TV and movie star James Garner has died at age 86 in his Los Angeles home.

The star of hit 60s cowboy show Maverick, who played the older Ryan Gosling in The Notebook, was found dead when an ambulance arrived at his home at around 8pm on Saturday.

The cause of his death is not yet known.

In 1988 Garner reportedly underwent quintuple bypass surgery, and in 2008 suffered a minor stroke.

Garner was one of the first actors to gain success in both film and television, however he will be best remembered for his TV roles.

Garner starred as Bret Maverick in the eponymous hit show, which ran from 1957-1960, as well as starring alongside Mel Gibson in the big screen remake in 1994.

Before becoming an actor Garner, born James Bumgarner in Norman, Oaklahoma, worked as a merchant seaman, national guardsman and served in the Korean War, where he was awarded a Purple Heart before his discharge in 1952.

Garner started his career in theatre, before moving into television where he played supporting roles.

His big break came in 1957, when he was offered the lead role in the comedic Western that would make his name.

"The role and the series fit his wry personality like a glove. Originally the story was to alternate between the Maverick brothers played by Garner and Jack Kelly, but "Maverick" quickly became all about Garner's character, who used his wits to get out of trouble," writes Richard Natale in Variety.

"I'm playing me," Garner said about the role. "Bret Maverick is lazy: I'm lazy. And I like being lazy."

He was awarded an Emmy for the role.

Between 1974 and 1980 Garner starred in the Rockford Files, a hit detective series in the same comedic vein as Maverick for which he won another Emmy.

By now a household name, Garner went to star in a number of television and big screen films.

In 1985, he gained an Oscar nomination for his role opposite Sally Fields in romantic comedy Murphy's Romance.

In his later years he starred alongside Clint Eastwood in veteran astronaut comedy Space Cowboys, and in 2004 starred in The Notebook, where he and Gena Rowlands played the older version of a couple played by Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

Garner is survived by his wife, the former Lois Clarke, to whom he was married since 1956; daughter Greta 'Gigi' Garner; as well as an adopted daughter, Kimberley, from Clarke's first marriage.