The Night Stalker Has Died

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 26th, 2006

The Night Stalker is dead. Darren McGavin died at the age of 83, early on Saturday, February 25, 2006, in California.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker, starring Darren McGavin in the lead role, in two television movies and in one of the shortest but most memorable television series (1974-1975), had frequent creature themes. It is often discussed with affection by cryptofiction fans.

Darren McGavin

McGavin in the 1970s as "Carl Kolchak"

As the Internet Movie Database notes: "Carl Kolchak was a reporter for Chicago’s Independent News Service, and a trouble magnet for situations involving the supernatural. Kolchak turned his investigative skills to vampires, werewolves, zombies and all manner of legendary creatures, but in the end he always failed to convince his skeptical editor, Tony Vincenzo, that the stories weren’t products of Kolchak’s own overworked imagination."

The man who played the science fictional Night Stalker was a man of mystery himself. As Forbes comments in its obituary: "Born in Spokane, Wash., McGavin was sketchy in interviews about his childhood. He told TV Guide in 1973 that he was a constant runaway at 10 and 11, and as a teen lived in warehouses in Tacoma, Wash., and dodged the police and welfare workers. His parents disappeared, he said."

A little known fact is that the Night Stalker stories were vaguely based on the work of Fortean investigator and writer John A. Keel, best known for his The Mothman Prophecies. Even physically, McGavin outwardly resembled Keel.

John Keel

John A. Keel, in 2002

Darren McGavin

Darren McGavin pictured in 2003, greeting fans

Cryptomundo mourns a great actor who filled several wonderful roles, from reporter Carl Kolchak in The Night Stalker to Agent Arthur Dales in The X-Files.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

12 Responses to “The Night Stalker Has Died”

  1. Bluewater responds:

    A very sad loss for us all, we will relive his portrayal as a crypto investigative reporter on DVD in the just released Night Stalker series and X-Files.

  2. Lee Murphy responds:

    That is sad. Kolchak was one of the icons of pop culture. Growing up in the 1970s I looked forward to Friday nights when the Night Stalker came on.

    On a similar note, I heard only a moment ago that Don Knotts also passed away.

  3. fuzzy responds:

    Yeah, watch for a third actor or entertainer’s passing…

    On a happier note, Darren McGavin will live on in my memory as the father in everybody’s favorite Christmas Story, “Christmas Story”.

  4. Nozzgoblin responds:

    Fragile’…sounds Italian…

  5. fuzzy responds:

    “…but I didn’t say fragile’!”

  6. swol responds:

    Rest easy Darrin…you done good.
    You will be missed.

  7. digitelle responds:

    Darrin McGavin and Don Knotts appeared together in ‘No Deposit, No Return’ 1976 Disney. Also the IMDB says that McGavin was born in San Joaquin, CA.

  8. mk responds:

    Third actor to die this week — Dennis Weaver.

  9. Loren Coleman responds:

    McGavin apparently enjoyed adding a little mystery to his bios. Perhaps we will never know where he really was born…

  10. brachyura responds:

    In the last 70’s, McGavin continued working as an actor in off-broadway and pre-broadway pilots. I worked briefly with him, around 1979, in one that was touring in summerstock. He was a funny, modest and warm friendly man.

    May he find peace and bliss.

  11. fuzzy responds:

    MK ~ Thanx for that notification and confirmation on Dennis Weaver ~ I missed it completely in the news!

  12. Terry W. Colvin responds:

    Kolchak’s quirky character was enhanced by Darrin McGavin’s fine sometimes over the top acting. The new series of the same name is a travesty.

    RIP Darrin & Kolchak.

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