David McCallum

David McCallum

McCallum in 1969.
Born David Keith McCallum, Jr.
19 September 1933 (1933-09-19) (age 78)
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Occupation Actor
Years active 1957—present
Spouse Jill Ireland (1957-1967)
Katherine Carpenter (1967-present)

David Keith McCallum, Jr. (born 19 September 1933) is a Scottish actor and musician. He is best known for his roles as Illya Kuryakin, a Russian-born secret agent, in the 1960s television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., as interdimensional operative Steel in Sapphire & Steel, and Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the series NCIS.


Early life

McCallum was born in Glasgow, the second of two sons of Dorothy Dorman, a cellist, and orchestral leader David McCallum, Sr. When he was 10, his family moved to London. Involved in local amateur drama, aged 17 he appeared as Oberon in an open-air production of A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Play and Pageant Union.

McCallum won a scholarship to University College School, a boys' independent school in Hampstead, London, followed by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (also in London).


McCallum became Assistant Stage Manager of the Glyndebourne Opera Company in 1951.

In 1951 he did his National Service where he was commissioned into the Middlesex Regiment and seconded to the Gold Coast Regiment.[1]

He began his acting career doing boy voices for BBC Radio in 1947 (Daily Mail interview), and began taking bit-parts in British films from the late 1950s, and his first acting role was in Whom the Gods Love, Die Young playing a doomed royal.[2] A James Dean-themed photograph of McCallum caught the attention of the Rank Organisation, who signed him in 1957.[3] However, in an interview with Alan Titchmarsh broadcast on 3 November 2010, McCallum stated that he had actually held his Equity card since 1946.

Early roles included a juvenile delinquent in Violent Playground (1957), an outlaw in Robbery Under Arms (1957) and as junior RMS Titanic radio operator Harold Bride in A Night to Remember (1958). His first American film was Freud the Secret Passion (1962),[4] directed by John Huston, which was shortly followed by a role in Peter Ustinov's Billy Budd. McCallum played Lt. Cmdr. Eric Ashley-Pitt "Dispersal" in The Great Escape which was released in 1963. He took the role of Judas Iscariot in 1965's The Greatest Story Ever Told. Notable pre-U.N.C.L.E. television roles included parts in The Outer Limits and Perry Mason.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

McCallum's title card in the Man from U.N.C.L.E. season four credits.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E, intended as a vehicle for Robert Vaughn, vaguely made McCallum into a sex symbol, his Beatle-style blond haircut providing a trendy contrast with Vaughn's traditional appearance. McCallum's role as the mysterious Russian agent Illya Kuryakin was originally conceived as a peripheral one. However, McCallum took the opportunity to construct a complex character whose appeal rested largely in what was shadowy and enigmatic about him.[3] Kuryakin's popularity with the audience and Vaughn and McCallum's on-screen chemistry were quickly recognised by the producers and McCallum was elevated to co-star status.

Although the show aired at the height of the Cold War, McCallum's Russian alter-ego became a pop culture phenomenon. The actor was inundated with fan letters and a Beatles-like frenzy followed him everywhere he went.[3] He was popularly referred to as 'the blond Beatle'.[5][dead link] While playing Kuryakin, McCallum received more fan mail than any other actor in MGM's history.[6] Hero worship even led to a record, "Love Ya, Illya," performed by Alma Cogan under the name Angela and the Fans, which was a pirate radio hit in Britain in 1966. A 1990s rock-rap group from Argentina named itself Illya Kuryakin and the Valderramas in honour of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. character.

McCallum received two Emmy nominations in the course of the show's four-year run (1964–68) for playing the intellectual and introverted secret agent.[3]

McCallum reprised the role of Kuryakin in a 1983 TV movie, The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair.

In an interview for a retrospective television special, David McCallum told of a visit to the White House during which, while he was being escorted to meet the President, a Secret Service agent told him "You're the reason I got this job."[7]

McCallum never quite repeated the popular success he had gained as Kuryakin. Though he did become a familiar face on British television in shows such as Colditz (1972–1974), and in ITV's science-fiction series Sapphire & Steel (1979–1982) opposite Joanna Lumley. He also played the title character in a short-lived U.S. version of The Invisible Man in 1975.

McCallum appeared on stage in Australia in Run for Your Wife during 1987-1988 and the production toured the country. Other members of the cast were Jack Smethurst, Eric Sykes and Katy Manning.

The dream of finally seeing Illya Kuryakin star with Emma Peel was realized by the BBC in a 1989 suspense-thriller TV mini-series Mother Love starring McCallum and Diana Rigg.  Their characters were not at all like their Kuryakin and Peel personas, though the series was generally well received (8.6/10 on IMDb).

In 1991 and 1992 McCallum played gambler John Grey, one of the principal characters in the British television series Trainer.

In the 1990s McCallum guest starred in two U.S. television series: in the first season of the television series seaQuest DSV he appeared as the law-enforcement officer Frank Cobb of the fictional Broken Ridge of the Ausland Confederation, an underwater mining camp off the coast of Australia by the Great Barrier Reef; he also had a guest star role in one episode of Babylon 5.

In 1994, McCallum narrated the acclaimed documentaries Titanic: Death of a Dream and Titanic: The Legend Lives On for A&E Television Networks. This was the second project about the Titanic on which he had worked: the first was the 1958 film A Night to Remember, in which he had a small role.

In the same year, McCallum hosted and narrated the TV special Ancient Prophecies. This special, which was followed soon after by three others, told of people and places historically associated with foretelling the end of the world and the beginnings of new eras for mankind. The series remains a critical and fan favourite. McCallum's distinctive voice is known for lending appropriately haunting atmospheres to many of the films in which he is involved.


Since 2003 McCallum has starred in the CBS television series NCIS as Dr Donald "Ducky" Mallard, the Medical Examiner and one of the key characters. In an inside joke, NCIS agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs is asked, "What did Ducky look like when he was younger?" Gibbs responds, "Illya Kuryakin."[8]

According to the behind-the-scenes feature on the 2006 DVD of NCIS season 1, McCallum became an expert in forensics to play Mallard, including appearing at Medical Examiner conventions. In the feature, Bellisario says that McCallum's knowledge became so vast that at the time of the interview he was considering making him a technical advisor on the show.

McCallum appeared at the 21st Annual James Earl Ash Lecture, held May 19, 2005 at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, an evening for honoring America's service members. His lecture, "Reel to Real Forensics," with Cmdr. Craig T. Mallak, U.S. Armed Forces medical examiner, featured a presentation comparing the real-life work of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner staff with that of the fictional naval investigators appearing on NCIS.[9]


In the 1960s, McCallum recorded four albums for Capitol Records with producer David Axelrod: Music...A Part Of Me (Capitol ST 2432, 1966), Music...A Bit More Of Me (Capitol ST 2498, 1966), Music...It's Happening Now! (Capitol ST 2651, 1967), and McCallum (Capitol ST 2748, 1968). The best known of his pieces today is "The Edge," which was sampled by Dr. Dre as the intro and riff to the track "The Next Episode."

McCallum did not sing on these records, as many television stars of the 60s did when offered recording contracts. As a classically trained musician, he conceived a blend of oboe, french horn, and strings with guitar and drums, and presented instrumental interpretations of hits of the day. The official arranger on the albums was H. B. Barnum. However, McCallum conducted, and contributed several original compositions of his own, over the course of four LPs. The first two, Music...A Part Of Me and Music...A Bit More Of Me, have been issued together on CD on the Zonophone label.

Personal life

He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1957 to 1967. They had three sons: Paul, Jason — an adopted son who died from an accidental drug overdose in 1989 — and Val (short for Valentine). He introduced Ireland to Charles Bronson when both were filming The Great Escape. She subsequently left McCallum, and went on to marry Bronson in 1968.[10]

He has been married to Katherine Carpenter since 1967. They have a son, Peter, and a daughter, Sophie. David and Katherine are active with charitable organizations that support the United States Marine Corps: Katherine's father was a Marine who served in the Battle of Iwo Jima, and her brother lost his life in the Vietnam War.

The McCallums live in New York.



n.b. for credit listings reference[11]
Year(s) Series or film title Episode title Role
1961 Sir Francis Drake "The English Dragon" Lord Oakshott
1963 The Outer Limits "The Sixth Finger" Gwyllm Griffiths
1964 The Outer Limits "The Forms of Things Unknown" Tone Hobart
The Great Adventure "Kentucky's Bloody Ground" Captain Hanning
The Great Adventure "The Siege of Boonesborough" Captain Hanning
Profiles in Courage "John Adams" John Adams
Perry Mason "The Case of the Fifty-Millionth Frenchman" Phillipe Bertain
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters "The Day Of The Search" Prophet
1964–1968 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (series regular) Illya Kuryakin
1966 Please Don't Eat the Daisies "Say U.N.C.L.E." Illya Kuryakin
1969 Hallmark Hall of Fame "Teacher, Teacher" Hamilton Cade
Hallmark Hall of Fame "The File On Devlin" Kenneth Canfield
1971 Night Gallery "The Phantom Farmhouse" Dr. Joel Winter
The Man and the City "Pipe Me A Loving Tune"
1972 Colditz (series regular) Flight Lieutenant Simon Carter
1973 Frankenstein: The True Story (TV movie) Henry Clerval
The Six Million Dollar Man "Wine, Women and War" Alexi Kaslov
1975–1976 The Invisible Man (series regular) Daniel Westin
1979 Kidnapped Alan Breck Stewart
1979–1982 Sapphire & Steel Steel
1982 Strike Force "Ice" William Hadley
1983 As the World Turns Maurice Vermeil
The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (TV movie) Illya Kuryakin
1984 The Master "Hostages" Castile
1986 Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense "The Corvini Inheritance" Frank Lane
Hart to Hart "Hunted Harts" Geoffrey Atterton
The A-Team "The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair" Ivan
1987 Matlock "The Billionaire" Phil Dudley
1988 Alfred Hitchcock Presents "Murder Party"
Monsters (TV series) "The Feverman" the fever man
1989 Murder, She Wrote "From Russia...With Love" Cyril Grantham
Mother Love Sir Alexander "Alex" Vesey
McCloud (TV series) "The Return of Sam McCloud" Inspector Craig
1990 Boon "The Belles of St. Godwalds" Simon Bradleigh
Lucky/Chances (miniseries)
Father Dowling Mysteries
Murder, She Wrote "Deadly Misunderstanding" Drew Garrison
1991 Trainer (every episode) John Grey
Cluedo Professor Plum
1993 seaQuest DSV "seaWest" Frank Cobb
1994 Babylon 5 "Infection" Dr. Vance Hendricks
Titanic: The Complete Story Narrator
Heartbeat "Arms and the Man" Cooper
1995 VR-5 Dr. Joseph Bloom
1996 Mr. & Mrs. Smith "The Impossible Mission" Ian Felton
1997 Law & Order "Past Imperfect" Craig Holland
The Outer Limits "Feasibility Study" Joshua Hayward
1997–1998 Team Knight Rider Mobius
1998 Coming Home (TV serial) Billy Fawcett
1999 Sex and the City "Shortcomings" Duncan
2000 Deadline "Lovers and Madmen" Harry Hobbs
2001 The Education of Max Bickford Walter Thornhill
2002 Jeremiah (TV series) "Things Left Unsaid" Clarence
2003 JAG "Ice Queen (1), Meltdown (2)" Donald "Ducky" Mallard
2003–Present NCIS (every episode) Donald "Ducky" Mallard
2006–2009 The Replacements (every episode) The voice of C.A.R.
2008–2010 Ben 10: Alien Force "Paradox", "War of the Worlds" and "Time Heals" Professor Paradox
2009 Batman: The Brave and the Bold "Day of the Dark Knight!" Merlin Ambrosius
2010 - 2011 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien "Recurring Character" Professor Paradox
2011 Generator Rex "Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United" Professor Paradox

Man from U.N.C.L.E. films

  • To Trap a Spy (1964)
  • The Spy with My Face (1965)
  • One Spy Too Many (1966)
  • The Spy in the Green Hat (1966)
  • One of Our Spies is Missing (1966)
  • The Karate Killers (1967)
  • The Helicopter Spies (1968)
  • How to Steal the World (1968)

Other films


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • David McCallum — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda David McCallum Nombre real David Keith McCallum Nacimiento 19 de septiembre de 1933 (76 años) Glasgow, Escocia …   Wikipedia Español

  • David McCallum — Données clés Nom de naissance David Keith McCallum, Jr. Naissance 19 septembre 1933 (1933 09 19) (78 ans) Glasgow, Écosse …   Wikipédia en Français

  • David McCallum — David Keith McCallum (* 19. September 1933 in Glasgow) ist ein schottischer Schauspieler. Biografie McCallum, dessen Vater, David McCallum Sr. erster Geiger beim London Philharmonic Orchestra war, studierte zunächst kurzfristig Musik, bevor er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • David McCallum, Sr. — Born 26 March 1897(1897 03 26) Kilsyth, Scotland, UK Died 21 March 1972(1972 03 21) (aged 74) Arundel, Sussex, England, UK Alma mater …   Wikipedia

  • McCallum (disambiguation) — McCallum is a British television series. McCallum may also refer to: McCallum, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada McCallum Settlement, Nova Scotia, Canada McCallum Street, Chinatown, Singapore People with the surname McCallum: Alison McCallum… …   Wikipedia

  • McCallum — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Bennett McCallum (* 1935), US amerikanischer Wirtschaftswissenschaftler und Hochschullehrer David McCallum (* 1933), schottischer Filmschauspieler Hiram McCallum (1899–1989), 49. Bürgermeister von Toronto… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • David Axelrod (musician) — David Axelrod Born April 17, 1936 (1936 04 17) (age 75) in Los Angeles, California Genres Psychedelic music Jazz funk Experimental music Occupations …   Wikipedia

  • David Buck — (October 17, 1936 – January 27, 1989) was an English actor. His most famous role was in the animated film The Lord of the Rings (1978), for which he provided the voice of Gimli. He had a memorable role as Royal Air Force Squadron Leader David… …   Wikipedia

  • McCallum — L étymologie du nom de famille McCallum est sans doute le fils de Callum (suffixe Mac en gaélique). Patronyme McCallum est un nom de famille notamment porté par : Identité Date de naissance Date de mort Profession Daniel C. McCallum 1815… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • David White (musician) — For other uses, see David White (disambiguation). David White (born November 26, 1939, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) toured the country with his parents prior to attending school in their acrobatic/hand balancing act called Barry and Brenda and… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.