David McCallum

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David McCallum
DavidMcCallumHWOFOct2012.jpg
McCallum in October 2012
Born David Keith McCallum Jr.
(1933-09-19) 19 September 1933 (age 81)
Glasgow, Scotland
Occupation Actor
Years active 1947–present
Known for
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Spouse(s)
  • Jill Ireland (1956–1967)
  • Katherine Carpenter (1967–present)
Children 5

David Keith McCallum Jr. (born 19 September 1933) is a Scottish actor and musician. He is known for his roles as Illya Kuryakin, a Russian secret agent, in the television series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964–68), as interdimensional operative Steel in Sapphire & Steel, and for his current role as NCIS medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the American television series NCIS.

Early life[edit]

McCallum was born in Glasgow, the second of two sons of Dorothy Dorman, a cellist, and orchestral leader David McCallum Sr. When he was 3, his family moved to London for his father to lead the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Early in World War II, he was evacuated back to Scotland, where he lived with his mother at Gartocharn by Loch Lomond.[1]

McCallum won a scholarship to University College School, a boys independent school in Hampstead, London, where, encouraged by his parents to prepare for a career in music, he played the oboe.[1] In 1946 he began doing boy voices for the BBC radio repertory company.[1] Also involved in local amateur drama, at age 17, he appeared as Oberon in an open-air production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Play and Pageant Union. He left school at age 18 and, following military service with the Royal West African Frontier Force, attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (also in London), where Joan Collins was a classmate.[1]

Career[edit]

In 1951 McCallum became assistant stage manager of the Glyndebourne Opera Company.

He next did his National Service, where he was commissioned into the Middlesex Regiment and seconded to the Gold Coast Regiment.[2]

McCallum in 1969

He began his acting career doing boy voices for BBC Radio in 1947[3] and began taking bit parts in British films from the late 1950s. His first acting role was in Whom the Gods Love, Die Young playing a doomed royal.[4] A James Dean–themed photograph of McCallum caught the attention of the Rank Organisation, who signed him in 1956.[5] 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),[6] 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. Other television roles included two appearances on The Outer Limits and a guest appearance on Perry Mason in 1964 as defendant Phillipe Bertain in “The Case of the Fifty Millionth Frenchman.”

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.[edit]

McCallum as Illya Kuryakin

The Man From U.N.C.L.E., intended as a vehicle for Robert Vaughn, made McCallum into a sex symbol, his Beatle-style blond haircut providing a trendy contrast with Vaughn’s clean cut 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.[5] Kuryakin’s popularity with the audience and Vaughn’s and McCallum’s on-screen chemistry were quickly recognized 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.[5] While playing Kuryakin, McCallum received more fan mail than any other actor in MGM’s history.[7] 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 Kuryaki and the Valderramas in honor 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.[5]

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 1986 McCallum reunited with Robert Vaughn again on an episode of The A-Team entitled The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair, complete with “chapter titles,” the word “affair” in the title, the phrase “Open Channel D,” and similar scene transitions.

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 U.S. president, a Secret Service agent told him, “You’re the reason I got this job.”[8]

After The Man From U.N.C.L.E.[edit]

McCallum never quite repeated the popular success he had gained as Kuryakin until NCIS, though he did become a familiar face on British television in such shows as Colditz (1972–74), Kidnapped (1978), and ITV’s science-fiction series Sapphire & Steel (1979–82) opposite Joanna Lumley. In 1975 he played the title character in a short-lived U.S. version of The Invisible Man.

McCallum appeared on stage in Australia in Run for Your Wife (1987–88), and the production toured the country. Other members of the cast were Jack Smethurst, Eric Sykes, and Katy Manning.

McCallum starred with Diana Rigg in the 1989 TV miniseries Mother Love. In 1991 and 1992 McCallum played gambler John Grey, one of the principal characters in the television series Trainer.

In the 1990s McCallum guest-starred in two U.S. television series. In season 1 of 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 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.

NCIS[edit]

"It was frustration and anger that someone should just walk out on us," said McCallum, who plays Donald 'Ducky' Mallard. "I just don't understand how a leading lady in a show that's worldwide, who ostensibly wants to have a career as an actress, suddenly walks away from such a gem and just vanishes a couple of days before we start production." The veteran star revealed to DS that de Pablo's sudden departure forced the NCIS writers to revise the first five episodes of season 11. "This business is merciless so right away the whole team of writers gets in and rewrites the first five shows," he explained. "When it happened, you think, 'This is a dangerous road to go down' - but they pulled it off."[9]

—McCallum, on Cote de Pablo's decision to quit the show. (2014)

Since 2003 McCallum has starred in the CBS television series NCIS as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, the team’s chief medical examiner and one of the show’s most popular characters. In one episode, NCIS agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is asked, “What did Ducky look like when he was younger?” Gibbs’s response: “Illya Kuryakin.”[10]

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, Donald P. Bellisario says that McCallum’s knowledge became so vast that at the time of the interview he was considering making him a technical adviser 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.[11]

In late April 2012 it was announced that McCallum had reached agreement on a two-year contract extension with CBS-TV. The move means he could remain an NCIS regular past his eightieth birthday.[12] In May 2014 he signed another two-year contract.[13]

Music[edit]

In the 1960s, McCallum recorded four albums for Capitol Records with music 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 is one of the most sampled pieces[citation needed] in Hip-Hop, including Dr. Dre as the intro and riff to the track “The Next Episode,” “M.I.A” by Missin' Linx, and “No Regrets” by Masta Ace.

His approach[edit]

McCallum did not sing on these records, as many television stars of the 1960s did when offered recording contracts. As a classically trained musician, he conceived a blend of oboe, English 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. On Open Channel D, McCallum did sing on the first four tracks, “Communication,” “House On Breckenridge Lane,” “In The Garden, Under The Tree” (the theme song from the movie Three Bites Of The Apple), and “My Carousel.” The music tracks are the same as the Zonophone CD. This CD was released on the Rev-Ola label. The single release of 'Communication' reached No. 32 in the UK Singles Chart in April 1966.[14]

Personal life[edit]

McCallum was first married to actress Jill Ireland (1956–67). In 1963 he introduced Ireland to Charles Bronson when both were filming The Great Escape. She subsequently left McCallum and married Bronson in 1968. McCallum and Ireland had three sons: Paul, Jason (an adopted son who died from an accidental drug overdose in 1989),[15] and Val (short for Valentine). Val McCallum is a successful guitar player, currently[when?] playing with Jackson Browne and a member of the faux country band Jackshit. [16]

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.

David McCallum has six grandchildren.[15]

Filmography[edit]

n.b. for credit listings reference[17]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1957 Ill Met By Moonlight Sailor
  • Film debut
  • Uncredited
  • Also known as Night Ambush
1957 These Dangerous Years Also known as Dangerous Youth
1957 Robbery Under Arms Jim Marston British Crime film
1957 Hell Drivers Jimmy Yately Directed by Cy Endfield
1957 The Secret Place Mike Wilson Directorial debut of Clive Donner
1958 A Night to Remember Harold Sydney Bride British drama
1958 Violent Playground Johnnie Murphy Directed by Basil Dearden
1961 The Long and the Short and the Tall Private Samuel "Sammy" Whitaker Released as Jungle Fighters in the USA and Canada
1961 Jungle Street Terry Collins Later retitled Jungle Street Girls
1962 Freud the Secret Passion Carl von Schlossen Also known as Freud
1962 Billy Budd Steven Wyatt A CinemaScope film produced, directed, and co-written by Peter Ustinov
1963 The Great Escape Lt. Cmdr. Eric Ashley-Pitt Based on an escape by British & Commonwealth prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II
1964 To Trap a Spy Illya Kuryakin A The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film
1965 The Spy with My Face Illya Kuryakin A The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film
1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told Judas Iscariot Retelling of the story of Jesus Christ, from the Nativity through the Resurrection
1966 One Spy Too Many Illya Kuryakin A The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film
1966 The Spy in the Green Hat Illya Kuryakin A The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film
1966 Around the World Under the Sea Dr. Philip Volker
1966 One of Our Spies Is Missing Illya Kuryakin A The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film
1967 The Karate Killers Illya Kuryakin A The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film
1967 Three Bites of the Apple Stanley Thrumm
1968 The Helicopter Spies Illya Kuryakin A The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film
1968 Sol Madrid Sol Madrid Released in the UK as The Heroin Gang
1968 How to Steal the World Illya Kuryakin A The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film
1969 Mosquito Squadron Squadron Leader Quint Monroe, RCAF British war film
1969 La Cattura Sergeant Stephen Holmann Italian film
1969 Rascal Ice Cream Man
1972 She Waits Mark Wilson Horror film
1975 The Kingfisher Caper Benedict Van Der Byl Released as Diamond Hunters in South Africa and as Diamond Lust on video
1976 Dogs Harlan Thompson
1977 King Solomon's Treasure Sir Henry Curtis British-Canadian low-budget film based on the novel King Solomon's Mines
1980 The Watcher in the Woods Paul Curtis
1985 Terminal Choice Dr. Giles Dodson
1986 The Wind John Released in 1987 in the USA
1990 The Haunting of Morella Gideon Set in colonial America
1991 Hear My Song Jim Abbott
1993 Fatal Inheritance Brandon Murphy
1993 Dirty Weekend Reggie Based on the novel of the same name by Helen Zahavi
1994 Healer The Jackal
1999 Cherry Mammy
2008 Batman: Gotham Knight Alfred Pennyworth (voice) Direct-to-video
2014 Son of Batman Alfred Pennyworth (voice) Direct-to-video
2015 Batman vs. Robin Alfred Pennyworth (voice) Direct-to-video

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1961 Sir Francis Drake Lord Oakshott Episode: "The English Dragon" (S 1:Ep 6)
1963 The Outer Limits Gwyllm Griffiths Episode: "The Sixth Finger" (S 1:Ep 5)
1964 The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters Prophet Episode: "The Day Of The Search"(S 1:Ep 18)
1964 Perry Mason Phillipe Bertain Episode: "The Case of the Fifty-Millionth Frenchman"(S 7:Ep 19)
1964 The Great Adventure Captain Hanning Episodes:
  • "Kentucky's Bloody Ground" (S 1:Ep 23)
  • "The Siege of Boonesborough" (S 1:Ep 24)
1964 The Outer Limits Tone Hobart Episode: "The Forms of Things Unknown" (S 1:Ep 32)
1964 Profiles in Courage John Adams Episode: "John Adams" (S 1:Ep 7)
1964–68 The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Illya Kuryakin Main cast
1965 Hullabaloo Host
  • Credited as Dave McCallum
  • Episode: "Show 21" (S 2:Ep 21)
1966 Please Don't Eat the Daisies Illya Kuryakin Episode: "Say U.N.C.L.E."(S 1:Ep 18)
1969 Hallmark Hall of Fame Hamilton Cade Episode: "Teacher, Teacher" (S 18:Ep 3)
1969 Hallmark Hall of Fame Kenneth Canfield Episode: "The File On Devlin" (S 19:Ep 1)
1970 Hauser's Memory Hillel Mondoro
1971 Night Gallery Dr. Joel Winter Episode: "The Phantom Farmhouse" (S 2:Ep 16)
1971 The Man and the City Guest star Episode: "Pipe Me A Loving Tune" (S 1:Ep 12)
1972–74 Colditz Simon Carter Main cast
1973 Frankenstein: The True Story Dr. Henry Clerval Made for TV Movie
1973 The Six Million Dollar Man Alexi Kaslov Episode: "Wine, Women and War" (S 1:Ep 3)
1975–76 The Invisible Man Daniel Westin Main cast
1978 Kidnapped Alan Breck Stewart TV Miniseries
1979–82 Sapphire & Steel Steel Main cast
1982 Strike Force Roderick Howard Hadley III Episode: "Ice" (S 1:Ep 9)
1983 As the World Turns Maurice Vermeil Contract role
1983 The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E Illya Kuryakin Made for TV Movie
1986 Hart to Hart Geoffrey Atterton Episode: "Hunted Harts" (S 4:Ep 11)
1984 The Master Castile Episode: "Hostages" (S 1:Ep 4)
1986 Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense Frank Lane Episode: "The Corvini Inheritance" (S 1:Ep 10)
1986 The A-Team Ivan Episode: "The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair" (S 5:Ep 6)
1987 Matlock Phil Dudley Episode: "The Billionaire" (S 2:Ep 1)
1988 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Guest star "Murder Party" (S 3:Ep 11)
1988 Monsters (TV series) the fever man Episode: "The Feverman" (S 1:Ep 1 - "Pilot")
1989 The Man Who Lived at The Ritz Charlie Ritz Made for TV movie
1989 Murder, She Wrote Cyril Grantham Episode: "From Russia...With Love" (S 5:Ep 14)
1989 Mother Love Sir Alexander "Alex" Vesey Main cast
1989 McCloud (TV series) Inspector Craig Episode: "The Return of Sam McCloud" (S 7:Ep 7)
1990 Murder, She Wrote Drew Garrison Episode: "Deadly Misunderstanding" (S 7:Ep 2)
1990 Boon Simon Bradleigh Episode: "The Belles of St. Godwalds" (S 6:Ep 4)
1990 Lucky/Chances Bernard Dimes TV miniseries
1990 Father Dowling Mysteries Guest star
1991–92 Trainer John Grey Main cast
1991 Cluedo Professor Plum U. K. Game show
1993 seaQuest DSV Frank Cobb Episode: "seaWest" (S 1:Ep 11)
1994 Babylon 5 Dr. Vance Hendricks Episode: "Infection" (S 1:Ep 5)
1994 Titanic: The Complete Story Narrator
1994 Heartbeat Cooper Episode: "Arms and the Man" (S 4:Ep 10)
1995 VR-5 Dr. Joseph Bloom Main cast
1996 Mr. & Mrs. Smith Ian Felton Episode: "The Impossible Mission" (S 1:Ep 11)
1997 Law & Order Craig Holland Episode: "Past Imperfect" (S 7:Ep 22)
1997 The Outer Limits Joshua Hayward Episode: "Feasibility Study" (S 3:Ep 17)
1997–98 Team Knight Rider Mobius Main cast
1998 Coming Home (TV serial) Billy Fawcett
1999 Sex and the City Duncan Episode: "Shortcomings" (S 2:Ep 15)
2000 Deadline Harry Hobbs Episode: "Lovers and Madmen" (S 1:Ep 2)
2001–02 The Education of Max Bickford Walter Thornhill Main cast
2002 Jeremiah Clarence Episode: Things Left Unsaid" (S 1:Ep 19)
2002–03 Taboo Narrator Episodes:
  • "Evil Spirits" (S 1: Ep8)
  • "Bloodsports" (S 1:Ep 12)
  • "Delicacies" (S 2: Ep 2)
  • "Body Perfect" (S 2:Ep 5)
2003 JAG Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard Episodes::
2003–present NCIS Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard Main cast
2006–09 The Replacements The voice of C.A.R. Main cast
2008–10 Ben 10: Alien Force Paradox Recurring
2009 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Merlin Ambrosius Episode: "Day of the Dark Knight!" (S 1:Ep 5)
2010–12 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Paradox Recurring
2013–14 Ben 10: Omniverse Paradox Recurring
2014 NCIS: New Orleans Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard Episode: "Musician Heal Thyself" (S 1:Ep 1)

Video Games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2014 Diablo III: Reaper of Souls The Grand Maester / King Rakkis (voice) His voice only appears in the Diablo III expansion DLC, Reaper of Souls.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Swann, Yvonne (30 November 2010). "David McCallum: My father sometimes felt I was wasting my life". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Interview fromMotion Picture magazine". Davidmccallumfansonline.com. Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  3. ^ Yvonne Swann (2010-11-30). "David McCallum: My father sometimes felt I was wasting my life | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  4. ^ "David McCallum, Actor - Interview". dangerousink.co.uk. 
  5. ^ a b c d "U.N.C.L.E. Actor – David McCallum". manfromuncle.org. 
  6. ^ "David McCallum Biography". Fandango (ticket service). 
  7. ^ Feeney, Mark (2008-11-02). "Audiences in the 1960s swooned over the cool men from U.N.C.L.E.". Boston Globe. 
  8. ^ "The Man From UNCLE: Behind the Scenes of a TV Classic". YouTube. 
  9. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (2014-02-04). "NCIS star David McCallum 'frustrated, angry' over Cote de Pablo exit". DigitalSpy. Retrieved 2015-02-19. 
  10. ^ "The Meat Puzzle". NCIS. Season 2. Episode 13. 2005-02-08. 21:37 minutes in. 
  11. ^ "David McCallum discusses medical examiner work". Davidmccallumfansonline.com. 2005-05-27. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  12. ^ Eng, Joyce (2012-04-30). "David McCallum re-ups NCIS contract". TV Guide.com. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 337. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  15. ^ a b "David Mcallum's heartache at death of adopted son – Celebrity Interview – Celebs + TV". People.co.uk. 2010-06-27. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  16. ^ Lisa Respers (2009-02-03). "'NCIS' actor's portrayal is dead on". CNN.com. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  17. ^ "David McCallum: Credit Listings". Tv.com. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 

External links[edit]