Tis the season, right? It's December 12th,
2006, and I'm pretty excited for Christmas. I love this holiday, and
totally feed into the hokeyness of it. I adore the lights, trees and
hats for dogs.
I also enjoy watching my favorite Christmas shows and
movies. I love when new films come out, and instantly (in my mind anyway)
become classics. Though hardly a new format, I think ELF with Will Farrell is fantastic. Christmas wise, A Christmas Story, starring Mr. McGavin,
above, is classic.
Findadeath friend JCW put it well, when he said, "If he'd never done anything than be Ralphie's Old Man, he'd earned
his spot in immortality." True words, JCW. It's obviously a movie
that has touched many, and I think it's awesome that some guy bought the house
from the film, and has opened it to the public. I want to
do this. Bad.
Mr. McGavin had an impressive career, which is
well documented here,
including the holy grail of 70's horror shows, Kolchak, the Night
Stalker. This show scared the sh*t out of me when I was a kid.
Thanks to Findadeath friend Jim Latson, we know
that Darren lived in this house in Benedict
Canyon, in Beverly Hills until the mid 00's, when his health was taking a
turn for the worse.
He was well liked, well respected and always responded
to fan mail when
Darren's wife Kathie died in 2003 and eventually Darren moved
in with his son, York, in this lovely
home in Northridge.
It was in this home, when Darren passed away at
approximately 7 a.m. on February 25, 2006 - just three months short of his 84th birthday.
There was a public memorial service for Darren in
the chapel at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Sunday, March 5th (he was on ice for
8 days?). The following information was taken from this website - I would
link them directly, but don't want them to lose their bandwidth, so it's with
respect that I repeat this information, and link to their terrific Darren
The foyer had a table filled with McGavin
lobby cards and family photographs.
Photos courtesy of Steve
Goldstein of Beneathlosangeles.com.
Darren's body was actually in attendance, and he was in this very
It was well attended, with approximately 130 persons showing up. They had
Sinatra singing "My Way" and "They Can't Take That Away From
Me." Soloists sang "In My Life" and "A Place for
The speakers included Jack Grinnage, who gave an account of his long friendship with McGavin, and read Richard Valley's valedictory e-mail following McGavin's death; McGavin's granddaughter Rhiannon, about 7-years-old, who got one sentence deep into her eulogy before choking up; McGavin's oldest son, York, who
narrated a brief history of his own Life With Father, while hundreds of family photographs flickered past on a memorial DVD. The
mic was left open to the attendees for a few minutes; among the speakers were Carol Ann Susi from "Night Stalker," and the still-boyish actor, Scott Schwartz, who played Flick in "A Christmas Story." Then McGavin's daughter closed the ceremony with a pair of appropriate quotes from Shakespeare, recited "Good night, sweet prince," and "flights of angels sing thee to thy rest," and looked toward the coffin one last time.
During the recording of
Darren himself singing "Shall We Dance" from "The King and
I," the pallbearers wheeled Darren's casket to the hearse, where it was driven to the graveside for a small
The grave had already been dug, and my pal Lisa
The funeral director invited attendees to deposit shovels of earth into the grave and approximately sixteen people participated.
There was some talk about Darren's final
destination, and why he wasn't buried with his wife. It boils down to Darren not
making arrangements prior - and his children really not caring for Darren's
widow - so they had him buried elsewhere. Take my advice, make your own
final arrangements. At least buy a grave. Its a horrible thing to
leave to someone else, who is grieving. You want it done your way?
Do it yourself. I did. It just makes sense.
I drove to the graveside, the next day. I
took these photographs of the flower
and Dekker shows up in this one.
He doesn't have a proper gravestone yet.
Rest in Peace, Mr. McGavin.
Trivia: In a respectful
nod, they asked Darren to make a quick appearance in that abortion Kolchak
remake in 2005.
Bob Clark, who directed A Christmas Story,
was killed along with his son in a head-on car collision, in Pacific Palisades,
CA, on April 4 of this year.
This page was is dedicated in appreciation, to