BrandNewConcept (brandnewconcept) wrote in nightstalk_talk,

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In Memoriam, Darren McGavin

(May 7, 1922-February 25, 2006)

Darren McGavin was born May 7, 1922 in San Joaquin, California (I've read other sources that list his place of birth as Spokane, Washington. Which is right? I'm not sure, at this point in time). The earliest acting appearance I could find was a 1945 role he had in "A Song To Remember". His body of work is obviously lengthy and I won't try to list it all here in this post. Instead, I would recommend you to follow this link over to Darren's Bio page at IMDb:

Here's just a few career highlights:

* He had a recurring role as Bill Brown...Murphy Brown's curmudgeon father on the series of the same name, in the early 90's. I've read that Darren won his one-and-only Emmy (1990) for that role.

* He portrayed Mike Hammer in a 1950's series. In later years, he trashed the series, calling the Mike Hammer character a "dummy".

* In 1976, he made a Disney film with Don Knotts (who passed away one day before Darren) called "No Deposit, No Return".

* He portrayed retired FBI agent Arthur Dales on two (possibly others?) episodes of the X-Files (this, I've read, was an homage of sorts by Chris Carter to Darren's acting talents. Chris has said in more than one interview that he was inspired to create X-Files from watching episodes of Kolchak: The Nightstalker)

* Played the father in the now-classic movie "A Christmas Story" (1983) with Melinda Dillon and Peter Billingsley (the movie that TNT shows non-stop every December 25th). Some trivia: According to IMDb, Darren received 2 million dollars for his role in that film.

* Played a doctor in the 1988 Schwarzenegger film Dead Heat

* Portrayed George S. Patton in the TV biography/film called "Ike" in 1979.

And many, many other TV/film roles. Click the above link over to IMDb for the complete listing. I've read that Darren went un-credited as Executive Producer for most of the 20 episodes from the original Nighstalker series. He was married twice: first to Melanie York from 1944-1969. That union produced 4 children...York, Megan, Bridget, and Bogart. His second marriage was to Kathie Browne and that was from 1969 till her death in 2003 (from an un-disclosed illness). His son, Bogart, has said the two were separated just prior to her death (which is kinda sad). I found this site that is dedicated to (now the memory of) Darren and his second wife, Kathie.

If you scroll down a bit on that page, you can see some interesting pics of Darren, from different points in this life. One there is from Darren's 81st birthday celebration in 2003. Darren is on the left in that pic (and it might shock you to see what he looked like there but keep in mind that he was 81 by then) and his son, York, on the right. It's interesting that York looks pretty much the way Darren did back in the mid-70's (when the original series was on the air). Not sure if York is an actor but I thought...wouldn't it be wild if he could somehow portray Kolchak on some future project? Seems only appropriate. I think I recognize (the late) Kathie Browne. I believe she portrayed the Chief of Police on the episode of the original N.S. series...the one titled "The Sentry". I could be mistaken, but I think she also appeared in an episode of the original Star Trek Series from the 60's...the one titled "Wink of an Eye". I may add to this bio/tribute entry if I come across any other noteworthy info on Darren's life and career.

I thought I'd put up the link to Kathie Browne's tribute page over at

This is a really nice tribute page to Kathie (and it confirms my earlier statement about the Star Trek episode) and I especially like the verse that is listed below Kathie's picture. If you scroll about half-way down, you'll see a pic of two elderly gentlemen. This is from Kathie's memorial service in 2003. On the left is Darren, looking quite frail (and, sadly, he appears to be in a wheel-chair). And do you recognize the guy on the right in that photo? I had to look closely myself but...that is Jack Grinnage, the man who portrayed Ron Updyke from the original N.S. series. He's changed quite a bit over the years, hasn't he. But he's still got that moustache.

I'd like to credit the following sites for furnishing information on Darren's life and acting history:




Tags: biography, darren mcgavin, kolchak
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