Maverick and The Rockford Files made James Garner a TV star in the '50s, '60s and '70s, but the actor's none too fond of the small screen these days. After CBS cancelled his low-rated Supreme Court drama First Monday — where he presided as a right-wing justice — Garner says he'll stick to movies.
"After this last fiasco with CBS, it would take a lot of talking to get me to do television again," says Garner, who co-stars in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (opening Friday). "I don't think the business knows what they want. I don't think they have a clue — and I guarantee that if they'd left First Monday on, it would still be on six years from now."
Despite this latest setback, Garner maintains a breezy attitude about his 48 years in showbiz. He recalls taking up acting "just on the spur of the moment" when he grew bored of carpet-laying with his father.
"It took me three or four years to decide if I liked acting," he smiles. "I gave myself until I was 30 to see if I could make a living out of it. [By then], I had starred in a TV series and a couple of movies. I said, 'I could go another five years.' And by the time I was 50, I found myself with a career!"
Despite the youth-obsessed nature of entertainment today, the 74-year-old Hollywood staple keeps on working. What's his secret? "I've just been lucky, I guess, to get the right thing at the right time to keep me going," he modestly muses. "I think every five years you need a big picture, and fortunately, I have [had that]."