JAMES GARNER FIGHT FOR LIFE

Published on: August 10, 2009
JAMES GARNER FIGHT FOR LIFE

Maverick star won't go down without a fight!
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A year after being ravaged by a stroke, James Garner, the likeable 81-year-old star of The Rockford Files rarely leaves home and is frequently confined to a wheelchair, pals say.

"Jim has been incredibly brave, but it's been an uphill battle and one that he's losing," a longtime pal told The ENQUIRER.

"He just rebounded from a bad case of pneumonia and suffered a mini-stroke on top of that. He still tries to be cheerful, but his health woes have finally gotten to him."

The beloved actor underwent quintuple-bypass surgery in 1988. Three months later he suffered an aortic aneurysm. In May 2008 he underwent surgery after suffering a stroke and remained in intensive care for two weeks.

Once a strapping 6-foot-3, TV's -Maverick tries hard not to be overcome by his physical problems, according to the source.

"His wife Lois and their two daughters have been giving Jim daily pep talks and are coaxing him to continue his physical therapy. But he gets really depressed," the source added.

"Jim's speech is now slurred, and he's embarrassed that he can no longer speak clearly. He's begun to pull away from old friends like Peter Graves. And he's still not over the death of his best friend Paul Newman."

 "He is clearly ailing, but when you look in his eyes you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the charming, handsome movie star. And he still has a smile for everyone."

The family friend concluded: "Jim has aged a lot in the last two years, but he's a fighter."