David McCallum

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David McCallum
David McCallum 2015.jpg
McCallum at the 8th Annual Marine Corps Historic Half (MCHH) in Fredericksburg, Virginia on 17 May 2015
David Keith McCallum Jr.

(1933-09-19) 19 September 1933 (age 87)
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
OccupationActor, musician
Years active1947–present
Known for
    (m. 1957;div. 1967)
      Katherine Carpenter
      (m. 1967)
Children5, including Val McCallum
Parent(s) David McCallum Sr.
Dorothy Dorman

David Keith McCallum Jr. (born 19 September 1933) is a Scottish actor and musician. He first gained recognition in the 1960s for playing secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. . In recent years, McCallum has gained renewed international recognition and popularity for his role as NCIS medical examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the American television series NCIS .


Early life

McCallum was born September 19, 1933, in Maryhill, Glasgow, the second of two sons of orchestral violinist David McCallum Sr. and Dorothy (née Dorman), a cellist. When he was three, his family moved to London for his father to play as concertmaster in the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Early in the Second World War, he was evacuated back to Scotland, where he lived with his mother at Gartocharn by Loch Lomond.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ] In 1946 he began doing boy voices for the BBC radio repertory company.[ citation needed ] 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 was conscripted for National Service. He joined the British Army's 3rd Battalion the Middlesex Regiment, which was seconded to the Royal West African Frontier Force. [1] In March 1954 he was promoted to lieutenant. [2] After leaving the army he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (also in London), where Joan Collins was a classmate.[ citation needed ]


In 1951, McCallum became assistant stage manager of the Glyndebourne Opera Company. He began his acting career doing boy voices for BBC Radio in 1947 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. [3] A James Dean-themed photograph of McCallum caught the attention of the Rank Organisation, who signed him in 1956. [4] However, in an interview with Alan Titchmarsh broadcast on 3 November 2010, McCallum stated that he had actually held his Equity card since 1946. [5]

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 Cdr Eric Ashley-Pitt (a.k.a., "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.

McCallum as Illya Kuryakin David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin cph.3c35738.jpg
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 to Vaughn's clean-cut appearance. McCallum's role as the mysterious Russian agent Illya Kuryakin was originally conceived as a peripheral one. McCallum, however, took the opportunity to construct a complex character whose appeal rested largely in what was shadowy and enigmatic about him. [4] 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. [4] While playing Kuryakin, McCallum received more fan mail than any other actor in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's history, including such popular MGM stars as Clark Gable and Elvis Presley. [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 honour of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. character.

McCallum received two Emmy Award nominations in the course of the show's four-year run (1964–68) for playing the intellectual and introvert secret agent. [4]

McCallum and Vaughn reprised their roles of Kuryakin and Solo in a 1983 TV film, Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. . In 1986 McCallum reunited with Robert Vaughn again in 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, McCallum recounted 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.

McCallum in 1969 David McCallum 1969.JPG
McCallum in 1969

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 played supporting parts in a number of feature films, although he played the title role in the 1968 thriller, Sol Madrid .

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 . He appeared as a British double agent in a 1989 episode of Murder, She Wrote . 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: The Complete Story for A&E 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.


McCallum in October 2012 DavidMcCallumHWOFOct2012.jpg
McCallum in October 2012

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 Season 2 Episode 13 "The Meat Puzzle", NCIS Special Agent Caitlin Todd (Sasha Alexander) asks Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), "What did Ducky look like when he was younger?" and Gibbs replies, "Illya Kuryakin". [9]

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 attending 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.

When agent Gibbs was asked what Ducky looked like when he was younger the reply was “Illya Kuryakin.’

McCallum appeared at the 21st Annual James Earl Ash Lecture, held 19 May 2005 at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, an evening for honouring 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. [10]

In late April 2012 it was announced that McCallum had reached agreement on a two-year contract extension with CBS-TV. The move meant that he would remain an NCIS regular past his eightieth birthday. [11] In May 2014 he signed another two-year contract. [12] He has since signed extensions in 2016, [13] beginning a limited schedule in 2017 and renewing the same for seasons 15, 16 & 17 - each one separately. [14]


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 was sampled by 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. McCallum's version of "The Edge" appears on the soundtrack to the 2017 film Baby Driver .

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 film 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. [15]

In the Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Discotheque Affair", McCallum plays the double bass as part of a band in a night club. He also played guitar and sang his own composition, "Trouble," with Nancy Sinatra on "The Take Me to Your Leader Affair," and played several instruments in "The Off-Broadway Affair".

In the 1970s, McCallum also recorded three H. P. Lovecraft tales for Caedmon Records, an imprint of August Derleth's Arkham House publishing venture: "The Rats in the Walls" (TC 1347, 1973); "The Dunwich Horror" ("slightly abridged"; TC 1467, 1976); and "The Haunter of the Dark" (TC 1617, 1979).


In 2016, McCallum published a crime novel entitled Once a Crooked Man. The narrative is set in New York and London and centres on a young actor who tries to foil a murder. [16] McCallum has stated that a second novel is in progress. [17]

Personal life

On 11 May 1957, McCallum married actress Jill Ireland in London. The couple had met during production of the film Hell Drivers . The marriage lasted 10 years. After leaving McCallum, Ireland married Charles Bronson, whom McCallum had introduced to her while McCallum and Bronson were filming The Great Escape (1963). McCallum and Ireland had three sons: Paul, Jason and Valentine (Val). Jason, who was adopted, died from an accidental drug overdose in 1989. [18] Val McCallum is a guitar player, playing with Jackson Browne most recently in 2014 and is a member of the faux country band, Jackshit. [19] [20]

In 1967, McCallum married Katherine Carpenter. They have a son, Peter, and a daughter, Sophie. McCallum and his wife are active in charitable organisations that support the United States Marine Corps: Katherine's father was a Marine who served in the Battle of Iwo Jima and her brother was killed in the Vietnam War. On 27 August 1999, McCallum was naturalized as a United States citizen. [21] McCallum has six grandchildren. He was friends with Tibor Rubin. [18] [22]



1957 Ill Met By Moonlight Sailor
These Dangerous Years Also known as Dangerous Youth
Robbery Under Arms Jim MarstonBritish Crime film
Hell Drivers Jimmy YatelyDirected by Cy Endfield
The Secret Place Mike WilsonDirectorial debut of Clive Donner
1958 A Night to Remember Harold Bride Iconic British drama about the sinking of RMS Titanic
Violent Playground Johnnie MurphyDirected by Basil Dearden
1961 The Long and the Short and the Tall Private Samuel "Sammy" WhitakerReleased as Jungle Fighters in the US and Canada
Jungle Street Terry CollinsLater retitled Jungle Street Girls
1962 Freud: The Secret Passion Carl von SchlossenAlso known as Freud
Billy Budd Steven WyattA CinemaScope film produced, directed, and co-written by Peter Ustinov
1963 The Great Escape Lt. Cmdr. Eric Ashley-Pitt, "Dispersal"Based on an escape by British and Commonwealth prisoners of war from a German POW camp during the Second World War
1964 To Trap a Spy Illya Kuryakin A Man from U.N.C.L.E. film
1965 The Spy with My Face
The Greatest Story Ever Told Judas Iscariot Retelling of the story of Jesus, from the Nativity through the Resurrection
1966 One Spy Too Many Illya KuryakinA Man from U.N.C.L.E. film
The Spy in the Green Hat
Around the World Under the Sea Dr. Philip Volker
The Big T.N.T. Show Master of Ceremonies, conducting the orchestra"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (instrumental)
One of Our Spies Is Missing Illya KuryakinA Man from U.N.C.L.E. film
1967 The Karate Killers
Three Bites of the Apple Stanley Thrumm
1968 The Helicopter Spies Illya KuryakinA Man from U.N.C.L.E. film
Sol Madrid Sol MadridReleased in the UK as The Heroin Gang
How to Steal the World Illya KuryakinA Man From U.N.C.L.E. film
1969 Mosquito Squadron Squadron Leader Quint Monroe, RCAF British war film
The Ravine Sergeant Stephen HolmannItalian-Yugoslav-American war film
Rascal Ice Cream Man
1972She WaitsMark Wilson Horror film
1972 Night of the Lepus Police Officer
1975 The Kingfisher Caper Benedict Van Der BylReleased as Diamond Hunters in South Africa and as Diamond Lust on video
1976 Dogs Harlan Thompson
1977 King Solomon's Treasure Sir Henry CurtisBritish-Canadian low-budget film based on the novel King Solomon's Mines
1980 The Watcher in the Woods Paul Curtis
1985Terminal ChoiceDr. Giles Dodson
1986 The Wind JohnReleased in 1987 in the USA
1990 The Haunting of Morella GideonSet in colonial America
1991 Hear My Song Jim Abbott
1993Fatal InheritanceBrandon Murphy
1993 Dirty Weekend ReggieBased on the novel of the same name by Helen Zahavi
1994 Healer The Jackal
2008 Batman: Gotham Knight Alfred Pennyworth (voice) Direct-to-video
2009 Wonder Woman Zeus (voice)
2014 Son of Batman Alfred Pennyworth (voice)
2015 Batman vs. Robin


1959 Anouilh's Antigone Haemon
1961 Sir Francis Drake Lord OakshottEpisode: "The English Dragon" (S 1:Ep 6)
1963 The Outer Limits Gwyllm GriffithsEpisode: "The Sixth Finger" (S 1:Ep 5)
1964 The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters ProphetEpisode: "The Day Of The Search" (S 1:Ep 18)
Perry Mason Phillipe BertainEpisode: "The Case of the Fifty-Millionth Frenchman" (S 7:Ep 19)
The Great Adventure Captain HanningEpisodes:
  • "Kentucky's Bloody Ground" (S 1:Ep 23)
  • "The Siege of Boonesborough" (S 1:Ep 24)
The Outer LimitsTone HobartEpisode: "The Forms of Things Unknown" (S 1:Ep 32)
Profiles in Courage John Adams Episode: "John Adams" (S 1:Ep 7)
1964–1968 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 KuryakinEpisode: "Say U.N.C.L.E." (S 1:Ep 18)
1969 Hallmark Hall of Fame Hamilton CadeEpisode: "Teacher, Teacher" (S 18:Ep 3)
Hallmark Hall of Fame Kenneth CanfieldEpisode: "The File On Devlin" (S 19:Ep 1)
1970 Hauser's Memory Hillel Mondoro
1971 Night Gallery Dr. Joel WinterEpisode: "The Phantom Farmhouse" (S 2:Ep 16)
1971 The Man and the City Guest Episode: "Pipe Me A Loving Tune" (S 1:Ep 12)
1972–1974 Colditz Simon CarterMain cast
1973 Frankenstein: The True Story Dr. Henry ClervalMade for TV film
The Six Million Dollar Man Alexi KaslovEpisode: "Wine, Women and War" (S 1:Ep 3)
1975–1976 The Invisible Man Daniel WestinMain cast
1978KidnappedAlan Breck Stewart TV Miniseries
1979–1982 Sapphire & Steel SteelMain cast
1982 Strike Force Roderick Howard Hadley IIIEpisode: "Ice" (S 1:Ep 9)
1983 As the World Turns Maurice VermeilContract role
Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. Illya KuryakinMade for TV film
1984 The Master CastileEpisode: "Hostages" (S 1:Ep 4)
1986 Hart to Hart Geoffrey AttertonEpisode: "Hunted Harts" (S 4:Ep 11)
Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense Frank LaneEpisode: "The Corvini Inheritance" (S 1:Ep 10)
The A-Team IvanEpisode: "The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair" (S 5:Ep 6)
1987 Matlock Phil DudleyEpisode: "The Billionaire" (S 2:Ep 1)
1988 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Lieutenant Cavanaugh"Murder Party" (S 3:Ep 11)
Monsters The FevermanEpisode: "The Feverman" (S 1:Ep 1 – "Pilot")
The Man Who Lived at the Ritz Charlie RitzMade for TV film
1989 Murder, She Wrote Cyril GranthamEpisode: "From Russia...With Blood" (S 5:Ep 14)
Mother Love Sir Alexander "Alex" VeseyMain cast
McCloud Inspector CraigMade-for-TV-film titled The Return of Sam McCloud
1990Murder, She WroteDrew GarrisonEpisode: "Deadly Misunderstanding" (S 7:Ep 2)
Boon Simon BradleighEpisode: "The Belles of St. Godwalds" (S 6:Ep 4)
Lucky Chances Bernard DimesTV miniseries
Father Dowling Mysteries Sir RobertEpisode: "The Royal Mystery" (S 3:Ep 1)
1991–1992 Trainer John GreyMain cast
1991 Cluedo Professor Plum U. K. Game show
1993 seaQuest DSV Frank CobbEpisode: "seaWest" (S 1:Ep 11)
1994 Babylon 5 Dr. Vance HendricksEpisode: "Infection" (S 1:Ep 4)
Titanic: The Complete Story Narrator
Heartbeat CooperEpisode: "Arms and the Man" (S 4:Ep 10)
1994–1995 Scavengers NarratorVoiceover
1995 VR-5 Dr. Joseph BloomMain cast
1996 Mr. & Mrs. Smith Ian FeltonEpisode: "The Impossible Mission" (S 1:Ep 11)
1997 Law & Order Craig HollandEpisode: "Past Imperfect" (S 7:Ep 22)
The Outer Limits Joshua HaywardEpisode: "Feasibility Study" (S 3:Ep 17)
1997–1998 Team Knight Rider MobiusMain cast
1998 Coming Home (TV serial)Billy Fawcett
March in Windy CityDaniel Paterson / Dimitri PetrovskyMade for TV film
1999 Sex and the City DuncanEpisode: "Shortcomings" (S 2:Ep 15)
2000 Deadline Harry HobbsEpisode: "Lovers and Madmen" (S 1:Ep 2)
2001–2002 The Education of Max Bickford Walter ThornhillMain cast
2002 Jeremiah ClarenceEpisode: "Things Left Unsaid" (S 1:Ep 19)
2002–2003 Taboo NarratorEpisodes:
  • "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: "Ice Queen (1)", "Meltdown (2)"
2003–present NCIS Main cast
2006–2009 The Replacements The voice of C.A.R.
2008–2010 Ben 10: Alien Force Professor Paradox (voice)Recurring role
2009 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Merlin Ambrosius Episode: "Day of the Dark Knight!" (S 1:Ep 5)
2010–2012 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Professor Paradox (voice)Recurring role
2013–2014 Ben 10: Omniverse
2014, 2016 NCIS: New Orleans Dr. Donald "Ducky" MallardEpisodes: "Musician Heal Thyself" (S 1:Ep 1), "Sister City, Part II" (S 2:Ep 12)
2019D-Day at Pointe-du-HocNarrator (PBS documentary)

Video games

1996 Privateer 2: The Darkening Captain of the Canera
  • Appears in the opening full-motion video cinematic
2009 Ben 10: Alien Force - Vilgax Attacks Professor Paradox
2009 FusionFall Paradox
2011NCIS Video GameDr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard
  • Voices his character from NCIS
  • Narrates the game
2014 Diablo III: Reaper of Souls The Grand Maester / King RakkisHis voice only appears in the Diablo III expansion DLC, Reaper of Souls.

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<i>The Karate Killers</i>

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<i>The Spy in the Green Hat</i>

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<i>One Spy Too Many</i>

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The Vulcan Affair 1st episode of the first season of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

"The Vulcan Affair" is the first episode of the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It was edited from the pilot, "Solo", which was shot in colour, but was broadcast in black-and-white, to conform with the rest of the first season. It was first broadcast in the USA on NBC on September 22, 1964. The hero is Napoleon Solo and his antagonist is Andrew Vulcan, an evil scientist working with THRUSH. The episode was subsequently expanded with additional footage and released in colour as the feature-length movie, To Trap a Spy.

"Playing With Fire" is the 22nd episode of the ninth season of the American police procedural drama NCIS, and the 208th episode overall. It aired on CBS in the United States on May 1, 2012. The episode was written by George Schenck and Frank Cardea and directed by Dennis Smith, and was seen by 17.58 million viewers.

<i>The Man from U.N.C.L.E.</i> (film) 2015 film directed by Guy Ritchie

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a 2015 spy film directed by Guy Ritchie and written by Ritchie and Lionel Wigram. It is based on the 1964 MGM television series of the same name, which was created by Norman Felton and Sam Rolfe. The film stars Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris, and Hugh Grant. The film was produced by RatPac-Dune Entertainment, and Davis Entertainment, while Turner Entertainment Co., the original TV series current holder, was also involved.

The eighteenth season of NCIS, an American police procedural drama television series, premiered on November 17, 2020, on CBS, and is set to contain sixteen episodes, including the series 400th episode. The season is set to be produced by Belisarius Productions and CBS Studios.


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