Darren McGavin, 83, that played gruff, grumpy yet often goodhearted characters in a profusion the fondly recalled television collection and shows, died Feb. 25 in Los Angeles.

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He died of multiple body organ failure in ~ Olympia Hospital, his boy York McGavin said.

In the "Night Stalker" series, Mr. McGavin wore a porkpie cap to play reporter Carl Kolchak, that revealed the occult forces behind the reality of the Chicago streets. Mr. McGavin is widely remembered together the father in 1983"s "A Christmas Story," a classic that reappears every year throughout the vacation season.

He was also Mike Hammer, the embodiment that the hard-nosed personal eye, in the collection based top top the Mickey Spillane novels.

In dozens of roles in made-for-TV movies, in series, or in illustration of series, Mr. McGavin appeared pessimistic or curmudgeonly. However even if he to be a grouch, that was commonly a grouch through a glint in his eye.

York McGavin claimed last night the the irascible on-screen number was no the dad he knew. That said, however, that his father was a experienced who knew what to be demanded the him, "took great pride in his craft" and also came to work prepared.

That apparently helped account for among the busiest careers in television. That spanned an ext than a half-century, start with a part in the 1945 movie "A tune to Remember" and continuing right into 1999. That year, his son said, Mr. McGavin suffered a stroke if filming an illustration of the TV series "The X Files."

Demand for his services was good enough in the 1950s come involve the in the nearly unheard-of feat the making 2 television collection simultaneously.

"He would change personas in a day," his boy said. He would transform himself from the trench-coated Mike Hammer into the more refined Grey Holden, the steamboat captain in "Riverboat."

Among the films for i m sorry he will be mental is "The male With the gold Arm," in which that plays a drug pusher.

He carry out in westerns, crime stories and military dramas. In one movie, "Raw Deal," his character to be shot in the back by the character play by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Mr. McGavin was born might 7, 1922, in Spokane, Wash. He to be the child of a troubled marriage and as a boy spent time in an orphanage. The experience, his kid said, gave Mr. McGavin the desire come "pull himself up by his very own bootstraps."

He invested a year in ~ the university of the Pacific, wherein his interest in the stage confirmed itself in his job-related as a skilled painter that scenery.

Later, he studied in brand-new York in ~ the actors Studio. "The theater was his an initial love," his child said. He played on the Broadway stage and also on tour, with appearances in such functions as "Death that a Salesman."