james garner

James Garner, One Of Hollywood’s Most Handsome Leading Men, Dies At 86

10492404_10203195702706681_714985362022477901_n Veteran screen actor James Garner, who starred in beloved comedies such as Victor Victoria and hit TV series like The Rockford Files, has died at age 86 of natural causes. With rugged good looks, thick dark hair, an ease with a wisecrack and a low-key demeanor, Garner at the beginning of his career was thought to be a possible heir to Cary Grant and Clark Gable leading man status.

He first grabbed national attention with The Maverick, a TV western with a comic edge that ran from 1957-62. Garner starred in a series of films during the 1960s including The Thrill of It All and Move Over, Darling, two popular comedies opposite Doris Day, as well as the WWII epic The Great Escape. In 1962 he costarred with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine in the drama The Children’s Hour, one of the first studio dramas with a lesbian storyline. The actor returned to series television with the long-running detective series The Rockford Files, which showcased his easy-going appeal and won him an Emmy Award.

The role that made him best-known to LGBT audiences (and Queerty readers) was certainly the 1982 hit musical comedy Victor Victoria, in which he played a mobster forced to question his sexual orientation when he falls for a male impersonator played by Julie Andrews. Garner won an Academy Award nomination for the 1985 comedy Murphy’s Law and had another big hit in the 2004 romantic drama The Notebook.

Scroll down to see why Garner was such an appealing leading man. images james-garner-L-uBMHHk tumblr_ly828c6d4Y1r5yygpo1_500 MV5BMTM1Nzk2NTA3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzEzODI0NA@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_ james_garner james-garner-drinking james-garner-julie-andrews

PHOTOS: Favorite TV Hunks Of The 1970s

Clint EastwoodThere was all that hubbub last week about the hotness of Clint Eastwood’s son. Sure, we concur, Clint’s kid is dreamy. But what was most surprising to us was that there was such surprise at all. Of course Clint’s offspring is swoon-worthy, people! Before Clint was talking to empty chairs and grumbling through all his roles on the big screen as grumpy old men, he was quite the looker himself.

We all get old(er), people…if we’re lucky. So show some respect for the handsome men of decades past.  That’s why we’ve found inspiration in Clint (handsome as all heck on TV’s Rawhide (1959-1965) and his son decided to take a look back at television hunks from the last 30 years…and seeing what they look like today. We begin our three-part series with the handsome men of the 1970s (known to us only through exhaustive research, of course, not firsthand knowledge). We could do this all day, but here’s our Top 10. And, yeah, we know you’re going to have something to say about who we forgot or missed, but that’s what the comments are for.

Erik Estrada

Erik Estrada in CHiPS (1977-1983)

That handsome mug, the motorcycle, those boots, the authority — can someone get us a glass of water and a cigarette? — had us living for being pulled over on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Hardy Boys

Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson in The Hardy Boys (1977-1979)

Why pick just one when you can have two at your disposal? That’s the way we think anyway.

Michael Landon

Michael Landon in Little House on The Prairie (1974-1983)

Now we know why our mothers were obsessed with this goody two-shoes show: They just wanted to get down and dirty with Pa Ingalls in the barn! Yeah, us, too. Sadly, Landon died from pancreatic cancer in 1991 at the age of 54.

Lyle Waggoner

Lyle Waggoner in The Carol Burnett Show (1967-74), Wonder Woman (1975-1979)

Sure, we all watched Wonder Woman because we loved everything about her, but having Waggoner around to leer at certainly didn’t hurt matters (like this pic from his 1976 Playgirl pictorial).

Clarence Williams

Clarence Williams III in The Mod Squad (1968-1973)

That afro and those ever-present sunglasses made him the coolest cat in school, and while we thought we wanted to be just like him, we realize we really just wanted to be with him.

James Garner

James Garner in The Rockford Files (1974-1980)

His television career spans several decades, but he began turning heads in the 1950s with Maverick. One of his most memorable roles was playing a private dick in The Rockford Files.

Michael Ontekean

Michael Ontkean in The Rookies (1972-1976)

He skated around the ice wearing nothing but a jock strap in Slap Shot (1977), played Kate Jackson’s gay husband in Making Love (1982), but it was all his cop-and-cuffs cuteness in The Rookies that had us at hello.

Peter Lupus

Peter Lupus in Mission: Impossible (1966-1973)

We would have taken Peter Graves or Greg Morris from Mission: Impossible, too, but way back when — before we even knew why oiled-up muscles did that to us — we were drawn to MI’s brute force which came in the form of Peter Lupus.

Dirk Benedict

Dirk Benedict in Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979)

In a pinch, co-star Richard Hatch would work, too, but it was Lt. Starbuck who was all cool. He was the hip hero of every little boy’s dreams: He smoked cigars, gambled, was a starfighter pilot, and always — always — got the girl. There’s only one thing wrong with that sentence.

Robert Urich

Robert Urich in S.W.A.T. (1975-1976) and Vega$ (1978-1981)

With his brooding good-looks Urich was a yummy TV staple in 1970s. The handsome, affable star passed away in 2002 (at the age of 55) after a long battle with cancer.