Monday, January 05, 2015
betty & jim
I've no idea how they came to be friends, given that their movie careers spanned different decades and that they also seemed to travel in different social circles. Garner was a California denizen who lived in the Brentwood section of L.A.; Bacall was a New Yorker through and through.
However, in the early 1980s, they did appear together in two back-to-back films. In 1980, they were part of Robert Altman's ensemble for "H.E.A.L.T.H." and a year later, in 1981, they teamed again in "The Fan," based on Bob Randall's juicy epistolary novel of deranged fandom, with Bacall in a part ready-made for her. Which she devoured effortlessly.
Anyone who hasn't caught Edward Bianchi's little-seen thriller should by all means seek it out. It's a treat. The Altman film, lesser so.
By this time, there was some speculation that there was more than friendship between the two, but the fact is, Garner remained married to Lois Fleishman Clarke for nearly 60 years, until his death, with never a scandal to his name. He would later star with Bacall again in 1996 in Peter Segal's "My Fellow Americans" (this time with Jack Lemmon in tow) and they also paired for a memorable two-part episode of Garner's "The Rockford Files" in 1979, titled "Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs."
Posted by joe baltake at 4:00 PM