Darren McGavin, born William Lyle Richardson, was an American actor. McGavin claimed to have been a child runaway who spent his later childhood squatting in Tacoma. He began his film career while working as a set painter for Columbia Pictures. He starred in David Lean’s Summertime and The Man with the Golden Arm.
About Darren McGavin in brief
William Lyle Richardson, known as Darren McGavin, was an American actor. Born in Spokane, Washington, McGavin claimed to have been a child runaway who spent his later childhood squatting in Tacoma. He began his film career while working as a set painter for Columbia Pictures, appearing in uncredited roles. He starred in David Lean’s Summertime and The Man with the Golden Arm. From 1958 to 1959, he played the title character in the 1950s television series Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. McGavin starred in the NBC Western series Riverboat, first with Burt Reynolds and then with Noah Beery Jr. In 1983, he starred in Bob Clark’s seasonal comedy A Christmas Story, portraying Mr. Parker, the father of Ralphie Parker. He had a recurring role opposite Candice Bergen on the sitcom Murphy Brown, for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. He originated roles in Broadway productions of My 3 Angels and The Rainmaker, and went on to star in a further four Broadway productions before the end of the decade.
He also starred in seven different TV series and guest-starred in many more television series with many more leading roles in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He later appeared in an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour titled The Matter of Murder of Alfred Hitchcock. He died in Los Angeles, California, on November 25, 2013. He was buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in California, next to his wife, the former Grace Watson, who died in a car accident in 1998. He is survived by his three children, two step-children and a step-granddaughter. He has a daughter and three step-great-grandchildren, all of whom are actors. His son is the author of a book about his life, “Darren McGavin: My Life as a Runaway” (1998), and his grandson is the director of the film The Night Stalker (2013). McGavin’s great-grandson is the actor-director-producer-film-director Michael Keaton, who is also known for his work on The Godfather and The Godmother.