Matt Douglas (James Garner): "Let's stop talking. We're about to bond. It'll make me vomit." My Fellow Americans, 1996
James Garner boasted an amazing resume. A member of the Merchant Marine at sixteen, he served in the US Army in Korea, and was twice awarded the Purple Heart. He found acting as a career. Reports of his death yesterday at 86 recall his role in Maverick, as well as the long-running TV show The Rockford Files. He played a scrounger in the WWII POW movie The Great Escape, a ner-do-well drifter turned lawman in Support Your Local Sheriff and, of all things, an aging astronaut in Space Cowboys.
I remember him best as former President Matt Douglas in the movie My Fellow Americans. Cast opposite the late Jack Lemmon (as Republican former President Russell Kramer), he played a Democrat loosely styled after Bill Clinton. The story contained aspects of sinister power politics, murder and mayhem. At its heart was the chemistry between Garner and Lemmon, each a sturdy foil for the other. He'd probably been in better movies and had meatier roles (nominated for an Academy Award for Murphy's Romance). His wry sense of humor, as well as a commanding presence blended perfectly to Lemmon's post-office corporate shill. A good time is had by all, save for the villain who.... But that would spoil everything.
He was also a lifelong Democrat. Alas, nobody is perfect.