Michael Callan

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Michael Callan
Michael Callan in Cat Ballou trailer.jpg
Michael Callan in trailer for Cat Ballou
Born Martin Harris Calinieff
(1935-11-22) November 22, 1935 (age 82)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Other names Mickey Calin
Years active 1954-2007
  • Carlyn Chapman (m. 1960; div. 1967)
  • Patricia Harty (m. 1968; div. 1970)
  • Karen Malouf (m. 1975; div. 1984)
Children 2 daughters (with Chapman)

Michael Callan (born November 22, 1935) is an American actor best known for originating the role of Riff in West Side Story on Broadway, and for his film roles for Columbia Pictures, notably Gidget Goes Hawaiian, The Interns and Cat Ballou.

Early life[edit]

Born Martin Harris Calinieff[1] in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he sang and danced as a teenager and by the age of fifteen was dancing in local night clubs. Two years later he moved to New York.


Callan's first big break came when he was cast in The Boy Friend (1954) and Catch a Star (1955). He and his dance partner, Grace Genteel, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and Chance of a Lifetime.

When he was 21, he auditioned for Jerome Robbins for the role of "Riff" in the original Broadway production of West Side Story (1957–59). He was seen by talent scout Joyce Selznick, who worked for Columbia Pictures. Columbia was on a "youth talent" drive at the time and signed Callan to a seven-year deal.

Columbia Pictures[edit]

Columbia Pictures' first role for Callan was in a prestige production, They Came to Cordura (1959), starring Gary Cooper. Columbia then considered Callan for a number of projects, including The Mountain Road, by Theodore White, Parrish, and Let No Man Write My Epitaph.[2] Callan's second film with Columbia was the lead role in The Flying Fontaines (1959).

In October 1959, Columbia Pictures announced the Callan was one of 11 young names the studio would be building up -- the others were James Darren, (Darren's soon-to-be wife) Evy Norlund, Glenn Corbett, Carol Douglas, Jo Morrow, Margie Regan, Joby Baker, Rian Garrick, Joe Gallison and Steve Baylor.[3]

He co-starred with Dick Clark and Tuesday Weld in the film Because They're Young (1960) and had a cameo in Pepe (1960).

Callan was unable to reprise his West Side Story role of Riff in the film version due to his contract with Columbia, but he did dance in the film Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961), opposite Deborah Walley as Gidget and Darren as Moondoggie. He also appeared in a fantasy adventure film, Mysterious Island (1961).

Callan was a juvenile delinquent threatening Alan Ladd in 13 West Street (1962), then was reunited with Walley in the family comedy, Bon Voyage! (1962) for Walt Disney. Back at Columbia, he appeared in a big hit, The Interns (1962), as one of four young doctors. He had a supporting role in The Victors (1963) and a bigger one in The New Interns (1964).

In 1964, he guest-starred in episodes of television series Twelve O'Clock High and Breaking Point. Around this time he released an album, My Home Town.

After You Must Be Joking! (1965) he played the romantic lead in the Western comedy Cat Ballou (1965) opposite Jane Fonda. In August 1965, he signed a four-picture deal with Columbia and at one point was mentioned as a possible star for the space adventure Marooned (1969).[4]


After eight years and 13 films with Columbia, Callan landed the lead role of Peter Christopher in the NBC Television sitcom Occasional Wife made by Columbia's Screen Gems.[5]

At the time, Callan was married to the former Carlyn Chapman. The young couple lived in Beverly Hills and had two daughters. He engaged in a 12-hour day filming schedule with weekends off for the production of the half-hour television series.[6] Callan divorced Carlyn and was married for a time to Patricia Harty, the actress who played his "occasional wife" in the series.[citation needed]

In 1968, he co-starred as 'Bill Calhoun' in the ABC-TV production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate starring Robert Goulet and Carol Lawrence. [7]

Later career[edit]

Callan's later films included The Magnificent Seven Ride, Lepke and The Cat and the Canary.

His additional television credits include Breaking Point, Hazel, That Girl, The Name of the Game, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ironside, Marcus Welby, M.D., Griff, McMillan & Wife, Barnaby Jones, 12 O'Clock High, Quincy, M.E., Charlie's Angels, Simon & Simon, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, The Bionic Woman, four episodes of Murder, She Wrote and eight episodes of Love, American Style. He also played Hal B. Wallis in My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn, and Metallo in Superboy.

Callan both produced and starred in his own film, Double Exposure (1983). He also returned, occasionally, to the stage in both legit plays and musicals including Absurd Person Singular, Killjoy, Love Letters, Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah and The Music Man,, George M!" . Callan appeared in the Off-Broadway musical Bar Mitzvah Boy in 1987.

His more recent movie credits include Stuck on You (2003) and The Still Life (2006). His TV credits also include Viper and ER.

Personal life[edit]

Callan has two daughters, Dawn and Rebecca.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Michael Callan profile, filmreference.com; accessed April 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Scott, John L. (28 Dec 1958). "Callan Jumps From Broadway to Films". Los Angeles Times. p. D2. 
  3. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (14 Oct 1959). "Young Columbians Will Get Buildup: What Price Remakes?---Most Have Two Strikes Against 'Em". Los Angeles Times. p. B9. 
  4. ^ MOVIE CALL SHEET: Train Wreck Derails Film Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif,], August 11, 1965, p. D 12
  5. ^ MacMinn, Aleene (30 Oct 1966). "He's happily 'married'". Los Angeles Times. p. a4. 
  6. ^ Vernon Scott, "Actor Michael Callan Has Active Life at Home", Minden Press-Herald, Minden, Louisiana, November 9, 1966, p. 2
  7. ^ http://www.sondheimguide.com/porter/kiss68tv.html

External links[edit]