Sam Smith, Maroon 5 on Tap for iTunes Festival

Sam Smith performs at The Summer Series at Somerset House on July 18, 2014 in London.
Sam Smith performs at The Summer Series at Somerset House on July 18, 2014 in London. Chiaki Nozu—WireImage/Getty Images

Smith was a spectator last year

(NEW YORK) — Last year Sam Smith says he was a spectator at the iTunes Festival. This year, his view will be much improved — he’ll be onstage.

The soulful newcomer is among those set to perform at the eighth annual event, held every night in September at The Roundhouse in London. Other acts announced Monday include Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5, Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Robert Plant, Blondie and Chrissie Hynde.

The iTunes festival is free for contest winners, and people worldwide can watch live or on demand via various Apple devices and iTunes. Past performers include Adele, Kanye West, Elton John, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Paul McCartney.

Earlier this year, the iTunes Festival branched out to the United States for the first time with concerts in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest music festival.

TIME movies

Over a Tepid Weekend at the Box Office, Room for Mediocrity to Thrive

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes led the box office for the second consecutive weekend. Twentieth Century Fox

Of the four highest-grossing films this weekend, two were about societal collapse, three were sequels, and only one earned respectable reviews

“Art,” Roger Ebert said in a speech on human empathy on a Colorado Public Television feature in 1994, “is the closest we can come to understanding how a stranger really feels.”

If that’s the case, then maybe it’s grimly logical that with Gaza on fire, and hundreds of families in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur mourning a wreck that still smoulders, the most popular films in American theaters this past weekend are stories of apocalyptic or near-apocalyptic crisis. Also, sequels.

The first is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the story of humankind felled by a manufactured virus and an army of chimps rendered sentient by the same virus seeking to fill the power void. For the second consecutive weekend, Dawn has seized the top position at the U.S. box office, having grossed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in international ticket sales since opening ten days ago. It’s a follow-up to the 2011 20th Century Fox film that revived the decades-old franchise; both movies have enjoyed a surprisingly warm embrace from critics.

Not drastically far behind in the numbers was The Purge: Anarchy, whose title is perhaps more fitting, or at least to the point, than that of the first film in the franchise. The plots of both deal with a utilitarian sort of lawlessness sometime in the nearish future, in which anyone can pretty much do anything — murder is popular — over a twelve hour period once a year in order to keep crime rates otherwise low. Tepid reviews of the sequel apparently notwithstanding, the film made just under $30 million in ticket sales after opening in U.S. theaters on Friday.

After that, things are more incongruous with the Ebert-empathy thesis: a Pixar movie — another sequel — and a tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy about a leaked sex tape came in at third and fourth, respectively. Both have received mixed-to-plainly-negative feedback (Planes: Fire and Rescue holds a 44% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes; Sex Tape’s is twenty points lower).

It was, on the whole, a shoddy weekend for Hollywood, the New York Times reports, though of course the summer blockbuster season is still relatively young. We’ll get the fifth — fifth — installment in the predictably stalwart Step Up franchise in a few weeks. There’s a redux of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coming out; given that (a) it’s a Michael Bay number and (b) Megan Fox is in it, we can rely on every adolescent male in the U.S. to help it at least break even.


RECAP: True Blood Watch: Lost Causes


Ain't no party like a Bon Temps party

After last week’s successful rescue mission, the dusting of the Hep V vamps and the decimation of the human vigilante squad, it’s unclear what’s left for Sookie and her Scooby Gang to do as True Blood wraps up its final season aside from mourn their losses. In the aftermath of the slaughter at Fangtasia, Eric and Pam want Willa to tell them everything she knows about her ersatz stepmother Sarah Newlin. Unfortunately, though, Willa has too many abandonment issues to do as she’s told. She demands freedom from her maker in exchange for information on Sarah. Eric, contemplative at death’s door, shrugs and releases her. Willa gasps as she is freed and Pam eloquently remarks, “Like being kicked in the cooch by a wallaby, isn’t it?” Willa tells them that Sarah has a secret sister named Amber Mills and she happens to be a vampire and she thinks she lives in Dallas.

As Eric and Pam prepare to leave to Dallas, Ginger demands that Eric consummate their relationship, because she’s been his “sex slave” for 15 years, but never actually had sex with him. He rolls his eyes and leaves her on the curb when he leaves. Poor Ginger. Maybe she can apply for a job at Bellefleur’s?

Sookie returns to her house finally ready to really grieve over Alcide. James and Lafayette, the two new bosom buddies, are there waiting for her. They tuck her in bed and Lafayette promises to be there when she wakes up. When Sookie finally awakens, she finds her house taken over by Lafayette, who has decided to throw a party for the whole town. He announces that they are celebrating life because it’s what Alcide — and Tara — would’ve wanted. Sookie reluctantly relents when Lafayette explains that he has good food, good alcohol and promises to toss out the first person who offers condolences on her loss.

In Dallas, Pam and Eric meet Sarah’s vamp sister, Amber. She’s infected with Hep V and has nothing to hide, quickly telling Eric and Pam everything about Sarah paying her off to keep quiet. Amber asks if they are going to kill Sarah, and Eric confesses it could happen. And with that Amber is part of the gang and suggests that if Sarah is in town they might find her at a Republican fundraiser being held that night.

Lettie Mae wants to go to the funeral party, but the reverend doesn’t think it’s a good idea to go, because he thinks she is only keen on attending in order to get some vampire blood. Lettie Mae drugs him and sneaks out when he passes out.

The party is in full swing with humans, vampires and shapeshifters all in attendance. Bill, a real party animal, spends his time mooning about and flashing back to arguing against the Civil War. Alcide’s dad gives a lovely toast to his son that ends up making Sookie feel bad about the fact that she didn’t love Alcide quite as much as he loved her. As they all drink to Alcide’s memory, Lettie Mae barges into the party. Lafayette tries to shoo her out quickly, Sookie invites her to say a few words and she demurely asks for something nonalcoholic to toast to her daughter’s memory.

Jessica is wallflowering at the party and Sheriff Andy comes to tell her that watching her punish herself only keeps his pain alive. He wants to move on, but can’t without her help. She offers him anything, but all he wants is a ring to use to propose to Holly. Jessica finds him the closest one, which happens to be Sookie’s and Jason’s grandma’s ring. They happily offer it to him, and in the middle of the celebration to life, he proposes. That’s when Arlene notices that Sookie is near tears and sneaks her upstairs to have a good cry. As Sookie unloads on Arlene, Alcide’s dad eavesdrops on their conversation about love and loss and the merits of time and tequila.

James is frustrated that Jessica has been distant lately and won’t leave the party with him. He finds solace in Lafayette’s arms and legs and lips.

Pam and Eric are getting ready for a fundraiser at the Bush Library where they hope to find Sarah Newlin. They spent the day shopping at Neiman Marcus, but while they are getting dressed, Pam looks at the veins delicately spreading all over Eric’s body and realizes that he has moved onto Stage 2 of the disease. As she covers the veins on his neck, he tells her that he’s going to die and she has prepare herself.

At the party, Jessica is looking for James, and Arlene drunkenly tells her she saw him step outside with Lafayette. That turns out to be code for having extremely loud carnal relations in the car she and James bought together. Jessica screams at them and runs inside with James chasing her. She begs Jason to rescind James’ invitation to the house. He does, and James goes flying, while Jessica runs upstairs to cry. With Violet’s approval, Jason goes after her. Lafayette barges in and tells Jessica that he’s embarrassed about how it all came out, but Jessica needs to look deep in herself, and if she doesn’t love James she needs to let him go and let Lafayette pick up the pieces. Then he makes a glorious speech about how he, the one openly gay man in town, deserves happiness too. Can we please have an all-Lafayette TV show or maybe HBO can cast him on Looking?

While Bill is having a flashback to helping lead the Underground Railroad, Sookie interrupts him to thank him for everything, and they share a chaste hug. Bill reminds Sookie that she’s done a lot in the past few days and should revel in the moment, because it’s unlikely this show will go out without a bang (or several bangs of all sorts and maybe an explosion or two).

Back inside the party, Lettie Mae stabs Willa with a butcher knife in the hope of drinking more of her blood to contact Tara. The vamps all round on her, but Sam jumps in to protect her — or at least to prevent bloodshed at the party. Everyone stands down when Willa heals and Lafayette quickly ushers Lettie Mae away before she can stab anyone else. That’s when Nicole flips her lid and starts hollering at everyone about how crazy it is to throw a party after all that death and despair and loudly pointing out that this doesn’t happen in other towns. Shhh, Nicole, someone will notice this show doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Upstairs at Sookie’s, Jessica interrupts her consolation to kiss Jason. They hook up and, of course, Violet comes to investigate what happened to Jason and overhears it, but instead of storming in, she storms away with revenge clearly on her mind.

At the fundraiser, Sarah finds her mother in the ladies’ room. Her mother is hesitant to help her, because a book was published revealing that Sarah helped create Hep V and thus helped create the gangs of marauding infected vamps. Sarah wants to talk to Laura Bush, but since she’s not at the party, her mother will have to do. Sarah explains that the yakuza is after her and, on cue, the yakuza gang shoots its way into the fundraiser killing everyone in sight in pursuit of Sarah. She and her mother run, but not fast enough. Her mother falls and Sarah keeps going, straight into Eric’s clutches. He’s about to kill her, when the yakuza — who aren’t really the yakuza but the Tru Blood Corp.’s gang of hired killers — arrive. He drops her and goes after them. He then rips the man’s face off in a scene that makes up for any gore deficit the show might have been facing after the past 1½ episodes.

Back in Bon Temps, Bill is mulling over his past again. After a flashback to contemplating his death in the midst of the Civil War, he heads inside his house, removes his shirt and contemplates the black vein curling up his chest, finally explaining why he wasn’t in a party mood.

MORE: The Best Theory About Jon Snow’s Mother

MORE: Finally, Homeland Season 4 Trailer Revealed!

TIME movies

James Garner: Tribute to a Marvelous Maverick

James Garner
James Garner as Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files NBC/Getty Images

As a TV and movie star for nearly six decades, the Oklahoma kid made the hard art of acting seem like a game — as deft and persuasive as a gambler's con

He was a man’s man who relied on his wits instead of his fists; a ladies’ man who wouldn’t steal a fella’s girl. Famous for his Maverick Western series in the 1950s and The Rockford Files in the ’70s, and in movies like The Great Escape and Grand Prix in between, James Garner played amiable, independent characters for more than a half-century, and never lost his comforting, enduring appeal. He was like a pair of boots you wear for decades and never want to throw out.

In real life Garner was apparently the same: straight shooter, decent guy. When he thought a movie studio or TV network was doing him dirt, he’d sue them, and win. When in 1956 he met a girl he liked, and married her two weeks later, he stayed married till he died — late Saturday night, at 86, in his Los Angeles home.

Compare him with other stars who found their footing in early TV Westerns, and see what made Garner a natural for the small screen. He lacked Clint Eastwood’s mulish brand of menace, Steve McQueen’s sexy recklessness, Burt Reynolds’s self-parodying machismo. Garner didn’t simmer with resentment, wasn’t tattooed with old traumas. “Lady,” his Bret Maverick says to a scheming woman in an early episode, “I never worry about anything.” The actor’s ease with his character and himself made Maverick a welcome weekly visitor in America’s living rooms for three seasons.

And though he graduated to leading-man status in major studio feature films before Eastwood, Reynolds and McQueen did, and stayed there for more than a decade, Garner felt more at home on TV, where he found The Rockford Files waiting in 1974, and where his nearly unique level of affability was treasured, not taken for granted.

(READ: James Poniewozik’s tribute to James Garner)

Try to describe the character Garner created, and again you have to start by saying what he wasn’t. He didn’t fit any of the extreme Hollywood fashions for its heroes. He was not a loner or a joiner, not a fighter or a father type. In performance style he was neither a comedian of the broad stripe nor a let-them-see-and-feel-my-pain dramatic actor. He was pure affability, clever, charming and confident — just about the embodiment of how Americans liked to picture themselves back then, at the postwar apex of their nation’s power.

Born in Norman, Okla., on Apr. 7, 1928, James Scott Baumgarner couldn’t have been more American: his mother was half-Cherokee. She died when he was a kid, and he took some licks from his father’s second wife. He got out of town as soon as he could, enlisting in the Merchant Marines on his 16th birthday. Later he was a soldier in Korea, earning two Purple Hearts, one for wounds caused by friendly fire — “I got in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he recalled with his usual self-depreciating wryness.

Back in the States, Jim took a while to find his calling. As he told Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies in 2001, “I worked the oil fields, I drove trucks, I worked in grocery stores, chicken hatcheries, worked with the telephone company, did a little bit of everything and never found a job I really liked, until I finally got into acting. And it took me about two-and-a-half, three years before I liked that.”

A fellow Okie, Paul Gregory, was an agent and producer. In 1954 he cast his protégé as a member of the court in Broadway’s The Caine Mutiny Court Martial. With no lines to speak, Baumgarner at first thought his biggest challenge was to stay awake. Instead he paid attention to the stars around him, especially Henry Fonda; he must have inhaled some of Fonda’s Midwestern effortlessness, since it would soon be a hallmark of his own approach. (“I swiped practically all my acting style from him,” Garner later said.) As the star of the 1969 Support Your Local Sheriff! — perhaps the Garneriest role of his movie career — he leans back on a chair, his feet propped up against a railing, just like Fonda’s Sheriff Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine… before idly trip-roping a half-dozen varmints. He seems relaxed, but he’s really paying attention, supremely assured of his abilities.

Warners put the actor under contract at $175 a week, shortened his name to Garner, and launched him in Maverick, a Roy Huggins Western that went on the air Sept. 22, 1957, against CBS’s The Ed Sullivan Show, the second highest-rated program at the time, and Steve Allen’s popular comedy-variety hour. Within a year Maverick had replaced Sullivan in the top 10, and Garner was a TV star.

He played — pretty much was, in that no-sweat, convincing way of his — Bret Maverick, gambler-rogue, inspired bluffer at five-card stud, with an eye for working scams that would rob the robbers and help the helpless. Though the show’s first three episodes (directed by Western B-movie genius Budd Boetticher) were relatively straightforward, Huggins soon exploited its young star’s way with a wry line, and Maverick became more comedy than Western. The show’s trump card was Garner’s strong, smiling demeanor, which made it a pleasure, almost an honor, to be defrauded by him. Viewers quickly afforded him the same welcome, trusting that he wouldn’t reach through the home screen and pocket the silverware.

Shooting a 50-min., dialogue-heavy episode each week proved impossible, so Huggins invented a younger Maverick brother, Bart (Jack Kelly), to fill out the season. Later an English cousin, Beau (Roger Moore), joined the series. By that time Garner had left the show, having sued his employers for breach of contract when they stopped paying him during a writers’ strike. He won by proving that Warners had secretly been banking scripts. Now he could go be a movie star.

On the big screen Garner occasionally played the dramatic stalwart; he was Audrey Hepburn’s fiancé in William Wyler’s 1962 film of Lillian Hellman’s lesbian-accusation play The Children’s Hour. (“First time I ever cried on screen,” he told Osborne. “Might’ve been the last time.”) But his usual job was squiring top actresses through romantic comedies: Doris Day in The Thrill of It All and Move Over, Darling,
 Kim Novak in Boys’ Night Out. Often his rom-com roles had clear echoes of Bret Maverick’s 

con-artistry. In the 1960 Cash McCall, he’s an early practitioner of the leveraged buyout — a Mitt Romney decades ahead of his time — with Natalie Wood as his prettiest acquisition. In The Wheeler Dealers (1963) he plays Texas oilman Henry Tyroon, as in tycoon, cozying up to stock analyst Lee Remick.

Too young to serve in World War II, Garner spent 45 years, off and on, playing roguish combatants or grizzled veterans of the European campaign, from his film-star debut in Darby’s Rangers (1959) through the 1984 Tank and up to The Notebook (2004). In his biggest movie hit, the 1963 The Great Escape he’s Lt. “Scrounger” Hendley, another gloss on Bret Maverick: he knows how to find the materials needed for a group of British and American officers to tunnel out of a maximum-security German camp. Hendley shows his skill by flim-flamming or skim-scamming the main guard, and his valor by taking a fellow prisoner who is nearly blind along the escape route. But like Maverick, Hendley discounts any heroic impulses: he says he’s getting out just so he can get home.

Based very loosely on a true story, The Great Escape is mainly remembered for the scene in which McQueen (actually a stunt double) pilots a motorcycle up a ramp and over a barbed-wire fence; the scene was there because the star, a racing aficionado, insisted on a bike stunt. Garner got second billing to McQueen, who came to early fame in the 1958 TV Western Wanted: Dead or Alive. A few years later, Garner out-McQueened McQueen by starring in John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix, a three-hour action film about Formula One drivers, their women and their cars (but mainly their cars). At the same time, McQueen was planning a similar film, Day of the Champion, that never got made. The actual Formula One drivers on the Grand Prix location said Garner was a natural behind the wheel. Score one for the Maverick.

Once in a while, a Garner character could be on the other side of the con, as in 36 Hours (1964), which casts him as a U.S. soldier knocked out and kidnapped by the Germans just before D-Day and told, when he comes to, that the war is over; the nasty Nazis hope to extract secrets of the imminent invasion. Here, as in the modern-day, Stateside Mister Buddwing (1966) — where he’s an amnesiac seeking his identity and pulling the veil off a convoluted business scheme — Garner was the potential victim. But furrowed brows and helplessness didn’t suit this emblem of congenial self-confidence. He was much more at ease playing a man at ease, who never breaks a sweat, even in the tightest corner, because he figures he can talk his way out of it.

Screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky took note of this Garner gift and ran amok with it in his script for the 1964 The Americanization of Emily, directed by Arthur Hiller. Garner is Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Madison, who has blustered his way onto a peaceful island owned by the Brits. When his superior officer goes bananas, Charlie must take on the assignment of filming the D-Day invasion, in the company of his starchy English driver, Emily Barham — Julie Andrews in the movie she made between Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. (Garner is billed first.)

Covering the Maverick character with the soot of misanthropy, and testing Garner’s ability to spit out tongue-twister dialogue, Chayefsky handed the actor reams of cynical soliloquies, a few of which can be found here. We’ll settle for this denunciation of war lovers: “We shall never end wars, Mrs. Barham, by blaming it on the ministers and generals, or warmongering imperialists, or all the other banal bogeys. It’s the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers — the rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widow’s weeds like nuns, Mrs. Barham, and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices.” Harrumph and gotcha! Chayefsky’s film rants would get even riper in his screenplays for The Hospital and Network, but they were never delivered with handsomer authority than Garner invested in Charlie’s antiwar speeches.

More comfortable in a saddle than on Chayefsky’s high horse, Garner made his share of movie Westerns. He played legendary lawman Wyatt Earp twice — in the 1967 Hour of the Gun and, 21 years later, in Blake Edward’s Sunset — and established a little franchise with director Burt Kennedy’s low-key hit Support Your Local Sheriff!, in which he agrees to the job because he thinks it’s easy pay. (‘Tain’t.) In Kennedy’s informal sequel, the 1972 Support Your Local Gunfighter, Garner amiably inhabits one of the oldest Western plots, of a grifter mistaken for a famous gunfighter, and sells it like the Brooklyn Bridge.

By then he was tiring of occupying the second tier of movie stardom. He returned to series TV with another Huggins show, Nichols, a slow-paced, quick-witted Western that ran only one season. (It remained Garner’s favorite TV gig.) By the ’70s, oaters were out of fashion on the small screen; detectives were in. So Garner played P.I. Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files, also produced by Huggins and with 20 of the scripts written by David Chase (The Sopranos). Over the six-year-span of the show, Garner and the writers fought with their studio, Universal, to keep injecting behavioral comedy — what the star was best at — into the whodunit plots. Eventually, Garner successfully sued Universal for his rightful share of the Rockford profits, netting a reported $14 million.

He never gave up movie work, earning an Oscar nomination for the 1984 Murphy’s Romance as the small-town druggist who loves rancher Sally Field. In Blake Edwards’ 1982 Victor Victoria he reteamed with Andrews (now Mrs. Edwards) as King Marchand, a shady Prohibition entrepreneur who falls in love with a female impersonator — that is to say, Andrews is a female, impersonating a man impersonating a woman. In their big scene, King tells Victoria, “I don’t care if you are a man” and kisses her. She says, “I’m not a man,” and he replies, “I still don’t care.” Edwards had acceded to the producers’ insistence that King know in advance the gender of the person who has smitten him; but it’s still evidence of a he-man star’s willingness to shatter what was then one of Hollywood’s sexual taboos.

In his seventies, long after quintuple-bypass surgery in 1988, Garner lassoed two of his strongest movie roles. In Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys (2000), he costarred as a NASA pilot from the 1950s who’s de-mothballed four decades later to help Eastwood’s Frank Corvin fix a Soviet satellite that’s about to crash to earth. Frank, who had built the technology the Russkies swiped, goes up to fix the damn thing and takes his pals along for a senior-citizen road trip to outer space. The Over the Moon Gang rides again, in an alterkocker Armageddon.

(READ: Corliss’s review of Space Cowboys)

He capped his career with a rare weepie role, in the 2004 smash The Notebook, from Nicholas Sparks’s novel. As Duke, a retirement-home resident, he reads aloud passages from a diary kept by a patient (Gene Rowlands) succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease, with flashbacks of the World War II love story enacted by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. Directed by Rowlands’ son Nick Cassavetes, The Notebook is 99 and 44/100th-percent pure soap opera, given heft and conviction by two stars with a combined century in the business. In this tale of two ordinary people living together — till death do them part, and unite — Garner strips himself naked of all smooth pride to utter his last words to his beloved: “Good night. I’ll be seeing you.”

As faithful in life as in his craft, Garner held true to the Democratic Party, for which he campaigned on behalf of civil rights and a greener Earth, and to his wife of 58 years, Lois Clarke. (Their daughter Gigi also survives him.)

Calling himself “a Methodist but not as an actor,” Garner considered acting a job; golf was his passion. He knew his lines, stood on his mark and told the truth of his characters. Is that Acting? Not in the grand sense of Stanislavski or his heirs, from Brando to Gosling. But, as Garner plied the trade, it certainly was acting of the most persuasive order. “I think Jim is such a good actor because he leaves his actor at home and brings himself to the screen,” said Gretchen Corbett, one of his Rockford Files costars, in the 2001 book The Garner Files. “He’s also a very appealing human being. Both men and women feel safe with him; they feel like they get him.”

Everyone did. And anyone would want to spend more time with that engaging maverick, that rock of American confidence, James Garner.

TIME Television

James Garner, 1928–2014


There are actors who become stars because they strike awe — because they’re imposing, powerful, monumental. And then there was James Garner.

Garner, who died Saturday night of natural causes at age 86, was no toothpick of a man — he was a former high school football and basketball player who kept his rugged, weathered good looks long into life. But the characters he became famous for, especially TV’s Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford, won you over with their minds. They got through trouble with cleverness, charm and subtle wit. Garner wasn’t the kind of star who won love because he seemed so elevated above you: he made you love him by showing you that he was on your level — had in fact spent some time down in the dirt, brushed off the dust, and moved on with a rascally smile.

Born James Scott Bumgarner in Norman, Okla., in 1928, Garner had experience rebounding from tough times early in life. His mother died when he was small, and his father remarried a woman who Garner would later recall was physically abusive. His family moved around the West, eventually settling in Los Angeles, where — after a stint in the Korean War — he was discovered for the movies.

The handsome Garner was a natural for westerns and war pictures and adventure movies. But the characters that proved the best fit for his natural, easygoing charm were anything but typical screen stars. He came of age as an actor in the heyday of the TV western, not by playing an upstanding lawman but as the wily, disarming card shark Bret Maverick in the action-comedy Maverick, a gambler and ladies’ man who had the fastest mind in the West.

Debuting in 1957, Maverick was a character ahead of his time in spirit, a forerunner of the little-guy heroes, the roguish, antiauthoritarians who would rule movies and TV in the 1970s. You can see a little bit of a proto–Bill Murray in the dry, sly Maverick, and if Star Wars had been made 20 years earlier, Garner would have been your Han Solo hands down. Garner stayed off TV for a decade after Maverick, but he had a great run in the movies in the 1960s, drama and comedy alike. (Support Your Local Sheriff! would be a great catch-up watch for anyone wanting to discover, or rediscover, his work.)

Garner’s most famous role, as Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files in 1974, was the perfect meeting of Garner’s talents and the spirit of the age. Like Bret Maverick, Rockford was a screen-hero archetype who became all the bigger for being cut down to size: a private detective who’d spent time in jail on a bad rap, always one step ahead of the bill collectors and one good night’s sleep shy of his peak. He was not a pressed suit; he was a rumpled jacket that could use a dry cleaning. And that was what made him wear so comfortably.

The Rockford Files was a crime show where the characters were finally more important than the action: it had its share of brawls and car spinouts, but you really tuned in for the ping-pong dialogue between Rockford and con man Angel or his dad Rocky. (It was a precursor of the more character-based dramas of today’s cable-dominated TV era, and in fact the show was one of the first writing jobs for David Chase of The Sopranos.) Rockford might get his man in the end, but what made him loveable was less his triumphs than his ability to roll with defeat. He could throw a punch if he had to, but what made him a hero was his ability to take one.

I was too young for the run of the original Maverick, but I relished the brief-lived revival, Bret Maverick, in 1981, and I caught Rockford both in its original run and reruns. As a nerdy, not-too-athletic kid, I was especially drawn to pop-culture trickster figures — Bugs Bunny, Hawkeye Pierce, scoundrels who outwitted their rivals instead of outfighting them. Jim Rockford was the only TV crime fighter I really cared about, a charmer who could indeed win for losing.

I got older, and so did Garner, but he kept working late into life — collecting an Oscar nomination in 1985 for Murphy’s Romance, making a return to TV in 2004 on 8 Simple Rules after the sudden death of John Ritter. But Rockford lingered somewhere in my mind, and I suspect the minds of a lot of TV fans from that era. Garner created him as a sunny, fundamentally decent example of how to get through frustrations and disappointments not with rage, but a wry comeback.

In the end, charm and humor wear more comfortably than rage and drama. Audiences love that kind of character. Fate loves that kind of character. If you need a quick thumbnail philosophy for living, it would not be a terrible one to simply remember to ask yourself, whenever you face adversity, “What would Jim Rockford do?” For posing that question, and giving it such an entertaining answer, thank you James Garner, and RIP.

TIME movies

Beyoncé Teases Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer on Instagram

The full trailer arrives Thursday

Driver roll down the partition, please, Beyoncé’s got a trailer and it’s quite the tease.

The pop icon is usually the star of her own Instagram account, but on Saturday night she shared the spotlight and posted a sneak peak at the trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey, the Twilight-fanfiction-turned-erotic-publishing-sensation that’s now headed to the big screen in 2015.

Perhaps Beyoncé can’t resist the story of a young, innocent college girl falling for a kinky billionaire, but she’s probably in the sharing mood because of her music — catch Queen Bey singing a sultry version of the uh-oh-uh-oh line from “Crazy in Love” in the clip, which promises a full trailer on Thursday.

The film, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson and arrives next Valentine’s Day.

TIME obituary

Police: Movie, TV Legend James Garner Dies

The Rockford Files -  Season 1
James Garner as Jim Rockford. NBC/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western “Maverick” led to a stellar career in TV and films such as “The Rockford Files” and his Oscar-nominated “Murphy’s Romance,” has died, police said. He was 86.

He was found dead of natural causes at his home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles Saturday evening, Los Angeles police officer Alonzo Iniquez said early Sunday.

Police responded to a call around 8 p.m. PDT and confirmed Garner’s identity from family members, Iniquez told The Associated Press.

There was no immediate word on a more specific cause of death. Garner had suffered a stroke in May 2008, just weeks after his 80th birthday.

Although he was adept at drama and action, Garner was best known for his low-key, wisecracking style, especially with his hit TV series, “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files.”

His quick-witted avoidance of conflict provided a refreshingly new take on the American hero, contrasting with the steely heroics of John Wayne and the fast trigger of Clint Eastwood.

Well into his 70s, the handsome Oklahoman remained active in both TV and film. In 2002, he was Sandra Bullock’s father in the film “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” The following year, he joined the cast of “8 Simple Rules … For Dating My Teenage Daughter,” playing the grandfather on the sitcom after star John Ritter, who played the father, died during the show’s second season.

When he received the Screen Actors Guild’s lifetime achievement award in 2005, he quipped, “I’m not at all sure how I got here.”

But in his 2011 memoir, “The Garner Files,” he provided some amusing and enlightening clues, including his penchant for bluntly expressed opinions and a practice for decking people who said something nasty to his face — including an obnoxious fan and an abusive stepmother. They all deserved it, Garner declared in his book.

It was in 1957 when the ABC network, desperate to compete on ratings-rich Sunday night, scheduled “Maverick” against CBS’s powerhouse “The Ed Sullivan Show” and NBC’s “The Steve Allen Show.” ”Maverick” soon outpolled them both.

At a time when the networks were crowded with hard-eyed, traditional Western heroes, Bret Maverick provided a fresh breath of air. With his sardonic tone and his eagerness to talk his way out of a squabble rather than pull out his six-shooter, the con-artist Westerner seemed to scoff at the genre’s values.

After a couple of years, Garner felt the series was losing its creative edge, and he found a legal loophole to escape his contract in 1960.

His first film after “Maverick” established him as a movie actor. It was “The Children’s Hour,” William Wyler’s remake of Lillian Hellman’s lesbian drama that co-starred Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.

He followed in a successful comedy with Kim Novak, “Boys Night Out,” and then fully established his box-office appeal with the 1963 blockbuster war drama “The Great Escape” and two smash comedies with Doris Day — “The Thrill of It All” and “Move Over Darling.”

Throughout his long film career, Garner demonstrated his versatility in comedies (“The Art of Love,” ”A Man Could Get Killed,” ”Skin Game”), suspense (“36 Hours,” ”They Only Kill Their Masters,” ”Marlowe”), Westerns (“Duel at Diablo,” ”Hour of the Gun,” ”Support Your Local Gunfighter”).

In the 1980s and 1990s, when most stars his age were considered over the hill, Garner’s career remained strong.

He played a supporting role as a marshal in the 1994 “Maverick,” a big-screen return to the TV series with Mel Gibson in Garner’s old title role. His only Oscar nomination came for the 1985 “Murphy’s Romance,” a comedy about a small-town love relationship in which he co-starred with Sally Field.

His favorite film, though, was the cynical 1964 war drama “The Americanization of Emily,” which co-starred Julie Andrews.

Unlike most film stars, Garner made repeated returns to television. “Nichols” (1971-72) and “Bret Maverick” (1981-82) were short-lived, but “The Rockford Files” (1974-80) proved a solid hit, bringing him an Emmy.

Among his notable TV movies: “Barbarians at the Gate” (as tycoon F. Ross Johnson), “Breathing Lessons,” ”The Promise,” ”My Name Is Bill W.,” ”The Streets of Laredo” and “One Special Night.”

He said he learned about acting while playing a non-speaking role as a Navy juror in the 1954 Broadway hit play “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial,” starring Henry Fonda and Lloyd Nolan.

“I had no lines, and I had trouble staying awake,” Garner recalled.

After “Caine Mutiny,” Garner found work in Hollywood as a bit player in the “Cheyenne” TV series. Warner Bros. gave him a screen test and signed him to a seven-year contract starting at $200 a week.

The studio cast him in supporting roles in three minor films, followed by the important break as Marlon Brando’s sidekick in “Sayonara.” When Charlton Heston declined a war movie, “Darby’s Rangers,” because of a money dispute, Garner assumed the role.

“Maverick,” which co-starred Jack Kelly as brother Bart Maverick, made its debut on Sept. 22, 1957.

Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner (some references say Baumgarner) in Norman, Okla. His mother died when he was 5, and friends and relatives cared for him and his two brothers for a time while his father was to California.

In 1957, Garner married TV actress Lois Clarke, and the union prevailed despite some stormy patches. She had a daughter Kimberly from a previous marriage, and the Garners had another daughter, Gretta Scott. In the late 1990s, the Garners built a 12,000-square-foot house on a 400-acre ranch north of Santa Barbara.

“My wife and I felt … we’d just watch the sunset from the front porch,” Garner said in 2000. “But then the phone started ringing with all these wonderful offers, and we decided, ‘Heck, let’s stay in the business for a while.’”

TIME radio

Radio Host Casey Kasem’s Body Missing, Says Daughter’s Lawyer

Casey Kasem
Casey Kasem poses for photographers after receiving the Radio Icon award during The 2003 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Oct. 27, 2003. Eric Jamison—AP

Wife and daughters embroiled in debate over his care

A judge has placed a restraining order on Casey Kasem’s wife, preventing her from cremating the famous radio host’s remains, but it’s unclear where they remains are.

The restraining order was granted on the behest of Kerri Kasem, the personality’s daughter, who asked a judge to ensure Kasem’s body was held in cold storage and not cremated before an autopsy was completed.

But when Kerry Kasem’s lawyer went to a Tacoma, Washington, funeral home with a copy of the restraining order, he was told the funeral home no longer had Kasem’s remains. Gaffney Funeral Home & Cremation Services confirmed that Kasem’s body was no longer there.

“They said they could not disclose where he had gone or where he would end up,” Kerry Kasem’s lawyer, Scott Winship, told People.

Kasem was the radio host of “American Top 40″ and voice of animated television characters like Scooby-Doo’s sidekick Shaggy. He died at age 82 on June 15 at a hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington. He was suffering from dementia and his death followed a lengthy debate over his care between his wife and his three children from his first marriage.



Netflix Is Testing a ‘Privacy Mode’ So Nobody Can See Your Bad Movie Habits

Netflix Ends Messages Blaming Verizon
The logo of Netflix, the biggest driver of Internet bandwidth, is displayed on an iPhone. Bloomberg—Getty Images

Soon you may not have to worry about your friends who share your logon making fun of you

Netflix is reportedly testing a feature that will allow you to conceal your viewing activity so you can hide your more embarrassing binge watches.

Cliff Edwards, director of corporate communications and technology, told Gigaom that the company is testing a “Privacy Mode” option that will keep what you’re viewing from appearing in your activity log and ensure that Netflix doesn’t use it to recommend future titles you you or anyone else who shares your account.

The Netflix rep told Gigaom that the feature is being testing in all markets, but not all users will have access. It’s still unclear if the feature will be released for everyone to use after testing.


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