Jay Garner (actor)
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Jay Garner (January 17, 1929 Sweanee, Franklin, Tennessee, USA– January 21, 2011 New York City, New York, USA), born James H. Garner Jr, was an American actor.
Born James Garner in 1929, he graduated from the University of Tennessee and moved to Atlanta, where he worked in radio and began acting, he changed his first name to Jay upon entering Actors Equity, since there was already a James Garner in the union (film star James Garner of Murphy's Romance and The Rockford Files). Garner was best known to theatre audiences for his diverse character roles. He created the role of the "side-stepping" Governor of Texas in the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He also originated the role of the priggish anti-homosexual politician Eduord Dindon in La Cage Aux Folles, and had the lead role in Red, Hot and Maddox.
He was a long time Benjamin Franklin in the musical hit 1776, a role he also reprised on tour and in various stock productions. In 1986 he took over the role of Sir john Tremayne from Tony winner George S. Irving in the original Broadway staging of Me and My Girl. His last Broadway performance was Horace Vandergelder in the 1994 revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing.
Television audiences know him as Admiral Asimov in the second season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and as lecherous food critic Jason Defarge in Three's Company.On the big screen Mr. Garner appeared as Doctor Robinson in Silent Night,Bloody Night, and had a featured role in the Steve Martin film, Pennies From Heaven, in which he played the Banker who shared a dance, and comic kiss with Martin.
- "New York Times obituary". New York Times. January 25, 2011.