Sad News

Two television legends died on Friday — Don Knotts and Darren McGavin. Both will be greatly missed.

I never met Knotts but I was lucky enough to meet McGavin — I interviewed him over twenty years ago, over a long lunch, for an article in STARLOG magazine. It was a real thrill for me, because I was a huge fan of his two series KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER and THE OUTSIDER, both short-lived classics.  I remember him as a very gracious man and a wonderful storyteller. Over the years, I’ve also enjoyed his terrific readings of the Travis McGee novels… so much so, that I can’t read the books myself now without hearing his voice.

We tried to hired McGavin for a guest-starring role on a DIAGNOSIS MURDER episode but he’d suffered a stroke and was unable to work. We ended up giving the part to Jack Klugman instead.

9 thoughts on “Sad News”

  1. Nice tribute to two wonderful actors. I remember McGavin back to the days when he starred as a Riverboat captain in a tv series, back in the time of cowboys and Indians and detective stories were just starting out with Peter Gunn. We finally bought the Christmas Story video, where he, as well as every other major character were cast so perfectly that I can’t imagine anyone else in their roles. Don Knotts was a bold and underrated performer who filled a niche among the the glamour stars of the time. They’ll be missed.

  2. A couple of weeks ago, it was Tony Franciosa. Now it’s Darren McGavin. This is starting to suck. Never met either man, never knew them, but flipping channels and seeing Jeff Dillon or Carl Kolchak up to their old tricks is still a pleasure.
    Maybe it’s silly, but as long as Jeff Dillon is in his convertible, or Kolchak is screaming at an editor….no, they’re not really gone.

  3. It’s probably not remembered by many people today, but McGavin appeared in an episode of ‘The Bold Ones: The Lawyers’ called “The Invasion Of Kevin Ireland”.
    I saw this at a time in my life when I was high on his work in the movie “The Night Stalker”, and when I was still naive enough as a kid to think that all TV show episodes should have happy endings.
    What a sobering wake-up this proved to be; the final images of McGavin still are vivid all these many years later.
    I’ll have to check the MT&R this week and see if they have a copy of it….
    As for Don Knotts, he once said something to the effect that if somebody like Jim Carrey wanted to remake his character of Mr. Limpet, fine. But if anybody tried to step into his too-tight shoes as Barney Fife…..
    I’m always shocked by the attempts to remake certain TV characters on the big screen (the latest being Inspector Clousseau), but if they tried to recast the role of Barney, that would be video blasphemy.

  4. McGavin also appeared in two terrific GUNSMOKE episodes … one of which was among his favorite roles (at least according to his website) and another that featured Simon Oakland, his future co-star on KOLCHAK.

  5. It’s very sad to hear some great classic actors have died. I just read that Don Knotts died today and instantly I wanted to watch an episode of The Andy Griffith Show just to see Barney Fife. Both of these guys will be greatly missed.

  6. Now I want more reruns of “Three’s Company” on TV Land or something. Mr. Furley was the best.
    Was happy to see Larry King re-air the 2003 Don Knotts/Andy Griffith interview.
    Loved Don Knotts. RIP.

  7. I cried yesterday. KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER is one of my favorite TV shows and A CHRISTMAS STORY is one of my fav movies. I’ve also listened to Darren read all the Travis McGee books, and in my mind he IS Travis McGee This wonderful man will be sorely missed…
    My little boy loves THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET and THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN. He overheard me talking to my husband about Don Knott’s death and he burst into tears and ran into his room. Don Knotts was an artist who touched people of all ages.


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