SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — James Garner was best known for ‘Maverick’ and ‘The Rockford Files,’ but John Madden knew the actor as one of the most passionate fans of the Raiders. “James Garner was a true friend, and he was a true Raiders’ fan,” Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew.
“It wasn’t an L.A. Raider thing either. He was an Oakland Raiders fan. He used to come to all the games.”
Garner was found dead of natural causes in his Los Angeles home Saturday. He was 86.
“If you ever look at any old pictures — you know sideline pictures of George Blanda — George Blanda would always get as far away from coaches and players as he could get, take a knee and watch the game. And then usually right next to him and also taking a knee and watching the game was James Garner.”
The Raiders’ doctor was also Garner’s doctor, and that’s how the actor-team friendship began. “I’d be in the locker room before the game giving that pre-game speech and you’d look down and there would be James Garner. You’d tell everyone to take a knee, and James Garner would take a knee. He was like a player or a coach or an assistant or whatever.”