Their love proved everyone wrong who had doubts about their relationship moving so fast.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 8, 2022. It has since been updated.
James Garner and Lois Clarke's love story is something straight out of a fairytale.
It was love at first sight for the Maverick and Rockford Files star when he laid his eyes on aspiring actress Lois Clarke. The two dated a mere two weeks, before getting married at the Beverly Hills courthouse on Aug. 17, 1956. Many at the time might have had their doubts about the relationship moving so fast, but their love proved critics wrong and lasted for almost 58 years. Tragically, Garner passed away from a heart attack in 2014 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86 years old.
James Garner and Lois Clarke Dated For 14 Days Before Getting Married https://t.co/OYGQTboJz6— Country Living (@CountryLiving) August 18, 2017
The actor is also known for his role as the older version of Ryan Gosling's character in 2004's The Notebook. In a 2005 interview with PEOPLE, he shared, “Ryan Gosling said he didn’t believe in love at first sight and loving somebody that long, and I said, I’ve been married 47 years, and it seems to work,” Garner said. “I only knew my wife [Lois Clarke] two weeks before I married her. We’re both devoted to each other. We’ll be there for each other forever.”
James Garner & Gena Rowlands in The Notebook (2004). pic.twitter.com/0sjGaXpS0x— JamesGarner (@files_garner) September 3, 2019
According to Country Living, this was Clarke's second marriage. She had a daughter from her previous relationship. She was also Jewish while Garner was Methodist. The family was against the marriage but that didn't stop them. "Neither of us was ever what you would call religious, so it wasn't an issue, at least not for Lois and me," Garner wrote in his 2012 memoir The Garner Files. "None of the naysayers had stopped to consider that Lois and I complemented each other. What they saw as weaknesses, we saw as strengths." Two years later they welcomed their first child, Gigi, and their family was complete.
James Garner, wife Lois Clarke and their daughter Kim sightseeing in 1964. pic.twitter.com/GAmQeN5lZ1— Groovy History (@GroovyHistory) February 15, 2018
The couple had their share of highs and lows just like any other long-lasting relationship. Garner suffered health problems and told PEOPLE in 1980, "I'm constantly in pain. I have arthritis in my back and my knees and my hands. I had ulcers this year—and once an ulcer patient, always an ulcer patient. I get depressed. Very." Despite it all, he managed to live to the age of 86. His wife was a huge source of support during his dark days. "She's just stuck with me all these years," he said. "I guess she's stubborn too." It looks like it's that very stubbornness that helped the pair stay together for so long despite life's many challenges. Now that's true love.
James Garner w wife Lois Clarke Garner— Edward Elderman (@edwereddie) December 27, 2021
They met in the summer of 1956.They married only two weeks later at the Beverly Hills Courthouse despite his family’s objections over her being Jewish.
James and Lois remained married for 57 years, until Garner’s passing on July 14, 2014. pic.twitter.com/v2xqkLBIxI
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Dove | Express | Hulton Archive (L) ; Photo by Mark Mainz (R)