Transcript for Acting Legend James Garner dead at 86
Depending on your age, you may know him from maverick, the "Rockford files", the old polaroid commercials or "The notebook." He's a Hollywood towering figure and we lost him today, James garner. He was a tough guy with a wink. Here's ABC's Jon donvan. Reporter: He's one of those actors who has been there all your life. In movies, on television, owning certain roles that work only because he owned them. Maverick in the 1950s, a cultural touch stone. Get out of here maverick, we don't want any trouble. You're right, doc, not that kind. Reporter: So was his portrayal of Rockford in the 1970s Rockford files. Who you working for? That's confidential. Larry kirkoff. Reporter: He stood out as a guy with good looks. Among guys with good looks he stood out as a guy not too seriously and with a wink at the world. 34 years ago with Barbara Walters already looking back. Do you like you? At times. Reporter: Twice decorated for service in the Korean war, garner did not start acting until he was 25, with a small part in a new play called the cane mutiny court-martial which went all the way to Broadway. Bigger parts followed. 1957's maverick was the breakthrough. It defined his persona, a role breaker who maybe always didn't know right from wrong. Which may be wasn't all acting. What I like best about me? I'm a pretty honest guy. Reporter: His one Oscar nomination came for 1985's Murphy's romance, which might be late in his career. 19 years later he was still working, still charming, still garneresque in the notebook. I think I'd love to do anything we wanted to. Reporter: It was a long, entertaining memorable run, and 34 years ago looking forward, the question was this. How would you want to be remembered? With a smile. Reporter: Let's just say he got his wish. Jon donvan, ABC news, Washington. Yes, he did. Our thanks to Jon donvan for that and to you for watching
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.