- Marlon Brando, Sayonara, 1957. “The idea was to go with either Brando and an unknown Japanese girl - or, Audrey Hepburn and an unknown guy. They couldn’t afford both Brando and Hepburn. If they went with her, I had a shot at the lead. Well, they went with Brando.” And Jim replaced John Smith as Brando's antagonist.
- Stuart Whitman, Darby’s Rangers, (UK: The Young Invaders), 1958. When Charlton Heston quit director William A Wellman’s WWII army, Jim was promoted from the ranks and his part taken over by Whitman.
- David Janssen, Lafayette Escadrille, 1958. Wild Bill Wellman’s final film. Because Jack Warner - “one of the most despicable men I’ve known” - changed everything. “It was never called Lafayette Escadrille. It was C’est la Guerre, that was the story. He made that into a happy ending. I said: ‘Oh, the hell with it.’ I got out and never made another picture.”
- Ricky Nelson, Rio Bravo, 1958.
- James Coburn, The Americanisation of Emily, 1964. Coburn inherited Lieutenant Commander Bob Cummings when James Garner was promoted to the lead rôle after William Holden was sacked for rows over the script and the director. Film was based on William Bradford Hui’s second book about Lieutenant Commander James Monroe Madison, called Charlie here, and Jim Blair when played by Richard Egan, opposite Jane Russell, in The Revolt of Mamie Stover, 1955.
- Richard Harris, Hawaii, 1966. As directors changed from Fred Zinnemann to George Roy Hill.
- Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes, 1967.
- Donald Sutherland, M*A*S*H, 1969. Director Robert Altman's first choice was told by his prospective partner, James Coburn: “Don’t do it - it’ll ruin your career.” Producer Ingo Preminger had seen Sutherland among The Dirty Dozen - and he suggested Elliott Gould, instead of Coburn!
- Jack Nicholson, Terms of Endearment, 1983. “James Brooks is a great writer but it was his first directing job and he couldn’t tell me what he wanted to do with the film. I don’t care if the movie's Gone With The Wind, if I didn’t think it was going to be fun I wouldn’t do it.” This one was five Oscars full of fun - including a second for Jack..
- Robert Duval, Lonesome Dove, TV, 1989. Too ill to be Gus Macre or Woodrow Call. Originally written by Larry McMurtry in 1971 for John Wayne (opposite Henry Fonda and James Stewart). Ten years on, McMurtry turned the script into a book that bred the mini-series…
- Tommy Lee Jones, Lonesome Dove, TV, 1989. … Soon as he was fit, ,Garner took over the introverted Captain Woodrow Call, retired Texas ranger turned bounty hunter, in the 1995 sequel, Streets of Laredo - the name of the ’71 Peter Bogdanovich project - badly, sadly - rejected by Duke, Henry Fonda, James Stewart. (Wayne and, thereby the others were warned off by a jealous John Ford). But as with Jon Voight in Return to Lonesome Dove, 1993 (nothing to do the writer Larry McMurtry) the essential magic (Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones) was long gone.
"My heart just broke," said Sally Field in a 2014 statement about Garner’s death. Field co-starred with him in Murphy's Romance, for which Garner won an Oscar nod. "There are few people on this planet I have adored as much as Jimmy Garner. I cherish every moment I spent with him and relive them over and over in my head. He was a diamond."