Darren McGavin dropped out of college after one year and moved to New York, where he trained for the stage at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Actors Studio. In the mid '40s he began landing small roles in occasional films, but worked primarily onstage. He first made an impression onscreen as a painter in David Lean's Summertime and a drug pusher in Otto Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm (both 1955); nevertheless, his subsequent film work tended to occur in intermittent spurts, with long periods off-screen between roles. He is best known as a TV actor; he starred in the TV series Crime Photographer, Mike Hammer, Riverboat, The Outsider, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and also appeared in a number of TV movies. He occasionally directed episodes of his TV shows, and directed and produced the film Happy Mother's Day, Love George (1973), whose title was later changed to Run, Stranger, Run.