Turner Classic Movies
McGavin, Darren
Written by Diana Saenger   

Date of Birth: May 7, 1922

Place of Birth: Spokane, Washington

Date of Death:  February 25, 2006

Place of Death:  Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death:  natural causes

Those who watch TV will most likely remember Darren McGavin for his appearances in 100s of television shows. Film fans will probably remember McGavin best as the father of the Red Rider-rifle shooter in the humorous holiday classic A Christmas Story.

dmcgavinsm.jpgBorn on May 7, 1922 to Reid Delano Richardson and Grace Bogart McGavin in Spokane, Wash. (some sources list his birthplace as San Joaquin, Calif. Little is known about the actor's early life. He told TV Guide in 1973 that he was a constant runaway by 10, and when he was a teenager he lived in warehouses in Tacoma, Wash. He often claimed that his parents vanished.

McGavin spent a year at College of the Pacific in Stockton, California where he participated in drama classes. He trained for the performing arts at the Actors Studio and New York's Neighborhood Playhouse. Moving to Los Angeles he washed dishes and then became a set painter at Columbia studios.

His first appearance in a film was an uncredited role in A Song to Remember (1945). His first TV series was Crime Photographer and he appeared on the show for two years. McGavin started getting recognition for his good looks and gained a reputation as a versatile actor. Films he made in the 1950s include The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955) and The Delicate Delinquent (1957).

McGavin eased into a notable TV role when he played the hard-boiled detective Mike Hammer in the Mike Hammer TV series. He aced the role and McGavin would go on to play everything from bit parts to lead roles in television series throughout the rest of his career including newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak in the classic horror TV series    Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974), Gunsmoke (1955), Dr. Kildare (1961), The Man from U.N.C.L.E (1964), Mission: Impossible (1966), Murphy Brown (1988) and as Agent Arthur Dales in The X-Files (1998-99).

Once again showing his versatility, McGavin also did well on the theater stage starring in such productions as The Rainmaker, Blood Sweat & Stanley Poole, The King and I, and Death of a Salesman.

Some of the feature films McGavin appeared in later years include The Natural, unaccredited (1984) Captain America (1991), Billy Madison (1995), Still Waters Burn (1996) and Pros and Cons (1999).

McGavin lives as many characters throughout his 83 years.




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