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David McCallum (1933)

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  Summary  

David Keith McCallum, Jr. 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.

  Biography  

 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 .

 career
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.

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.
A James Dean-themed photograph of McCallum caught the attention of the Rank Organisation, who signed him in 1957. 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 , an outlaw in Robbery Under Arms and as junior RMS Titanic radio operator Harold Bride in A Night to Remember . His first American film was Freud the Secret Passion , 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.

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. Kuryakin's popularity with the audience and Vaughn's 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. He was popularly referred to as 'the blond Beatle'. While playing Kuryakin, McCallum received more fan mail than any other actor in MGM's history. 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 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.

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."

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 .

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.

 NCIS
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."

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.

 Music
In the 1960s, McCallum recorded four albums for Capitol Records with producer David Axelrod: Music...A Part Of Me , Music...A Bit More Of Me , Music...It's Happening Now! , and McCallum . 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 . 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.

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.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "David McCallum", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.