Although the majority of people might remember Darren McGavin as the father to Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”, I remember him best as Carl Kolchack from “The Night Stalker”, a TV series that didn’t last long enough. That show use to scare me to death.
McGavin died today at the age of 83.
McGavin died of natural causes at a Los Angeles-area hospital with his family at his side, said his son Bogart McGavin.
McGavin made his film debut in 1945 when he switched from painter of movie sets to bit actor in “A Song to Remember.” After a decade of learning his craft in New York, he returned to Hollywood and became one of the busiest actors in television and films.
He starred in five series, including cult favorite “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” and “Riverboat,” and became a prolific actor in TV movies. Among his memorable portrayals was Gen. George Patton in the 1979 TV biography “Ike.”
He may be best recognized for his role as the hot-tempered father of a boy yearning for the gift of a BB gun in the 1983 comedy “A Christmas Story.” The film has become a holiday-season staple on TV.
The following announcement was made from McGavin’s website:
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Darren McGavin at approximately 7:10 A.M. Pacific time today, Saturday 25, 2006. Darren was just three months short of his 84th birthday. While we suspect none of us can imagine a world without the beloved, feisty little red-head, it is time to reflect, give thanks for his life and hold in reverence his memory. Darren is gone, but in many respects he will always be with us: as Carl Kolchak, fighting authority and battling monsters; the grumpy Old Man sending curses over Lake Michigan; as David Ross, the outsider, Grey Holden, captain of the Enterprise, the irascible detective Mike Hammer or any number of memorable guest star appearances, most notably as Joe Bascome on GUNSMOKE and as the washed-up old actor from “Distant Signals.”
Please take a moment in your sadness to reflect upon all the ways Darren touched your lives, say a prayer and raise a glass to toast a career which spanned over fifty years and affected us all in ways too numerous to count.