McGavin first appeared in the movie A Song to Remember (1945) and moved on to a wide variety of TV and movie roles. Over the course of his career the veteran actor starred in seven different TV series and guest-starred in many more. These roles on television increased in the late 1950's and early 1960s with such diverse projects as Mike Hammer and Riverboat.
McGavin won one ACE award (for the 1991 TV movie Clara) and received an Emmy Award nomination as an Outstanding Guest Star in a Comedy Series on the comedy series Murphy Brown.
McGavin's two best-known roles were as The Old Man, the narrator's father, in the classic Christmas movie A Christmas Story (1983), and as reporter Carl Kolchak in the supernatural-themed TV movies The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973), and the subsequent television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974). Kolchak was the inspiration for the successful 1993 series The X-Files and—because of this—McGavin was asked to play the role of Arthur Dales, the man who started the X-Files, in three episodes. Season 5's Travelers, and two episodes from Season 6: Agua Mala and The Unnatural. Unfortunately, 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' brother, also called Arthur.
He was also well known for his role as Mike Hammer in the TV series Mike Hammer (1957), and is remembered for his role as Sam Parkhill in the miniseries adaptation of The Martian Chronicles. He also appeared as a regular in The Name of the Game in 1971 after Tony Franciosa was fired. He, Peter Falk, Robert Culp, and Robert Wagner stepped in to rotate the lead with Gene Barry and Robert Stack.
McGavin also made an uncredited appearance in 1984's The Natural as a shady gambler and appeared on a Christmas episode (Midnight of the Century) of Chris Carter's Millennium, playing the long-estranged father of Frank Black (Lance Henriksen); he also appeared as Adam Sandler's hotel-magnate father in the 1995 movie Billy Madison.
McGavin was married to the actress Kathie Browne from 1969 until her death in 2003.
McGavin died of natural causes at age 83 in a Los Angeles-area hospital, according to his son, Bogart McGavin.
In addition to Bogart, he was survived by three other children, York, Megan, and Bridget.
Darren McGavin Facts
|May 7, 1922
|San Joaquin, California, USA
|Date of death
|February 25, 2006 (age 83)
|Kolchak: The Night Stalker
|A Christmas Story
|Happy Gilmore / Billy Madison Double Feature
|Don't Look In The Basement
|Liar Liar / Bruce Almighty / Happy Gilmore / Billy Madison Four Feature Films
|Airport: The Complete Collection
|Man With The Golden Arm