The Man from U.N.C.L.E. actor and musician David McCallum, a Scottish-American, rose to fame early in his career for his portrayal of Russian secret agent Illya Kuryakin. Years later, when he played NCIS medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the television show “NCIS,” he once again gained fame and renown on a global scale. Flight Lieutenant Simon Carter in “Colditz,” scientist Daniel Westin in “The Invisible Man,” intergalactic assassin Steel in “Sapphire & Steel,” Sir Alexander “Alex” Vesey in “Mother Love,” gambler John Grey in “Trainer,” Dr. Joseph Bloom in “VR-5,” the wheelchair- and ventilator-bound criminal mastermind Mobius in “Team Knight Rider,” and Walter Thornhill in “The Education of Max Bickford” are some of his other Violent Playground, Robbery Under Arms, A Night to Remember, Freud: The Secret Passion, Billy Budd, The Great Escape, and The Greatest Story Ever Told are just a few of the movies he has worked on. Additionally, he produced four CDs in his early career. His most recent book, the murder fiction “Once a Crooked Man,” marked his debut as a novelist.
Early Childhood & Life
David McCallum, the son of symphonic violinist David McCallum Sr. and cellist Dorothy Dorman, was born on September 19, 1933, in Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland. He was the younger of his parents’ two boys.
His family relocated to London when he was just three years old after his father was given the chance to perform as concertmaster in the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He resided with his mother in Gartocharn beside Loch Lomond when the family was forced to flee during the Second World War.
He received a scholarship to attend University College School, a private boys’ school in Hampstead, London. In order to prepare for a future in music, his parents encouraged him to learn the oboe. In 1946, he recorded boy voices for the BBC radio repertory company.
He enlisted in the military at the age of 18 and joined the Middlesex Regiment’s 3rd Battalion, which was attached to the Royal West African Frontier Force. In March 1954, he received a Lieutenant promotion.
Before enlisting in the army, he participated in the local amateur theater during his late teenage years. He portrayed the role of Oberon in the Play and Pageant Union’s open-air production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London after being released from his army service, where he studied with Joan Collins.
Career in Acting
In 1951, David McCallum was appointed assistant stage manager of the Glyndebourne Opera Company. Later in the 1950s, he made cameo appearances in a number of British films in supporting roles. In the movie “Ill Met By Moonlight,” he made his acting debut in an uncredited role. In the movie “Whom the Gods Love, Die Young,” he played a tragic prince.
He portrayed a young offender in “Violent Playground” (1957), an outlaw in “Robbery Under Arms,” and the junior RMS Titanic radio operator Harold Bride in “A Night to Remember” in the next years (1958). His first job in an American movie was in the historical drama “Freud: The Secret Passion” (1962), which was directed by John Huston. This was followed by a part in Peter Ustinov’s “Billy Budd.”
He portrayed Lt. Cmdr. Eric Ashley-Pitt, also known as “Dispersal,” in the 1963 epic World War II movie “The Great Escape,” which was based on actual events. He played Judas Iscariot in the epic American movie “The Greatest Story Ever Told” in 1965.
He made many television appearances as a guest star in the early 1960s, including two apiece on “The Outer Limits” and “The Great Adventure.” He also made cameos in episodes like “Profiles in Courage,” “Sir Francis Drake,” “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters,” and “Perry Mason.”
His breakout performance came in the spy drama “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” where he appeared from 1964 to 1968 as the enigmatic Russian operative Illya Kuryakin. His portrayal of the mysterious persona made for the ideal counterpoint to Robert Vaughn’s character, which the producers recognized and elevated him to a co-starring part.
Even during the cold war era, Illya Kuryakin’s role—along with his Beatle-style blond haircut—made him a sex icon and a phenomenon in popular culture. In the feature films “To Trap a Spy” (1964) and “The Spy with My Face,” as well as the 1983 television movie “Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” he repeated the role.
He then developed a reputation as a well-known face on British television, making appearances on programs like Colditz (1972–1974), Kidnapped (1978), and Sapphire & Steel (1979–82). However, his lead performance in the 1975 American adaptation of “The Invisible Man” did not garner favorable reviews, and the show was canceled after one season.
He appeared as a key cast member in various television programs over the course of the following two decades, including “Mother Love” (1989), “Trainer” (1991–1992), “VR-5” (1995), and “Team Knight Rider” (1997-98). He also hosted the television show “Ancient Prophecies” and narrated the famous documentary “Titanic: The Complete Story” (1994).
He played Walter Thornhill in the drama series “The Education of Max Bickford” in the new century (2001-02). But he came very near to Illya Kuryakin’s fame with his role as chief medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the CBS series “NCIS” (2003–present).
Other Businesses of David McCallum
Four albums by David McCallum were released through Capitol Records, David Axelrod, and Music…A Part of Me in 1966, Music…A Bit More of Me in 1966, Music…Happening It’s Now! in 1967, and McCallum in 1968. (1968). In 2016, he released the crime book “Once a Crooked Man,” and he is presently on a sequel.
Bigger Works of David McCallum
One of David McCallum’s best performances was as Illya Kuryakin in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Another was as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in “NCIS.” Because of the former, he gained notoriety on par with that of the Beatles and amassed more fan mail than any other actor in Metro-Goldwyn history. Mayer’s
Recognition & Achievements
In addition to being nominated for two Emmy Awards, David McCallum was also nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Russian secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the television series “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” He was nominated for another “Emmy” for his portrayal of Hamilton Cade in the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” episode “Teacher, Teacher” (1969).
Personal Legacy & Life
On May 11, 1957, in London, David McCallum wed actress Jill Ireland, whom he had met while working on the movie “Hell Drivers.” They had three boys together: Paul, Jason, and Valentine (Val). The couple’s adopted son Jason passed away in 1989 after accidentally overdosing on drugs.
He introduced his wife to Charles Bronson, a co-star in the 1963 movie “The Great Escape,” whom she eventually left and married in 1968.
He wed Katherine Carpenter in 1967, and the two of them have two children: Peter and Sophie.
In 1999, he was granted US citizenship, and he is a Republican. He and his wife are active members of a number of nonprofit groups that assist the United States Marine Corps.
David McCallum’s Net Worth
Scottish actor, singer, and novelist David McCallum has a $15 million dollar fortune. McCallum is most remembered for his roles as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, a medical examiner on “NCIS,” and secret agent Illya Kuryakin on “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (1964–1968). (2003–present). His episode pay on “NCIS” is $175,000.
In the 2005 episode “The Meat Puzzle” of “NCIS,” which was set in the second season, David McCallum and his father were seen in a black-and-white photograph taken in the middle of the 1960s.