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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006, 15:03 GMT
Tough-talking actor McGavin dies
Darren McGavin
Darren McGavin often had harsh words for studio executives
American actor Darren McGavin, who played a bad-tempered father in festive film A Christmas Story, has died in a Los Angeles hospital aged 83.

The husky, tough-talking actor starred in TV series Mike Hammer and Kolchack: The Night Stalker.

He received an Emmy nomination in 1990 for playing Candice Bergen's father in an episode of sitcom Murphy Brown.

McGavin's films included Airport '77, The Man With The Golden Arm and The Delicate Delinquent.

He also played a hot-tempered father in 1983's A Christmas Story, regularly repeated on US TV during the festive season.

Throughout his career, McGavin was not afraid to criticise his series and his employers.

He once said of his 1950s private eye series Mike Hammer: "Hammer was a dummy. I made 72 of those shows, and I thought it was a comedy. In fact, I played it camp."

And when adventure series Riverboat, also starring Burt Reynolds, was in danger of being cancelled, McGavin rented a room in St Louis, interviewed riverboat captains and presented NBC with a detailed plan to rescue the series.

"NBC used none of my ideas, went fumbling around, and Riverboat sank," he said.

McGavin died of natural causes with his family at his side, son Bogart McGavin said.

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