Surfer in beach party movies was 77 years old – The Hollywood Reporter

Ed Garner, a local surfer from Southern California who found a home with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon in some of the popular beach party movies of the 1960s, has died. He was 77 years old.

Garner died on March 5 at his home in Carmel-by-the-Sea after several years of illness, said his 38-year-old wife, Kelly Green Garner. The Hollywood Reporter.

Garner regularly surfed in Malibu and was not far from his graduation day at Beverly Hills High School, when a family friend offered him a role in American International Pictures. Beach party (1963), the Funicello-Avalon adventure that started the whole subgenre. Director William Asher asked him to bring some of his surfing friends with him to populate the film.

Garner then appeared for Asher in Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bingo with beach blanket (1965), How to fill a wild bikini (1965) and Fireball 500 (1966), the last place in the world of stock car racing, but with Funicello and Avalon in the lead roles.

Along the way, Garner signed a contract with AIP while working for the studio in other films such as Pajama party (1964), Beach Bikini (1964), Ski party (1965) and Invisible bikini ghost (1966).

Ed Garner and actress Patti Chandler in a promotional photo for the “Pajama Party” of 1964

The background player was even loaned to United Artists to appear For those who think young (1964), starring James Darren and Pamela Tiffin, and was in the 1964 episode of NBC Dr. Kildare in which the guest star Yvette Mimieux made TV history by showing her navel.

“I did not appreciate what I had. For me, it was just a great concert, it made a lot of money, and I basically got into a totally different lifestyle, ”Garner said in Tom Lisanti’s 2005 book. Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969.

“I went from being a carpenter’s apprentice and surfing to making movies and meeting in a completely different circle. I had the best time of my life. ”

He said he never considered himself an actor.

Edward Byron Garner was born on October 15, 1944, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. His grandfather was HB Warner, an actor who appeared in silent films and in It’s a wonderful life, Mr. Deeds is going to town and, like himself, in Sunset Blvd..

After the rise and fall of the beach party film, Garner worked with Doris Day’s son Terry Melcher in the music industry and appeared in a 1972 episode of her CBS comedy for her latest screen credits.

He also opened a restaurant, Head of the Wolf, in Santa Barbara and developed a chain of retail stores, Camp Santa Barbara, that sold clothing for the California lifestyle.

Garner re-entered the music business in the 1980’s and was involved in licensing for groups working with Concerts West and Jerry Weintraub Entertainment. He and his wife moved to Carmel-by-the-Sea in 2009.

Survivors include his sister, Melinda; niece Tricia; grandchildren Christopher and Patrick; brother Dan; and sister-in-law Keri. He was married to French actress Dany Saval in the 1960s.

Donations can be made in his memory to the Surfrider Foundation.