Actor James Garner gives OU half a million dollars

Friday, April 4th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ James Garner, who has spent 50 years as a television and movie star, is giving $500,000 to help aspiring actors at the University of Oklahoma.

Garner's gift will be used to endow a $1 million faculty chair in the university's School of Drama.

The university will request matching funds from state regents to create the James Garner Chair in Drama, the first endowed position in the history of the drama school. The chair will be designated for the director of the school.

``It is appropriate that the first endowed chair in drama would come from James Garner, who has remained so dedicated to the university and to his hometown of Norman throughout his nationally acclaimed career as an actor,'' OU President David Boren said.

Garner, 74, got choked up as he spoke to the standing-room-only campus crowd that gathered for the announcement.

``Oh, has somebody got a Kleenex?'' the Norman native said. ``Strangely enough, I have a fear of public speaking. I don't have it in front of a camera because I know I can always do it over.''