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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Darren McGavin 1922 - 2006

--posted by JRJ on 2/25/2006

(from IMDB)

Darren McGavin, the amazingly prolific actor whose best-known roles included reporter Carl Kolchak in the cult TV hit The Night Stalker and the irasicble father in A Christmas Story, died Saturday in Los Angeles of natural causes; he was 83. An actor who received his training at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Actors Studio in New York, he first came to prominence with a number of supporting parts in the 50s, most notably The Man With the Golden Arm, The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell, and Summertime, all released in 1955. Previously, he had undertaken a number of TV roles, and his familiarity with the medium, along with his tough guy persona, landed him the starring role in the Mike Hammer TV series, based on Mickey Spillane's rough=hewn detective. Though he also appeared in films and onstage throughout his career, McGavin was a constant presence in television, most often as a guest star on shows such as Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible and a veritable ton of others; the IMDb credits him with parts in over 170 individual films and TV shows. In 1974, McGavin landed the role of investigative reporter Carl Kolchak, who in The Night Stalker went up against a number of strange, supernatural creatures. Though the show lasted only one season, it became an instant cult hit, and a major influence for the "X-Files" school of spookiness and mystery (in fact, McGavin later made a two-episode appearance on The X-Files). In the 80s, McGavin played the profanity-spouting, lamp-obsessed "Old Man" in the modern-day holiday classic A Christmas Story, a gambler/bookie in an uncredited part in The Natural, and the father of Candice Bergen's Murphy Brown, which earned him an Emmy nomination. Those roles are just the tip of the iceberg, as McGavin worked non-stop up through the late 90s. Appropriately, his last credited role is for a part in the updated version of The Night Stalker, which lasted only one season. McGavin is survived by four children -- York, Megan, Bridget and Bogart -- from his first marriage to Melanie York McGavin.


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