David Mccallum

David Mccallum


Also Known As
David Keith Mccallum
Birth Place
United Kingdom
September 19, 1933


A thoughtful, intense presence on television in America and his native United Kingdom, David McCallum was a pop culture sensation in the mid-1960s as the suave spy, Illya Kuryakin, on "The Man from U.N.C.L.E" (CBS, 1965-68) and later as the avuncular Donald "Ducky" Mallard on "NCIS: Naval Criminal Service Investigation" (CBS, 2003). The Scottish-born McCallum worked his way up the ranks ...

Family & Companions

Jill Ireland
Actor, author. Married in 1957; divorced in 1967; remarried in 1968 to actor Charles Bronson, McCallum's "The Great Escape" (1963) co-star; died of breast cancer on May 18, 1990.
Katherine Carpenter
Interior designer, former model. Married in September 1967.


A thoughtful, intense presence on television in America and his native United Kingdom, David McCallum was a pop culture sensation in the mid-1960s as the suave spy, Illya Kuryakin, on "The Man from U.N.C.L.E" (CBS, 1965-68) and later as the avuncular Donald "Ducky" Mallard on "NCIS: Naval Criminal Service Investigation" (CBS, 2003). The Scottish-born McCallum worked his way up the ranks in British film and television before bursting onto the American scene with "U.N.C.L.E." His cool charm and blonde good looks made him an immediate TV idol, but failed to translate into stardom after the show left the air. McCallum settled into a steady diet of TV appearances on both sides of the Atlantic, frequently essaying mellowed professorial types or pensive government figures, before scoring his late-inning smash with "NCIS." The rare performer with two major hits to his credit, McCallum's image and talent ensured his fame for generations of TV fans.

Born David Keith McCallum, Jr. in Glasgow, Scotland on Sept. 19, 1933, he was the son of David McCallum, Sr., the famed principal violinist for numerous orchestras in the United Kingdom, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and cellist Dorothy Dorman. Both parents encouraged McCallum and his brother Iain, who later became a novelist, to pursue their chosen fields; for McCallum, this was initially the oboe, which he studied at the Royal Academy of Music. But when a performance from Shakespeare's "King John" at a local theater group yielded a positive response from its audience, he switched his focus to acting while keeping music as a secondary interest. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he made his debut in a 1946 BBC Radio production of "Whom the Gods Love, Die Young." Bit and supporting roles in British features and on television soon followed, often as troubled youth, as benefitting his brooding intensity. Among his more notable turns during his period was in 1958's "Violent Playground," where his psychotic gang member is spurred by poverty and rock and roll to take a classroom of school children hostage.

McCallum's American film debut came as the mother-fixated Carl von Schlosser in John Huston's "Freud" (1962), with Montgomery Clift as the pioneering analyst. The following year, he played Royal Navy Officer Ashley-Pitt, who devised the method of dispersing the dirt from tunnels dug under a POW camp in "The Great Escape" (1963). His co-star in the film, Charles Bronson, later became entangled in a headline-grabbing relationship with McCallum's wife, actress Jill Ireland. McCallum and Ireland eventually divorced in 1967, which allowed her to marry Bronson. An early American television appearance on "The Outer Limits" (CBS, 1963-65) became one of his most enduring, thanks to the eye-popping makeup applied to McCallum. His character, a bitter Welsh miner, agreed to take part in an evolutionary experiment, which turned him into a hyper-intelligent mutant with a massive domed cranium. The image was memorable enough to make McCallum a go-to for numerous science fiction efforts in the ensuing decades.

In 1964, McCallum was cast as Illya Kuryakin, a minor character on the spy series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." Despite having only two lines, the producers saw that McCallum and star Robert Vaughn had considerable chemistry together, and boosted the character to co-star status. The move changed McCallum's career forever. Kuryakin's cool demeanor, physical proficiency with any weapon, and passion for art, music and science - not to mention his wealth of blonde hair - made him an immediate favorite among female viewers, whose fan mail to the actor was the most ever received in the history of MGM, which produced the show. For the series' three years on the air, McCallum was at the apex of television stardom, and netted two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nod, as well as major roles in several films. He was the tormented Judas in George Stevens' epic Biblical drama "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965), and took the lead in a number of minor features, including 1968's "Sol Madrid" and "Mosquito Squadron" (1969), many of which traded on McCallum's popularity in "U.N.C.L.E." by casting him in action-oriented roles. During this period, McCallum also orchestrated and conducted a trio of lush, sonically adventurous records that put unique spins on some of the period's more popular songs.

In the 1970s, McCallum was a fixture on television in both America and England. In the States, he was a staple of science fiction and supernaturally-themed TV features, including "Hauser's Memory" (NBC, 1970), as a scientist who injected himself with a dying colleagues brain fluid to preserve defense secrets from foreign agents, while "She Waits" (CBS, 1972) cast him as the husband to a possessed Patty Duke. He also briefly returned to series work with "The Invisible Man" (NBC, 1975-76) as a scientist who used his invisibility formula to aid a government agency against evildoers. His work in England hewed more towards dramatic fare: in "Colditz" (BBC, 1972-74), he was an aggressive RAF officer who put aside his anger towards the Nazis to help organize an escape from a notorious German war prison, while in "Sapphire & Steel" (ITV, 1979-1982), he and Joanna Lumley played extraterrestrial operatives who investigated strange incidents involving the time-space continuum. In 1983, he reunited with Robert Vaughn for "The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E." (CBS), which saw Illya retired from espionage to design women's clothing in New York. The escape of a top enemy spy brings both U.N.C.L.E. men back into action, albeit with other, younger agents. The TV-movie was intended as the pilot for a new version of the series, but the show was never greenlit.

After logging time on countless, unmemorable series like "Team Knight Rider" (syndicated, 1997-98) and "The Education of Max Bickford" (CBS, 2001-02), McCallum found his next hit with "NCIS," a police procedural drama about Navy investigators. McCallum played Chief Medical Examiner Donald "Ducky" Mallard, an eccentric but highly efficient investigator with a knack for psychological profiling. A close confidante to Mark Harmon's Jethro Gibbs, he served as father confessor and paternal figure for the show's offbeat cast of characters. The show's slow-building popularity brought McCallum back to a television audience made up in part of the children of viewers who sent him fan letters back in the "U.N.C.L.E." days, granting him a rare burst of second stardom.



Cast (Feature Film)

Batman vs. Robin (2015)
Alfred Pennyworth
Son of Batman (2014)
Alfred Pennyworth
Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)
Alfred Pennyworth
Stranger at the Door (2004)
Undercover Angel (1999)
Cherry (1999)
Mortal Challenge (1997)
Dirty Weekend (1997)
Milk and Money (1996)
Death Game (1996)
Shattered Image (1994)
Healer (1994)
Fatal Inheritance (1991)
Hear My Song (1991)
The Haunting of Morella (1990)
The Return of Sam McCloud (1989)
Freedom Fighter (1988)
Sergeant Hans Kemper
The Wind (1987)
Behind Enemy Lines (1985)
Lieutenant Colonel Shelley Flynn
Terminal Choice (1985)
Dr Dodson
The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1983)
Illya Kuryakin
The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
Paul Curtis
King Solomon's Treasure (1978)
Slaughter (1977)
Ancient Prophecies (1976)
The Invisible Man (1975)
Dr Daniel Weston
She Waits (1972)
Mosquito Squadron (1970)
Quint Munroe
Sol Madrid (1968)
Sol Madrid
The Helicopter Spies (1968)
How to Steal the World (1968)
Three Bites of the Apple (1967)
Stanley Thrumm
The Karate Killers (1967)
The Big T.N.T. Show (1966)
To Trap a Spy (1966)
Illya Kuryakin
The Spy With My Face (1966)
Illya Kuryakin
Around the World Under the Sea (1966)
Dr. Phil Volker
One of Our Spies Is Missing (1966)
The Spy in the Green Hat (1966)
One Spy Too Many (1966)
Illya Kuryakin
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Judas Iscariot
Jungle Street Girls (1963)
Terry Collins
The Great Escape (1963)
[Lt. Commander Eric] Ashley-Pitt "Dispersal"
Freud (1962)
Carl von Schlosser
Billy Budd (1962)
Lieutenant Wyatt
The Long and the Short and the Tall (1961)
Private Whitaker
Night Ambush (1958)
A Night to Remember (1958)
Robbery Under Arms (1957)
Jim Marston
The Secret Place (1957)

Music (Feature Film)

Three Bites of the Apple (1967)
The Big T.N.T. Show (1966)
Orch Conductor

Cast (Special)

Killers in the Water (2001)
Titanic (1994)
Titanic (1994)
Mother Love (1990)

Cast (Short)

Italy's in Season (1967)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Jackie Collins' Lucky Chances (1990)
The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (1988)
Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)
Henri Clerval

Life Events


Began acting career in English repertory theater


Signed a seven-year film contract with the Rank Organization


First notable British feature credits, "The Secret Place", "Robbery Under Arms", "Hell Drivers"


Played radio operator harold Bride in "A Night to Remember"


First US film, John Huston's "Freud"


Breakthrough feature supporting role, "The Great Escape"


Did memorable guest shots on the stylish sci-fi series "The Outer Limits" in the episodes "The Sixth Finger" and "The Forms of Things Unknown"


Featured as Judas Iscariot in George Stevens' "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (released 1965)


Prominently featured in "The Big T.N.T. Show", a concert film that included performances by Ike and Tina Turner, Joan Baez and Ray Charles; introduced acts and conducted the Ray Charles band


Guest-starred as Illya Kuryakin in "The Moonglow Affair", a TV special that served as the pilot for the spinoff "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E."


Co-wrote music and lyrics and sang title song for the feature "Three Bites of the Apple" (also starred)


Starred in "Teacher, Teacher", an acclaimed "Hallmark Hall of Fame" movie, as a teacher recovering from alcoholism


Directed "The Explorers: Charles Montague Doughty", a segment for BBC-TV's "Ten Who Dared"


Starred in the TV-movie pilot "The Invisible Man"


Reprised the role of Illya Kuriakin for the CBS TV-movie pilot "The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Ffifteen Years Later Affair"


Played a small but important supporting role in the Irish feature "Hear My Song"


Had recurring role as the scientist father of Lori Singer in "VR.5", a Fox sci-fi series


Appeared alongside Mary-Louise Parker in Off-Broadway production of Alan Ayckbourn's "Communicating Doors"


Had featured role of Emperor Joseph in the Broadway revival of "Amadeus"


Had a recurring role as Walter Thornhill in "The Education of Max Bickford" (CBS)


Cast as Dr. Donald 'Ducky' Mallard on "NCIS" (CBS)

Photo Collections

One of Our Spies is Missing - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills from MGM's One of Our Spies is Missing (1966), starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum from the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E..


Movie Clip

Night To Remember, A (1958) -- (Movie Clip) Mild Winter Up In The Arctic The Titanic’s first full day at sea, Captain Smith (Laurence Naismith) dining with Ismay (Frank Lawton), chairman of the line, Anthony Bushell captain of the neighboring Californian, Geoffrey Bayldon his wireless man, David McCallum delivering ice warnings, in A Night To Remember , 1958.
To Trap A Spy (1964) -- (Movie Clip) You Might Have Taken That Man Alive Joining a complex caper in which nameless espionage goons have penetrated a disguised Manhattan entrance to some modern agency, we see them nearly get past William Marshall (later known as “Blacula”) at the elevators, before they encounter Ilya (David McCallum), Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and their boss Allison (Will Kuluva), early in the sort-of TV pilot, then the delayed first feature film in the The Man From U.N.C.L.E. franchise, To Trap A Spy, 1966.
Billy Budd (1962) -- (Movie Clip) To Subdue All Things Committing the body of a sailor whose death was caused by the cruelty of one commander (Robert Ryan as Claggart), Peter Ustinov as Captain Vere officiates, also directing, from his co-written screenplay, Melvyn Douglas joining the liturgy as Dansker, Terence Stamp as the title character reflects, Victor Brooks and Thomas Heathcote his jaded colleagues, in Billy Budd from the Herman Melville novel.
Around The World Under The Sea (1966) -- (Movie Clip) I Thought We Were A Civilian Boat Scientists gather on the "Hydronaut," Volker (David McCallum), Stahl (Keenan Wynn), Mosby (Brian Kelly), Maggie (Shirley Eaton) legs first, and Standish (Lloyd Bridges), ready to save the world with an earthquake warning system, in the quasi-sci-fi Around The World Under The Sea, 1966.
Around The World Under The Sea -- (Movie Clip) You Looked So Efficient Volker (David McCallum) at the con, gets distracted while revealing his history with dishy fellow scientist Maggie (Shirley Eaton), shirtless Standish (Lloyd Bridges) and Mosby (Brian Kelly) to the rescue, in the sci-fi adventure oddity Around The World Under The Sea, 1966.
Great Escape, The (1963) -- (Movie Clip) All The Rotten Eggs Already established as “Big X,” the recently-apprehended chief of numerous major escapes, Brit officer Bartlett (Richard Attenborough) is received by Ramsey (James Donald), ranking officer at the new Nazi camp designed to hold known escape experts, in The Great Escape, 1963.
Sol Madrid (1968) -- (Movie Clip) Best Witness Since Joe Valachi David McCallum (title character) shown spy footage by the chief (Robert Rockwell) of his un-named U.S. agency, featuring Stacey (Stella Stevens), the runaway gal of Mafia don Villanova (Rip Torn), whom we join at a meeting, grilled by capo Riccione (Paul Lukas), early in Sol Madrid, 1968.
Sol Madrid (1968) -- (Movie Clip) Is He A Cop Too? Introducing Telly Savalas as inactive Acapulco trafficker Dietrich, chatting with visiting Fed David McCallum (title character), partly about Stacey (Stella Stevens), the runaway gang moll in his custody, before they meet his deep-cover fellow agent Jalisco (Ricardo Montalban), in Sol Madrid, 1968.


Great Escape, The - (Original Trailer) Thrown together by the Germans, a group of captive Allied troublemakers plot a daring prison breakout in The Great Escape (1963) starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough.
Billy Budd - (Original Trailer) Original trailer for Billy Budd, 1962, from the Herman Melville novel, starring Terence Stamp, Robert Ryan, and Peter Ustinov, who also produced and directed.
Greatest Story Ever Told, The - (Original Trailer) The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) is an epic re-telling of the life of Christ, directed by George Stevens and starring Max Von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Claude Rains and many more
Helicopter Spies, The - (Original Trailer) The Men from U.N.C.L.E. try to stop a band of would-be sorcerers from using a deadly weapon in The Helicopter Spies (1967).
Karate Killers, The - (Original Trailer) The men from U.N.C.L.E. fight off The Karate Killers (1967) to track down a secret formula that can turn sea water into gold.
One Spy Too Many - (Original Trailer) The Men from U.N.C.L.E. try to keep Rip Torn from conquering the world in One Spy Too Many (1965).
How to Steal the World - (Original Trailer) Secret agent Napoleon Solo fights to stop a top-secret plot to conquer the world in How to Steal the World (1968).
Sol Madrid - (Original Trailer) David McCallum is an undercover agent pursuing heroin smugglers in Sol Madrid (1968) co-starring Telly Savalas.
To Trap a Spy - (Original Trailer) The Men from U.N.C.L.E. try to stop the assassination of an African leader touring the U.S. in To Trap a Spy (1964).
Spy with My Face, The - (Original Trailer) Man from U.N.C.L.E. Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) battles his evil impersonator in The Spy with My Face (1965).
One of Our Spies is Missing - (Original Trailer) An enemy agent appeals to an aging British statesman with promises of a youth potion in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. adventure On of Our Spies is Missing (1966).


Paul McCallum
Mother, Jill Ireland.
Jason McCallum Bronson
Adopted son of McCallum and Jill Ireland; later adopted by Charles Bronson; died of a heroin overdose in 1989 at age 27.
Valentine McCallum
Guitarist. Mother, Jill Ireland.
Peter McCallum
Mother, Katherine Carpenter.
Sophie McCallum
Mother, Katherine Carpenter.


Jill Ireland
Actor, author. Married in 1957; divorced in 1967; remarried in 1968 to actor Charles Bronson, McCallum's "The Great Escape" (1963) co-star; died of breast cancer on May 18, 1990.
Katherine Carpenter
Interior designer, former model. Married in September 1967.