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Actor Profiles

Home - Episode Guide - Audio/Visual Archive

"Kolchak: The Night Stalker" Actor Bios

Darren McGavin - Carl Kolchak - Simon Oakland - Tony Vinchenzo

Ruth McDevitt - Emily Cowles - Jack Grinnage - Ron Updyke


Darren McGavin

Born on May 7th, 1922 in San Joaquin, CA

This guy, I've got him in my mind, see, he's fired from the New York Journal in 1955. That day, the day he was fired, he was wearing a seersucker suit, a black string tie and a white shirt with a button-down collar. So, he's still wearing 'em. He hasn't bought a suit of clothes since he was fired....The truth of the matter is I love Kolchak. He's terrific. What he's saying to the world is beautiful - the heck with you, brother, I'll get my story anyway. He's a man in a million.

Darren McGavin on Carl Kolchak


Darren McGavin is one of those rare actors who is, no matter how bad the surrounding movie, one of the best parts of the movie. He always seems at home in front of the camera, to the point where his artifice seems a natural extension of the character he is playing - if he is blustery and hammy, it is because the character is so. Though he tends to be typecast as abrasive, down-in-the-heels, average Joes, he is quite capable of playing glossy highbrows: see him in "The Natural" or as the original Oscar Goldman character in the pilot for "The Six Million Dollatr Man" (interesting to note - Richard Anderson, the actor who would become Oscar Goldman for the remainder of the series, appeared the year before as the murderous subterranean "Night Strangler" in the second "Night Stalker" pilot.) McGavin brought a very different cast to the relationship between Steve Austin and his aserbic superior.

As you will see by the filmography, his versatility and charm have kept him working steadily from the early fifties, up to the present.


Filmography:

Italics indicate feature films; plain text indicates TV roles.
  1. Billy Madison(1995)

  2. Fudge-A-Mania (1995)

  3. Danielle Steel's 'A Perfect Stranger' (1994)

  4. American Clock (1993)

  5. Captain America (1992)

  6. Blood and Concrete (1991)

  7. Perfect Harmony (1991)

  8. By Dawn's Early Light (1990)

  9. Child in the Night (1990)

  10. Around the World in 80 Days (1989) (mini) 1989

  11. Dead Heat (1988)

  12. Diamond Trap, The (1988)

  13. Inherit the Wind (1988)

  14. From the Hip (1987)

  15. Raw Deal (1986)

  16. My Wicked, Wicked Ways...The Legend of Errol Flynn (1985)

  17. Turk 182! (1985)

  18. Baron and the Kid, The (1984)

  19. Natural, The (1984)

  20. Return of Marcus Welby, M.D., The (1984)

  21. Small & Frye" (1983)

  22. Christmas Story, A (1983)

  23. Firebird 2015 A.D. (1981)

  24. Martian Chronicles, The" (1980) (mini)

  25. Hangar 18 (1980)

  26. Waikiki (1980)

  27. Ike (1979) (mini)

  28. Donovan's Kid (1979)

  29. Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978)

  30. Ike: The War Years (1978)

  31. Users, The (1978)

  32. Zero to Sixty (1978)

  33. Airport '77 (1977)

  34. Brinks: The Great Robbery (1976)

  35. Law and Order (1976)

  36. No Deposit, No Return (1976)

  37. Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-75)

  38. B Must Die (1973)

  39. Happy Mother's Day, Love George (1973)

  40. Hay que Matar a B. (1973)

  41. Six Million Dollar Man, The (1973)

  42. Night Strangler, The (1972)

  43. Rookies, The (1972)

  44. Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole (1972)

  45. Something Evil (1972)

  46. Banyon (1971)

  47. Death of Me Yet, The (1971)

  48. Night Stalker, The (1971)

  49. Berlin Affair (1970)

  50. Challenge, The (1970)

  51. Forty-Eight Hour Mile, The (1970)

  52. Tribes (1970)

  53. Outsider, The (1968-69)

  54. Challengers, The (1968)

  55. Mission Mars (1968)

  56. Outsider, The (1967)

  57. Riverboat (1959-61)

  58. Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer" (1957-59)

  59. Beau James (1957)

  60. Delicate Delinquent, The (1957)

  61. Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, The (1955)

  62. Man with the Golden Arm, The (1955)

  63. Summertime (1955)

  64. Crime Photographer (1951-52)


Simon Oakland

Born in 1922, New York City, USA

Died on August 29th, 1983


Simon Oakland played Tony Vinchenzo, Kolchak's long-suffering editor, in both pilots, and throughout the series. His is a highly recognizable face: from "Psycho" to "The Sand Pebbles", from "West Side Story" to "Bullit".
Filmography:

Italics indicate feature films; plain text indicates TV roles.

  1. David Cassidy - Man Undercover (1978) 1978-1979

  2. Evening in Byzantium (1978) (mini)

  3. Black Sheep Squadron (1977) 1977-1978

  4. Young Joe, The Forgotten Kennedy (1977) 1977

  5. Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976) 1976-1977

  6. Baa Baa, Black Sheep (1976) 1976

  7. Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974) 1974-1975

  8. Toma (1973) 1973-1974

  9. Emperor of the North (1973)

  10. Happy Mother's Day, Love George (1973)

  11. Key West (1973)

  12. Toma (1973)

  13. Night Strangler, The (1972)

  14. Chato's Land (1971)

  15. Crosscurrent (1971)

  16. Hunting Party, The (1971)

  17. Night Stalker, The (1971)

  18. Scandalous John

  19. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)

  20. Bullitt (1968)

  21. Chubasco (1968)

  22. Tony Rome (1967)

  23. Sand Pebbles, The (1966)

  24. Satan Bug, The (1965)

  25. Raiders, The (1963)

  26. Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962)

  27. Third of a Man (1962)

  28. West Side Story (1961)

  29. Murder, Inc. (1960)

  30. Psycho (1960)

  31. Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, The (1960)

  32. Who Was That Lady? (1960)

  33. I Want to Live! (1958)


Ruth McDevitt

Born on September 13th, 1895, in Coldwater, MI

Died on May 27th, 1976


Ruth McDevitt played Miss Emily Cowles, a sort of office catch-all around INS (and the only person Carl trusts), in most of the series. She made her first appearance as an elderly snoop in the "Ripper" episode. Subsequently she popped up around the office as a part-time employee. She, like Simon Oakland, has been in a Hitchcock movie, and has even starred alongside of "the King".
Filmography:

Italics indicate feature films; plain text indicates TV roles.

  1. One of My Wives Is Missing (1976)

  2. Abduction of Saint Anne, The (1975)

  3. Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974) 1974-1975

  4. Homebodies (1974)

  5. Mame (1974)

  6. Skyway to Death (1974)

  7. Change of Habit (1970)

  8. Angel in My Pocket (1969)

  9. Love God?, The (1969)

  10. Shakiest Gun in the West (1968)

  11. Birds, The (1963)

  12. Boys' Night Out (1962)

  13. Parent Trap, The (1961)

  14. Mr. Peepers (1952) 1952-1955

Jack Grinnage

Birthdate unkown

Current status unknown


So far, I've been unable to locate more than a filmography on Jack Grinnage. For most of the series he portrayed Ron "Uptight" Updyke, the fastidious society columnist, and thorn in Kolchak's side. He, like Ruth McDevitt, has stood before the camera with Elvis, and more notably, with James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause". He seems to have left acting after "Kolchak".
Filmography:

Italics indicate feature films; plain text indicates TV roles.

  1. Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974) 1974-1975

  2. Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell, The (1968)

  3. Wink of an Eye (1958)

  4. Wolf Larsen (1958)

  5. King Creole (1958)

  6. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)


Kolchak: The Night Stalker Site created by: Jeffery Sargent at Jeff's Vale 'O' Tears