If I didn’t want to be an actor, I certainly didn’t want to be a star. Fame is a trap. It comes and goes in a flash ... I wanted fortune, but never fame. Not only is fame fleeting, it’s also deceiving. People are constantly telling you how wonderful you are. Your ego blows up like a balloon. You get sucked in by your own publicity and lose your grip on reality. It’s a drug; you need more and more of it. It’s also a bargain with the devil: you win fame and lose anonymity. It sounds like a fair trade. It isn’t. ... I wasn’t always polite to autograph seekers. One year after a round at the Greater Greensboro Open, Billy Dee and I were being taken back to our hotel. A woman approached, stuck a paper and pen in my face and asked for an autograph. ‘Lady,’ I said. ‘How would you like to kiss a fat man’s ass?’ ... There are a few perks. You get special treatment here and there, but it isn’t worth it. If America suddenly got amnesiac and forgot who I was, that would be fine with me. I just don’t get it. On the one hand, I know that some people like my work, but somehow that doesn’t get through. I’ve never thought of myself as anything special, and I don’t like to be the centre of attention, but there wasn’t much i could do to avoid it. I’d have worn a disguise in public if i thought it would have done any good, but I figured they’d know who it was the minute I opened my mouth. It was once reported that I paid the seller of a map to the stars’ homes to take me off the list, but that’s not true. I may have threatened to give the guy a shot in the mouth, but I didn’t bribe him. [181-4]Marvellous stuff. Otherwise I learned that Garner’s surname is actually ‘Bumgarner’, which is simply too wonderful; that his politics are, by American standards, left-wing (‘I’m a bleeding heart liberal, one of those card-carrying Democrats that Rush Limbaugh thinks is a communist. I’m proud of it’), and that there is only one thing he likes about being famous:
Nope, there’s nothing I like about fame. Except for the ten-foot-tall, bronze statue of me as Bret Maverick that was unveiled in Norman, Oklahoma, on April 21 2006.There’s a profound truth here somewhere: fame is all downsides, except for the statues.