s skippy the bush kangaroo: rip darren mcgavin

skippy the bush kangaroo

Sunday, February 26, 2006

rip darren mcgavin

reader susan tells us the sad, sad news that darren mcgavin, one of the finest character actors to grace big screen and small, died at the age 83.

mr. mcgavin is known to millions as ralphie's father in the best christmas movie ever, "christmas story." and sci-fi cult tv fans all over remember him fondly as kolchak, "the night stalker."

tho in reality, the night stalker was the name of the first monster that kolchak, intrepid if cheap reporter for the chicago news first hunted, the title stuck for the two years the show was on. we have no proof that the recent remake of mr. mcgavin's signature show had anything to do with his demise, but we would not be suprised.


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 also had leading roles in tv's "riverboat" and cult favorite "kolchak: the night stalker." among his memorable portrayals was u.s. army 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 gus sands in 1984's "the natural" that starred robert redford.

mr. mcgavin was uncredited in "the natural" (one of the best baseball movies ever made), a sign that the erstwhile actor had finally achieved universal stardom.

chris carter, creator of the x-files, has often cited "night stalker" as the inspiration for his own creepy series, and in fact used mr. mcgavin several times in both that show and "millenium."

the asspress notes an irony:

he also starred alongside don knotts, who died friday night, in the 1976 family comedy "no deposit, no return."
posted by skippy at 7:27 PM |


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