Few people merit a Christmas salute as a memorial. But Darren McGavin certainly qualifies. As the grouchy father who ultimately saves the day in the 1983 movie "A Christmas Story," he gave life to the battle cry "Not a finger!" and helped the cause of kitschy lamps the world over. McGavin died Feb. 25, 2006, at the age of 83.
It stands to reason that McGavin was not always a crusty old curmudgeon. Here, he is seen in character as crusty young curmudgeon Mike Hammer in a 1958 file photo. He played the tough-talking private eye in a TV series that ran for two seasons. McGavin had a loyal fan base because of his work in TV's "Kolchak: The Night Stalker."
McGavin always had a busy career in television. Here, he is seen at top, with Burt Reynolds, in a scene from a television series called "Riverboat" June 25, 1959. McGavin played the captain of the vessel.
Here is McGavin in another scene from "Riverboat," this time with Elizabeth Montgomery, who was making a one-time appearance on that series. Montgomery, of course, would go on to become a television icon as Samantha Stephens in "Bewitched" (1964-1972). This photo was taken Aug. 18, 1959.
Darren McGavin poses with his ACE Award trophy in this Jan. 12, 1992 file photo. The ACE awards are no longer given. They were established at a time when cable TV programs were not eligible for Emmys. McGavin won his ACE for his performance in "Clara," a televised play by Arthur Miller. He also won an Emmy in 1990 for a guest appearance as the father of "Murphy Brown."