Sunday, February 26, 2006


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Darren McGavin was painting a movie set in 1945 when he learned of an opening for a small role in the show, climbed off his ladder, and returned through Columbia's front gates to land the part.

The husky, tough-talking performer went on to become one of the busiest actors in television and film, starring in five TV series, including ''Mike Hammer,'' and endearing holiday audiences with his role as the grouchy dad in the 1983 comedy classic ''A Christmas Story.''

McGavin, 83, died Saturday of natural causes at a Los Angeles-area hospital with his family at his side, said his son Bogart McGavin.

McGavin also had leading roles in TV's ''Riverboat'' and cult favorite ''Kolchak: The Night Stalker.'' Among his memorable portrayals was Gen. George Patton in the 1979 TV biography ''Ike.''

Despite his busy career in television, McGavin was awarded only one Emmy: in 1990 for an appearance as Candice Bergen's opinionated father in an episode of ''Murphy Brown.''

He lacked the prominence in films he enjoyed in television, but he registered strongly in featured roles such as the young artist in Venice in ''Summertime,'' David Lean's 1955 film with Katharine Hepburn and Rosanno Brazzi; Frank Sinatra's crafty drug supplier in ''The Man with the Golden Arm'' (1955); Jerry Lewis's parole officer in ''The Delicate Delinquent'' (1957); and the gambler in 1984's ''The Natural.''

In a morbid case of synchronicity, he also starred alongside Don Knotts, who died Friday night, in the 1976 family comedy ''No Deposit, No Return.''

Throughout his television career, McGavin gained a reputation as a curmudgeon willing to bad-mouth his series and combat studio bosses.

McGavin starred in the private eye series ''Mike Hammer'' in the 1950s. In 1968 he told a reporter: ''Hammer was a dummy. I made 72 of those shows, and I thought it was a comedy. In fact, I played it camp. He was the kind of guy who would've waved the flag for George Wallace.''

Born in Spokane, Wash., McGavin was sketchy in interviews about his childhood. He told TV Guide in 1973 that he was a constant runaway at 10 and 11, and as a teen lived in warehouses in Tacoma, Wash., and dodged the police and welfare workers. His parents disappeared, he said.

He spent a year at College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., taking part in dramatics, then landed in Los Angeles. He washed dishes and was hired to paint sets at Columbia studio. He was working on ''A Song to Remember'' when an agent told him of an opening for a small role.

''I climbed off a painter's ladder and washed up at a nearby gas station,'' McGavin said. ''I returned through Columbia's front gate with the agent.'' The director, Charles Vidor, hired him. No one recognized him but the paint foreman, who said, ''You're fired.''

McGavin studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Actors Studio and began working in live TV drama and on Broadway. He appeared with Charlton Heston in ''Macbeth'' on TV and played Happy in ''Death of a Salesman'' in New York and on the road.

"Miracles & Other Wonders" (1992) TV Series .... Host
"Small & Frye" (1983) TV Series .... Nick Small
"Kolchak: The Night Stalker" (1974) TV Series .... Carl Kolchak (1974-1975)
"The Outsider" (1968) TV Series .... David Ross
"Riverboat" (1959) TV Series .... Captain Holden (1959-1961)
"Mike Hammer" (1956) TV Series .... Mike Hammer (1958)
"Crime Photographer" (1951) TV Series .... Casey (June 1951-1952)

Mysteries of the Ancient World (1994) (TV) .... Host

"Around the World in 80 Days" (1989/I) (mini) TV Series .... Benjamin Mudge
"Freedom to Speak" (1982) (mini) TV Series
"The Martian Chronicles" (1980) (mini) TV Series .... Sam Parkhill

Derby (1995) (TV) .... Lester Corbett
Fudge-A-Mania (1995) (TV) .... Buster
A Perfect Stranger (1994) (TV) .... John Henry Phillips
Mastergate (1992) (TV) .... Folsom Bunting
Perfect Harmony (1991) (TV) .... Mr. Hobbs
Clara (1991) (TV)
By Dawn's Early Light (1990) (TV) .... Condor - Secretary of Interior
Child in the Night (1990) (TV) .... Os Winfield
The Diamond Trap (1988) (TV) .... Chief Walter Vadney
Tales from the Hollywood Hills: Natica Jackson (1987) (TV) (as Darren McGaven) .... A.D. Nathan
Tales from the Hollywood Hills: A Table at Ciro's (1987) (TV) .... A.D. Nathan
The Baron and the Kid (1984) (TV) .... Jack Beamer
Waikiki (1980/I) (TV) .... Captain
Love for Rent (1979) (TV) .... Coach John Martin
Not Until Today (1979) (TV) .... Chief Jason Swan
Donovan's Kid (1979) (TV) .... Timothy Donovan
A Bond of Iron (1979) (TV) .... William Weaver
The Users (1978) (TV) .... Henry Waller
Law and Order (1976) (TV) .... Deputy Chief Brian O'Malley
Something Evil (1972) (TV) .... Paul Worden
The Death of Me Yet (1971) (TV) .... Joe Chalk
Tribes (1970) (TV) .... Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Drake
Berlin Affair (1970) (TV) .... Paul Killian
The Challengers (1970) (TV) .... Jim McCabe
The Challenge (1970) (TV) .... Jacob Gallery
The Forty-Eight Hour Mile (1970) (TV)

The American Clock (1993) (TV) .... Older Arthur Huntington
Inherit the Wind (1988) (TV) .... E.K. Hornbeck
"Studio One"
- Macbeth (1951) TV Episode .... Macduff

"Night Stalker"
- Pilot (2005) TV Episode (uncredited) .... Reporter Standing at Desk
Kojak: It's Always Something (1990) (TV)
The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D. (1984) (TV) .... Dr. David Jennings

The Six Million Dollar Man (1973) (TV) .... Oliver Spencer
The Night Strangler (1973) (TV) .... Carl Kolchak
Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole (1972) (TV) .... Dr. Lou Grazzo
Here Comes the Judge (1972) (TV) .... Judge
The Rookies (1972) (TV) .... Sergeant Eddie Ryker
The Night Stalker (1972) (TV) .... Carl Kolchak
Banyon (1971) (TV) .... Lieutenant Pete Cordova
The Outsider (1967) (TV) .... David Ross

Captain America (1991) .... Gen. Fleming
A Christmas Story (1983) .... The Old Man (Mr. Parker)
Mooch Goes to Hollywood (1971) (uncredited) .... Himself

My Wicked, Wicked Ways... The Legend of Errol Flynn (1985) (TV) .... Dr. Gerrit Koets
"Ike" (1979) (mini) TV Series .... Gen. George S. Patton
Ike: The War Years (1978) (TV)
Brinks: The Great Robbery (1976) (TV) .... James McNally

- The Silver Falcon (1995) TV Episode (voice) .... Dominic Dracon

"The X Files"
- Agua Mala (1999) TV Episode .... Arthur Dales
- Travelers (1998) TV Episode .... Agent Arthur Dales
"Murphy Brown"
- I'm Dreaming of a Brown Christmas (1992) TV Episode .... Bill Brown
- Full Circle (1991) TV Episode .... Bill Brown
- Brown Like Me: Part 1 (1989) TV Episode .... Bill Brown
- Brown Like Me: Part 2 (1989) TV Episode .... Bill Brown
"Dr. Kildare"
- With This Ring (1965) TV Episode .... Felix Holman
- When Shadows Fall (1965) TV Episode .... Felix Holman
- In the Roman Candle's Bright Glare (1965) TV Episode .... Felix Holman
- From Nigeria with Love (1965) TV Episode .... Felix Holman

- Midnight of the Century (1997) TV Episode .... Henry Black
"Touched by an Angel"
- Missing in Action (1997) TV Episode .... George Zarko
"Grace Under Fire"
- Take Me to Your Breeder (1996) TV Episode .... Dad
"The Commish"
- Father Image: Part 2 (1995) TV Episode .... Terry Boyle
- Father Image: Part 1 (1995) TV Episode .... Terry Boyle
"Burke's Law"
- Who Killed the King of the Country Club? (1995) TV Episode .... Conrad Hill
- Judgment Day (1995) TV Episode .... Judge Harrison Bradford
"Murder, She Wrote"
- Angel of Death (1992) TV Episode .... Martin Tremaine
"Civil Wars"
- Shop 'Til You Drop (1992) TV Episode .... Noah Caldecott
- If I Only Had a Dad (????) TV Episode
- Portrait of the Artist (1989) TV Episode .... Hubert
"Highway to Heaven"
- The Correspondent (1988) TV Episode .... Hale Stoddard
"Worlds Beyond"
- Voice from the Gallows (1986) TV Episode
"Tales from the Darkside"
- Distant Signals (1985) TV Episode .... Van Conway
"The Hitchhiker"
- Nightshift (1985) TV Episode .... Old Man
"Tales of the Unexpected"
- Heir Presumptuous (1983) TV Episode .... Sheriff Milt Singleton
"Magnum, P.I."
- Mad Buck Gibson (1981) TV Episode .... Buck Gibson
"Nero Wolfe"
- Gambit (1981) TV Episode .... Philigree
"The Love Boat"
- Promoter, The/The Judges/The Family Plan/Forever Engaged/May the Best Man Win: Part 1 (1980) TV Episode .... Lawrence Evans
- Promoter, The/The Judges/The Family Plan/Forever Engaged/May the Best Man Win: Part 2 (1980) TV Episode .... Lawrence Evans
"The Evil Touch"
- Gornak's Prism (1974) TV Episode
- George (1973) TV Episode
- A Game of Hearts (1973) TV Episode
"Police Story"
- The Ripper (1974) TV Episode .... Matt Hallett
"Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law"
- A Foreigner Among Us (1974) TV Episode
- Cop Killer (1974) TV Episode
"The Bold Ones: The Lawyers"
- The Invasion of Kevin Ireland (1971) TV Episode .... Kevin Ireland
"Cade's County"
- Homecoming (1971) TV Episode .... Courtney Vernon
"Matt Lincoln"
- Billy (1970) TV Episode
"Bracken's World"
- Infinity (1970) TV Episode .... Max Lassiter
"The Name of the Game"
- Battle at Gannon's Bridge (1970) TV Episode .... Eddie Gannon
- Good-bye Harry (1969) TV Episode .... Sam Hardy
- Shine On, Shine On, Jesse Gil (1968) TV Episode .... Jesse Gil McCray
- A Ticket to the Eclipse (1970) TV Episode .... Mark
"Love, American Style"
- Love and Double Trouble/Love and the Fly/Love and the Millionaire (1970) TV Episode .... (segment "Love and the Fly")
- Desperate Mission (1967) TV Episode .... Jeb Powell
"Mission: Impossible"
- The Seal (1967) TV Episode .... J. Richard Taggart
"The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
- The Deadly Quest Affair (1967) TV Episode .... Viktor Karmak
"The Virginian"
- The Deadly Past (1967) TV Episode .... Sam Evans
- The Intruders (1964) TV Episode .... Mark Troxel
"Cimarron Strip"
- The Legend of Jud Starr (1967) TV Episode .... Jud Starr
- Gunfighter, R.I.P (1966) TV Episode .... Joe Bascome
- The Hostage (1965) TV Episode .... Lon Gorman
- Twenty Miles from Dodge (1965) TV Episode .... Will Helmick
"Felony Squad"
- The Streets Are Paved with Quicksand (1966) TV Episode .... Leslie Gorman
"Court Martial"
- All Roads Lead to Callaghan (1966) TV Episode
"Confidential for Women"
- Episode dated 25 April 1966 (1966) TV Episode .... Andy
"The Rogues"
- The Diamond-Studded Pie (1965) TV Episode .... Amos Champion
"Ben Casey"
- Kill the Dream, but Spare the Dreamer (1964) TV Episode
"Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre" - Parties to the Crime (1964) TV Episode .... Joe Masson
- The Game with Glass Pieces (1964) TV Episode .... Franklin Carson
"The Defenders"
- A Taste of Ashes (1964) TV Episode .... Marty Wisnovsky
- Everybody Else Is Dead (1963) TV Episode .... Howard Potter
"The Nurses"
- Hildie (1964) TV Episode
- Episode #3.6 (1964) TV Episode .... Fitz Condon
"The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"
- A Matter of Murder (1964) TV Episode .... Sheridan Westcott
"The United States Steel Hour"
- Marriage Marks the Spot (1962) TV Episode
"Purex Summer Specials"
- The Problem Child (1962) TV Episode .... James Carlisle
- The Sendoff (1961) TV Episode .... Jed Hadley
"Route 66"
- The Opponent (1961) TV Episode .... Johnny Copa
"Death Valley Days"
- The Stolen City (1961) TV Episode .... Zacharias Gurney
"Stagecoach West"
- A Place of Still Waters (1961) TV Episode .... Pierce Martin
"The Islanders"
- Island Witness (1961) TV Episode .... Phil
- Man Against Crime (1958) TV Episode .... Dan Garrett
"Studio One"
- The Fair-Haired Boy (1958) TV Episode .... Tom Kendall
- First Prize for Murder (1957) TV Episode .... Johnny Quigg
- Fandango at War Bonnet (1954) TV Episode .... Will Sorrell
"The Alcoa Hour"
- The Original Miss Chase (1957) TV Episode .... Arthur Bryan
- The Archangel Harrigan (1956) TV Episode .... Harrigan
"Robert Montgomery Presents"
- Sunset Boulevard (1956) TV Episode
- Night of the Heat Wave (1956) TV Episode .... Walter
"It's Always Jan"
- Episode dated 12 May 1956 (1956) TV Episode
"Armstrong Circle Theatre"
- Terror at My Heels (1956) TV Episode .... Lieutenant Melvin Shadduck
- The Town That Refused to Die (1955) TV Episode .... Carl Broggi
- Recapture (1952) TV Episode
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents"
- The Cheney Vase (1955) TV Episode .... Lyle Endicott
- Triggers in Leash (1955) TV Episode .... Red Hillman
"Kraft Television Theatre"
- Blind Alley (1954) TV Episode
- Unequal Contest (1954) TV Episode
- Episode dated 28 May 1954 (1954) TV Episode
"Campbell Playhouse"
- XXXXX Isn't Everything (1954) TV Episode
- An Affair with a Ghost (1954) TV Episode
- For the Love of Randi (1952) TV Episode
"The Philco Television Playhouse"
- The Rainmaker (1953) TV Episode
"The Revlon Mirror Theater"
- The Enormous Radio (1953) TV Episode
- Hand Me Down (1953) TV Episode
- The Thread of Scarlett (1952) TV Episode
"Short Short Dramas"
- The Double Cross (1953) TV Episode
"Goodyear Television Playhouse"
- Better Than Walking (1952) TV Episode
- The Witness (1952) TV Episode
"Tales of Tomorrow"
- The Duplicates (1952) TV Episode .... Bruce Calvin

"Don Adams' Screen Test"
- To Have and Have Not (1975) TV Episode .... Humphrey Bogart
"It's Your Bet"
- Kathie Browne vs. Darren McGavin (1973) TV Episode .... Panelist
"It Takes Two"
- Episode dated 1 June 1970 (1970) TV Episode .... Himself
- Just Be Normal (1954) TV Episode

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