starred alongside Garner in Murphy’s Romance, which earned the actor an Oscar nomination.