James Garner undergoes surgery after stroke

LOS ANGELES Wed May 14, 2008 12:51am EDT

Actor James Garner poses in the photo room at the 2006 Writers Guild Awards in Hollywood, California February 4, 2006. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Actor James Garner poses in the photo room at the 2006 Writers Guild Awards in Hollywood, California February 4, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor James Garner, best known for starring in the classic television series "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files," underwent surgery this week after suffering a minor stroke, his spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Garner, 80, who built a six-decade career playing ruggedly charming, good-natured anti-heroes, suffered a stroke at home last Friday and was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital, publicist Jennifer Allen said.

The actor underwent surgery on Sunday, and his prognosis following the operation was described as "very positive," Allen said, adding that Garner's vital signs were good and that he was conscious and "responsive."

Allen said Garner was expected to be discharged from the hospital soon, but she had no further details about the circumstances of Garner's stroke or his condition.

Garner gained stardom in the late 1950s as the wisecracking gambler and ladies' man on the TV western "Maverick." He left the ABC show in 1960 in a contract dispute with producers but brought his "Maverick"-like persona to a series of films, including "Thrill of It All," "Move Over, Darling," "The Great Escape" and "Support Your Local Sheriff!"

Garner scored another TV hit in the 1970s, starring as canny private detective Jim Rockford, a wrongly accused ex-convict starting life over in a beachfront trailer home, on NBC's "The Rockford Files."

The role earned Garner an Emmy Award in 1977, his only victory in a dozen TV acting nominations. He also received an Oscar nomination for his work opposite Sally Field in the 1985 feature comedy "Murphy's Romance."

He received the Screen Actors Guild's highest honor, a life achievement award, in 2004. In his most recent film role, Garner played a wealthy grandfather in the 2006 film adaptation of the best-selling book "The Ultimate Gift.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Eric Walsh)

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