Darren McGavin

Darren McGavin, who played a memorable collection of gruff, worldly wise and unmistakably American characters over a six-decade career, died at a Los Angeles hospital on Feb. 25, 2006, the AP reported. He was 83. Mr. McGavin lent his rugged looks, gravely voice and likeably sly persona to a wide collection of characters, ranging from the disheveled investigative reporter in the cult TV series “The Night Stalker,” Frank Sinatra’s oily dealer in the drug-addiction drama “The Man With the Golden Arm” and an avuncular, regretful bartender in the 1989 Off-Broadway hit The Night Hank Williams Died. While never a household name, his face was widely recognizable to the public, particular fans of the classic holiday comedy, “A Christmas Story,” in which he played Peter Billingsley’s irascible 1940s dad, who daily battled unstable boilers, the hillbilly neighbors’ many smelly hounds and his son’s constant requests for a kiddie air rifle.

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  • Born: May 7, 1922 in Spokane, Washington
  • Death: Feb 25, 2006 in Los Angeles, California