Nathan Kontny cites this star-got-lucky-in-Hollywood story on Signal v. Noise

Before acting, James Garner had dozens of different jobs. He’d work them a few months, save money, quit, coast for awhile, and then find the next thing.

At 17, one of James’ jobs was pumping gas at a Shell station in Hollywood. That’s where James met Paul Gregory who worked at the drugstore across the street manning the soda fountain.

But Paul Gregory had a dream of being a Hollywood agent and talked about representing James.

James after all was good looking—enough people told him so. But James had no intention of being an actor. He just laughed it off.

Years later, James was coming back from a tour of duty in the Korean War and he spotted Paul’s name in Newsweek. Paul was now a stage producer with three big hits.

And about a year after that, while visiting LA and driving back from a failed attempt at getting a job drilling oil wells in Saudi Arabia, James spotted a sign: “Paul Gregory and Associates.” He wasn’t planning on stopping, but all of a sudden he noticed a parking space open up in front of the office.

James parked the car, went inside to visit his old friend, and Paul immediately decided to become James’ agent, send him to acting school, and help get him a job. The rest is a brilliant career in television and film.

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