Darren McGavin

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Darren McGavin
DarrenMcGavin Crop.jpg
Born (1922-05-07)May 7, 1922
Where Spokane|, Washington|, U.S.
Died February 25, 2006(2006-02-25) (aged 83)
Where Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Gender {{{gender}}}
Years Active 1940–2006
Roles {{{roles}}}
Parents {{{parents}}}
Spouse Anita Williams (m. 1942–43)
Melanie York (m. 1944–69)
Kathie Browne (m. 1969–2003)
Birth Name William Lyle Richardson
Occupation Actor
Appearances
First Appearance: {{{first}}}

Last Appearance: {{{last}}}


Darren McGavin (born William Lyle Richardson, May 7, 1922 – February 25, 2006)[1] was an American film, stage, and television actor best known for his portrayal of the grumpy but loving father in the film A Christmas Story, and for the title role in the television horror| series Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

McGavin began his career in walk-on roles and later onstage, appearing in Broadway| productions in 1953, and later played the title character| in the 1950s television series Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. From 1959–1961, McGavin starred in the NBC Western| series Riverboat|, first with Burt Reynolds and then with Noah Beery, and in later years, he had a recurring role in the sitcom Murphy Brown, as the title character's father, for which he received an Emmy Award.

Early life[edit]

McGavin was born in Spokane,[2] the son of Reed D. Richardson and his wife Grace (Bogart) Watson.[3][4] According to McGavin, his childhood was turbulent. He ran away from home at age eleven, and lived in abandoned warehouses in Tacoma during his teenage years.[5]

Career[edit]

McGavin spent a year at the University of the Pacific| in Stockton.[5] Untrained as an actor, he worked as a painter at Columbia Pictures movie studios in 1945. When an opening became available for a bit part in A Song to Remember, McGavin applied and won his first movie role. Shortly afterwards, he moved to New York City and studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Actors Studio under teacher Sanford Meisner.[5] He began working in live TV and on Broadway|, including The Rainmaker| (where he created the title role), The King and I, and Death of a Salesman.[6]

McGavin returned to Hollywood and became busy in a wide variety of TV and movie roles. In 1955, he appeared in the short film A Word to the Wives with Marsha Hunt|, and with roles in the feature films Summertime| and The Man with the Golden Arm. During this period, McGavin also appeared on the anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents in an episode titled "The Cheney Vase" as a scheming caretaker and aspiring art thief, opposite Carolyn Jones, Patricia Collinge, and Ruta Lee.

Over the course of his career, McGavin starred in seven different TV series and guest-starred in many more; these television roles increased in the late 1950s and early 1960s with leading parts in series such as Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and Riverboat|. McGavin held a black belt in traditional Japanese karate and was noted for doing many of his own stunts and for the "enthusiasm" he put into some fight scenes, sometimes forgetting to pull his punches and "ad-libbing" moves. McGavin narrated and appeared in The Big Picture| TV series in 1967, "The Inner Ring" episode, produced for the Office of the Chief of Information by the Army Pictorial Center.

When the comedy team Martin and Lewis broke up, McGavin played the role originally earmarked for Dean Martin in The Delicate Delinquent, Jerry Lewis's first solo film.

In 1970, he was in negotiations to replace Larry Hagman as the male lead in the television series I Dream of Jeannie for an intended sixth season, but NBC stated that they would rather cancel the series than have any additional similarities to Bewitched, in which the male lead was replaced by another actor.

McGavin was also known for his role as Sam Parkhill in the miniseries| adaptation of The Martian Chronicles. He appeared as a fill-in regular in The Name of the Game| in an episode entitled "Goodbye Harry" and was featured as a reporter in one of the Gene Barry segments.

The first of his two best-known roles came in 1972, in the supernatural-themed TV movie The Night Stalker| (1972). With McGavin playing a reporter who discovers the activities of a modern-day vampire on the loose in Las Vegas|, the film became the highest-rated made-for-TV movie in history at that time; and when the sequel The Night Strangler (1973) also was a strong success, a subsequent television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974) was made. In the series, McGavin played Carl Kolchak, an investigative reporter for the INS, a Chicago-based news service, who regularly stumbles upon the supernatural or occult basis for a seemingly mundane crime; although his involvement routinely assisted in the dispelment of the otherworldly adversary, his evidence in the case was always destroyed or seized, usually by a public official or major social figure who sought to cover up the incident. He would write his ensuing stories in a sensational, tabloid style which advised readers that the true story was being withheld from them. McGavin and the cast were enthusiastic about the series. McGavin reportedly entered into a verbal agreement with Sid Sheinberg (President of MCA and Universal TV) to produce The Night Stalker as a TV series as a coproduction between Universal and McGavin's Taurean Productions. Early promises were never fulfilled, and McGavin expressed concern over script quality and lack of network commitment toward promoting the show. His concerns appeared justified, as the series drifted into camp humor and the production values declined in later episodes.[7]

McGavin was asked to play the role of Arthur Dales, founder of the X-Files, in three episodes: season 5|'s "Travelers" and two episodes from season 6|, "Agua Mala" and "The Unnatural". Failing health forced him to withdraw from the latter, and the script (written and directed by series star David Duchovny) was rewritten to feature M. Emmet Walsh as Dales's brother, also called Arthur.

In 1983, he starred as "Old Man Parker", the narrator's father, in the movie A Christmas Story. He portrayed a middle-class father in 1940's Hohman, Indiana, who was endearing in spite of his being comically oblivious to his own use of profanity and completely unable to recognize his unfortunate taste for kitsch. Blissfully unaware of his family's embarrassment by his behavior, he took pride in his self-assessed ability to fix anything in record time, and carried on a tireless campaign against his neighbor's rampaging bloodhounds. McGavin allegedly received a fee of $2 million to play the role, making him one of the highest-paid actors of the time. thumb|left|165px|The diamond for Darren McGavin as Mike Hammer on the Studio City Walk of Fame| McGavin made an uncredited appearance in 1984's The Natural| as a shady gambler, and appeared on a Christmas episode ("Midnight of the Century") of Millennium|, playing the long-estranged father of Frank Black (Lance Henriksen); he also appeared as Adam Sandler's character's hotel-magnate father in the 1995 movie Billy Madison.

During the filming of The Natural, Robert Redford was so pleased with McGavin's portrayal of his character that they began to expand the role. However, after a certain point, union rules dictated that the actor's contract needed to be renegotiated for salary and billing. After haggling on salary, and holding up production of the movie because of it, the billing had to be decided. McGavin became somewhat fed up with the proceedings and instructed his agent to waive his billing in the credits entirely so they could get back to filming.

He won a CableACE Award (for the 1991 TV movie Clara|) and received a 1990 Emmy Award[8] as an Outstanding Guest Star in a Comedy Series on Murphy Brown, in which he played Murphy's father.

A brief and unsuccessful remake of the Night Stalker TV series in 2005 starred Stuart Townsend. In the initial episode aired on September 29, 2005, McGavin appeared momentarily in the background, using digitally inserted footage from his role in the original series.

Darren McGavin narrated the majority of the audio book versions of the adventure novels by John D. MacDonald in which each title included a color. The central character and main voice of the novels was Travis McGee.

Personal life[edit]

McGavin was married three times. He first married Anita Marie Williams in 1942.[9] He later married Melanie York on March 20, 1944; their marriage ended in divorce in 1969, but produced four children: Bogart, York, Megan, and Graemm Bridget McGavin. The third was to Kathie Browne on December 31, 1969, ending with her death in 2003.

McGavin was a lifelong active Democrat|.[10]

McGavin died on February 25, 2006, at the age of 83 of cardiovascular disease in a Los Angeles| hospital.[11] He is buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[12]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1945 A Song to Remember Student Uncredited
1945 Counter-Attack Para-tropper Uncredited
1945 Kiss and Tell| Tech Sergeant Uncredited
1946 She Wouldn't Say Yes The Kid Uncredited
1946 Fear Blonde Student Uncredited
1951 Queen for a Day| Dan
1951 Distant Drums Navy Lieutenant Uncredited
1955 Summertime| Eddie Yaeger
1955 The Man with the Golden Arm Louie
1955 The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell| Russ Peters
1955 A Word to the Wives... George Peters
1957 The Delicate Delinquent Mike Damon
1957 Beau James Charley Hand
1958 The Case Against Brooklyn Pete Harris
1964 Bullet for a Badman Sam Ward
1965 The Great Sioux Massacre Captain Benton
1966 African Gold Mike Gregory
1968 Mission Mars Col. Mike Blaiswick
1971 Mrs. Pollifax-Spy Farrell
1973 43: The Richard Petty Story Lee Petty
1973 Happy Mother's Day George Perry Uncredited
Also director
1974 Hay que matar a B. Pal Kovak
1976 No Deposit Duke
1977 Airport '77 Stan Buchek
1978 Hot Lead and Cold Feet Mayor Ragsdale
1978 Zero to Sixty Michael Nolan
1980 Hangar 18| Harry Forbes
1981 Firebird 2015 AD Red
1983 A Christmas Story Old Man Parker
1984 The Natural| Gus Sands Uncredited
1985 Turk 182 Detective Kowalski
1986 Raw Deal| Harry Shannon
1987 From the Hip| Craig Duncan
1988 Dead Heat| Dr. Ernest McNab
1989 In the Name of Blood Fergus Redding
1990 Captain America| General Fleming
1991 Blood and Concrete Hank Dick
1992 Happy Hell Night Henry Collins
1995 Billy Madison Brian Madison
1996 Small Time Sam
1999 Pros and Cons| Mr. Stanford
2008 Still Waters Burn Paddy Filmed in 1996

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1951-1952 Casey, Crime Photographer| Casey 47 episodes
1951-1958 Westinghouse Studio One Four episodes
1952 Tales of Tomorrow Bruce Calvin Episode: "The Duplicates"
1952 The Web| Episode: "Turn Back"
1952-1956 Armstrong Circle Theatre Three episodes
1952 Goodyear Television Playhouse Two episodes
1952-1953 Danger| Two episodes
1952-1954 Suspense| Two episodes
1953 Short Short Dramas Fred Diamond Episode: "The Double Cross"
1953 The Revlon Mirror Theater Episode: "The Enormous Rasio"
1953 The Philco Television Playhouse Episode: "The Rainmaker"
1954 Janet Dean, Registered Nurse Tony Burito Two episodes
1954 The Campbell Playhouse| Episode: "XXXXX Isn't Everything"
1954 Mama| Episode: "Mama and the Magician"
1954 The Telltale Clue Harry Williams Episode: "The Case of the Talking Garden"
1955 Pond's Theater Two episodes
1955 It's Always Jan Episode: "Joe"
1955 Producers' Showcase Soldier Episode: "Dateline II"
1955 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Two episodes
1955 Matinee Theatre Episode: "The Shining Palace"
1956 Climax! Walter Episode: "Night of the Heat Wave"
1956 Robert Montgomery Presents Joe Gillis Episode: "Sunset Boulevard"
1956-1957 The Alcoa Hour Two episodes
1958-1959 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Mike Hammer 78 episodes
1958 Decision| Dan Garrett Episode: "Man Against Crime"
1959 Buckskin| "Annie's Old Beau"
Director
1959-1961 Riverboat| Captain Grey Holden 42 episodes
Directed episode "The Blowup"
1961 Witchcraft Fred TV movie
1961 The Islanders| Phil Episode: "Island Witness"
1961 Death Valley Days Zacharias Gurney Episode: "The Stolen City"
Directed episode "Queen of Spades"
1961 Stagecoach West| Pierce Martin Episode: "A Place of Still Waters"
1961 Route 66| Johnny Copa Episode: "The Opponent"
1961 Rawhide| Jeff Hadley Episode: "The Sendoff"
1962 The United States Steel Hour Episode: "Marriage Marks the Spot"
1963 Playdate| Charles Morrow Episode: "The Day the Money Stopped"
1963-1964 The Defenders| Two episodes
1964 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Sheridan Westcott Episode: "A Matter of Murder"
1964 The Nurses| Fitz Condon Episode: "Hildie"
1964 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Two episodes
1964 Ben Casey Greene Episode: "Kill the Dream, but Spare the Dreamer"
1964 The Rogues| Amos Champion Episode: "The Diamond-Studded Pie"
1964-1967 The Virginian| Two episodes
1965 Dr. Kildare| Prof. Felix Holman Four episodes
1965-1966 Gunsmoke Three episodes
1966 Court Martial| Sgt. Joe Callaghan Episode: "All Roads Lead to Callaghan"
1967 Cimarron Strip Jud Starr Episode: "The Legend of Jud Starr"
1967 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Victor Karmak Episode: "The Deadly Quest Affair"
1967 Mission: Impossible J. Richard Taggart Episode: "The Seal"
1967 Custer| Jeb Powell Episode: "Desperate Mission"
1968-1969 The Outsider David Ross 28 episodes
1968-1970 The Name of the Game| Three episodes
1968 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Barney B. Duncan Two episodes
1970 The Challenge| Jacob Gallery TV movie
1970 Love Corbett Episode: "Love and the Fly"
1970 Mannix Mark Episode: "A Ticket to the Eclipse"
1970 Berlin Affair Pete Killian TV movie
1970 Tribes| Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Drake TV movie
1970 Bracken's World Max Lassiter Episode: "Infinity"
1970 Matt Lincoln Episode: "Billy"
1970 The Forty-Eight Hour Mile David Ross TV movie
1971 Banyon Lieutenant Pete Cordova Episode: "Pilot"
1971 Cade's County Courtney Vernon Episode: "Homecoming"
1971 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Kevin Ireland Episode: "The Invasion of Kevin Ireland"
1971 The Death of Me Yet Joe Chalk TV movie
1972 The Night Stalker| Carl Kolchak TV movie
1972 Something Evil Paul Worden TV movie
1972 The Rookies Sergeant Eddie Ryker Episode: "Pilot"
1972 Here Comes the Judge Judge TV movie
1972 Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole Dr. Lou Grazzo TV movie
1972-1979 The Wonderful World of Disney Five episodes
1973 The Night Strangler| Carl Kolchak TV movie
1973 The Six Million Dollar Man Oliver Spencer Pilot movie
1973-1974 The Evil Touch Three episodes
Also directed episode "A Game of Hearts"
1974 Shaft| Capt. Brian Brewster Episode: "Cop Killer"
1974 Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law McClain Episode: "A Stranger Among Us"
1974 Police Story| Matt Hallett Episode: "The Ripper"
1974-1975 Kolchak: The Night Stalker Carl Kolchak 20 episodes
Also executive producer
1976 Brink's: The Great Robbery James McNally TV movie
1976 Law and Order Deputy Chief Brian O'Malley TV movie
1978 The Users| Henry Waller TV movie
1978 Fantasy Island| Victor Duncan "Episode: "Let the Goodtimes Roll/Nightmare/The Tiger"
1979 Not Until Today Chief Jason Swan TV movie
1979 Love for Rent Coach John Martin TV movie
1979 A Bond of Iron William Weaver TV movie
1980 Ike: The War Years General George S. Patton| TV movie
1980 The Martian Chronicles| Sam Parkhill Miniseries
1980 Waikiki Captain Television film
1980 The Love Boat Lawrence Evans Two episodes
1981 Nero Wolfe| John Alan Bredeman Episode: "Gambit"
1981 Magnum Buck Gibson Episode: "Mad Buck Gibson"
1983 Tales of the Unexpected| Sheriff Milt Singleton Episode: "Heir Presumptuous"
1983 Small & Frye Nick Small Six episodes
1984 The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D. Dr. David Jennings TV movie
1984 The Baron and the Kid Jack Beamer TV movie
1985 My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn| Dr. Garrett Koets TV movie
1985 The O'Briens The Father TV movie
1985 The Hitchhiker| Old Man Episode: "Nightshift"
1985 Tales from the Darkside Van Conway Episode: "Distant Signals"
1986 Worlds Beyond Harry Hewart Episode: "Voice from the Gallows"
1987 CBS Summer Playhouse Walter Episode: "Day to Day"
1987 Tales from the Hollywood Hills: A Table at Ciro's A.D. Nathan TV movie
1988 Highway to Heaven Hale Stoddard Episode: "The Correspondent"
1988 Inherit the Wind| E.K. Hornbeck TV movie
1988 The Diamond Trap Walter Vadney TV movie
1989 Around the World in 80 Days| Benjamin Mudge Miniseries
1989 Monsters| Hubert Episode: "Portrait of the Artist"
1989-1992 Murphy Brown Bill Brown Four episodes
Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
1990 By Dawn's Early Light Condor TV movie
1990 Child in the Night Os Windfield TV movie
1990 Kojak: It's Always Something Wainright TV movie
1991 Perfect Harmony Mr. Hobbs TV movie
1992 Sibs Episode: "If I Only Had a Dad"
1992 Civil Wars| Noah Caldecott Episode: "Shop 'til You Drop"
1992 Murder Martin Tremaine Episode: "Angel of Death"
1992 Mastergate Folsom Bunting TV movie
1993 The American Clock Old Arthur Huntington TV movie
1994 A Perfect Stranger John Henry Phillips TV movie
1995 Fudge| Buster Episode: "Fudge-a-mania"
1995 Sisters| Judge Harrison Bradford Episode: "Judgement Day"
1995 Derby Lester Corbett TV movie
1995 Burke's Law| Conrad Hill Episode: "Who Killed the King of the Country Club?"
1995 Gargoyles| Dominic Dracon/G.F. Benton (voice) Episode: "The Silver Falcon"
1995 Fallen Angels| Old Man Episode: "Fly Paper"
1995 The Commish Terry Boyle Two episodes
1996 Grace Under Fire Grace's Dad Episode: "Take Me to Your Breeder"
1997 Touched by an Angel George Zarko Episode: "Missing in Action"
1997 Millennium| Henry Black Episode: "Midnight of the Century"
1998-1999 The X-Files Arthur Dales Two episodes

Stage credits[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Risling, Greg (February 26, 2006). "Actor Darren McGavin Dies at 83". The Washington Post. The Associated Press. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  2. According to the 1930 U.S. census
  3. "Darren Mcgavin Biography (1922-)". filmreference.com. 
  4. "Message Boards". myfamily.com. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Benjamin, Scott (February 26, 2006). "Actor 'Night Stalker' McGavin Dies". CBS News. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  6. "Darren McGavin". Playbill. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  7. "Night Stalker". darrenmcgavin.net. 
  8. [[wikipedia:The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present|]]. Ballantine Books. 2003. ISBN 0-345-45542-8. 
  9. "California, County Marriages, 1850-1952," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8VT-926 : 28 November 2014), William Lyle Richardson and Anita Marie Williams, 15 Aug 1942; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, county courthouses, California; FHL microfilm 2,114,960.
  10. "1968 Presidential RaceDemocrats". pophistorydig.com. 
  11. "Actor Darren McGavin dies at 83". 
  12. Darren McGavin at Find a Grave

Further reading[edit]

  • Riverboat: The Evolution of a Television Series, by S. L. Kotar and J. E. Gessler. Albany, BearManor Media, 2010. ISBN 978-1-59393-505-4.

External links[edit]


Category:1922 births Category:2006 deaths Category:American male film actors Category:American male television actors Category:Burials at Hollywood Forever Cemetery Category:Emmy Award winners Category:Male actors from the Greater Los Angeles Area Category:Male actors from Tacoma Category:Male actors from Spokane Category:University of the Pacific (United States) alumni Category:Washington (state) Democrats Category:Western (genre) television actors