‘The Man From Uncle’ star David McCallum dies at 90 – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Actor David McCallum, who became a teen heartthrob in the hit 1960s series “The Man from Uncle” and 40 years later was the eccentric medical examiner on the popular “NCIS,” has died. He was 90 years old.

McCallum died Monday of natural causes surrounded by his family at New York Presbyterian Hospital, CBS said in a statement.

“David was a talented actor and writer and beloved by many people around the world. He lived an incredible life, and his legacy will live on forever through his family and the countless hours of watching film and television that will never end,” a statement from CBS said.

The Scottish-born McCallum was performing well in films such as “A Night to Remember” (about the Titanic), “The Great Escape” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (as Judas). But it was “The Man from Uncle” that made the blonde actor with the Beatleesque haircut a household name in the mid-’60s.

The success of the James Bond books and films set off a chain reaction, with the secret agent spreading across both the big and small screens. Indeed, according to John Heitland’s “The Man from Uncle Book”, Bond creator Ian Fleming contributed some ideas while “The Man from Uncle” was being developed.

The show, which debuted in 1964, starred Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, an agent in a secret, high-tech squad of crime fighters whose initials stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Despite the Cold War, the agency had an international staff, including McCallum Solow’s Russian assistant, Ilya Kuryakin.

McCallum recalled that the role was initially relatively small, saying in a 1998 interview that “I had never heard of the word ‘sidekick’ before.”

The show received mixed reviews, but ultimately became popular, with teenage girls in particular attracted to McCallum’s good looks and mysterious, intellectual character. By 1965, Elia was Vaughn’s character’s full partner and both stars were in the crowd during personal appearances.

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This sequence continued till 1968. Vaughn and McCallum reunited in 1983 for an old TV movie, “The Return of the Man from Uncle”, in which the agents were lured out of retirement to save the world once again.

McCallum returned to television in 2003 with another series, initially titled CBS, about an agency known as NCIS. He played Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, a by-the-book pathologist for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, an agency that handles crimes involving the Navy or Marines. Mark Harmon played the NCIS boss.

McCallum said he thought Ducky, who wore glasses and a bow tie and had an eye for beautiful women, “looked a little silly, but it was a lot of fun to do.” He also took the role seriously and spent time at the Los Angeles coroner’s office to gain knowledge of how autopsies are performed.

The series gradually gained viewership and eventually reached the list of top 10 shows. McCallum, who lived in New York when ‘NCIS’ was in production, lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica.

“He was a scholar and a gentleman, always kind, a consummate professional and someone who never minded a joke. It was an honor to work with him from day one and he never let us down. “Simply put, he was a legend,” “NCIS” executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North said in a statement.

McCallum’s work with “Uncle” earned him two Emmy nominations, and he received a third in 1969 as a teacher struggling with alcoholism in the Hallmark Hall of Fame drama “Teacher, Teacher.”

In 1975, he played the title role in a short-lived science fiction series, “The Invisible Man”, and from 1979 to 1982 he played Steel in the British science fiction series, “Sapphire and Steel”. Over the years, he also appeared in guest scenes on several TV shows, including “Murder, She Wrote” and “Sex and the City.”

He appeared on Broadway in the 1968 comedy, “The Flip Side” and in the 1999 revival of “Amadeus” starring Michael Sheen and David Suchet. He was also in several Off-Broadway productions.

McCallum, a longtime American citizen who has lived extensively in the United States since the 1960s, told the Associated Press in 2003 that “I have always loved the freedom of this country and everything it has to offer. And I live here, and I like to vote here.

David Keith McCallum was born in Glasgow in 1933. His parents were musicians; His father, also named David, played the violin, his mother the cello. When David was 3, the family moved to London, where David Sr. played with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic.

Young David attended the Royal Academy of Music where he learned the oboe. He decided he was not good enough, so he turned to theater and studied for a time at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. But in a 2009 Los Angeles Times interview, she commented, “I was a short, emaciated blonde and had a sunken chest, so there weren’t a lot of body parts for me.”

After taking time off for military service, he returned to London and began working in live television and films, In 1957 he appeared in “Robbery Under Arms”, an adventure film set in early Australia, featuring an emerging The actress was Jill Ireland. The couple married the same year.

In 1963, McCallum was part of the large cast of “The Great Escape” and he and his wife became friends with Charles Bronson in the film. Ireland eventually fell in love with Bronson, and she and McCallum divorced in 1967. She married Bronson in 1968.

“It all worked out well, because I got married to Katherine (Carpenter, a former model) soon after,” McCallum said in 2009, “and we’ve been married for 42 years.”

McCallum had three sons from his first marriage, Paul, Jason and Valentine, and a son and daughter, Peter and Sophie, from his second marriage. Jason died of an overdose.

“He was a true Renaissance man – he was fascinated by science and culture and would turn those passions into knowledge. For example, he was able to conduct a symphony orchestra and (if necessary) actually perform an autopsy based on his decades-long study for his role on NCIS,” Peter McCallum said in a statement. .

In 2007, when he was working on “NCIS”, McCallum told a reporter: “I’ve always felt that the harder I work, the luckier I get. I believe in serendipitous events, but Also, dedicating yourself to what you do is the best way to get ahead in this life.


Bob Thomas, a longtime Associated Press journalist who died in 2014, was the lead author of this obituary.

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