David McCallum Biography

David McCallum is a Scottish-American actor and musician. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about him.

Quick Facts

Birthday: September 19, 1933

Nationality: British, American, Scottish

Famous: Actors Novelists

Sun Sign: Virgo

Age: 85 Years, 85 Year Old Males

Also Known As: David Keith McCallum Jr.

Born Country: United Kingdom

Born in: Glasgow, Scotland

Famous as: Actor

Height: 1.70 m

Spouse/Ex-: Katherine Carpenter (m. 1967), Jill Ireland (m. 1957–1967)

father: David McCallum Sr.

mother: Dorothy Dorman

children: Jason McCallum, Paul McCallum, Peter McCallum, Sophie McCallum, Val McCallum

More Facts

education: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

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David McCallum is a Scottish-American actor and musician who achieved stardom early on in his career for portraying the Russian secret agent Illya Kuryakin on the television series 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' Decades later, he renewed his international recognition and popularity with his role of NCIS medical examiner Dr. Donald 'Ducky' Mallard on the television series 'NCIS'. His other notable television roles include Flight Lieutenant Simon Carter in 'Colditz', scientist Daniel Westin in 'The Invisible Man', inter-dimensional operative 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'. His film credits include 'Violent Playground', 'Robbery Under Arms', 'A Night to Remember', 'Freud: The Secret Passion', 'Billy Budd', 'The Great Escape' and 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'. He also recorded four albums during his early career. Most recently, he became an author with the crime novel 'Once a Crooked Man'.

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David McCallum
Childhood & Early Life
  • David McCallum was born on September 19, 1933 in Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland, to cellist Dorothy Dorman and orchestral violinist David McCallum Sr. He was the younger of two sons of his parents.
  • When he was only three year old, his father got the opportunity to play as concertmaster in the London Philharmonic Orchestra, following which the family moved to London. After the Second World War began, the family was evacuated back to Scotland where he lived with his mother at Gartocharn by Loch Lomond.
  • He attended University College School, a boys' independent school in Hampstead, London, which offered him a scholarship. He was encouraged by his parents to play the oboe in order to prepare for a career in music and recorded boy voices for the BBC radio repertory company in 1946.
  • At the age of 18, he was conscripted into the army and joined the 3rd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, which was seconded to the Royal West African Frontier Force. He was promoted to Lieutenant in March 1954.
  • During his late teenage years, before joining the army, he appeared in local amateur drama, including an open-air production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' with the Play and Pageant Union in which he played Oberon. After being relieved from his duties in the army, he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where he studied alongside Joan Collins.
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Acting Career
  • David McCallum became assistant stage manager of the Glyndebourne Opera Company in 1951 and in the later 1950s, appeared in small roles in a number of British films. His film debut was in an uncredited role in the film 'Ill Met By Moonlight' and his first acting role was portraying a doomed royal in 'Whom the Gods Love, Die Young'.
  • In the following years, he played a juvenile delinquent in 'Violent Playground' (1957), an outlaw in 'Robbery Under Arms', (1957) and the junior RMS Titanic radio operator Harold Bride in 'A Night to Remember' (1958). His debut in the American film industry was with the John Huston-directed biographical drama film 'Freud: The Secret Passion' (1962), which was followed by a role in Peter Ustinov's 'Billy Budd'.
  • He played the role of Lt. Cmdr. Eric Ashley-Pitt, a.k.a. 'Dispersal', in the American World War II epic film 'The Great Escape' (1963), which was created based on real events. In 1965, he portrayed Judas Iscariot in the American epic film 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'.
  • During the early 1960s, he guest-starred on several television shows, including two appearances each on 'The Outer Limits' and 'The Great Adventure'. His other guest appearances were in shows like 'Sir Francis Drake', 'The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters', 'Perry Mason' and 'Profiles in Courage'.
  • His breakthrough role was portraying the mysterious Russian agent Illya Kuryakin in the spy-fiction series 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.', which he played from 1964 to 1968. Originally conceived as a supporting role, his portrayal of the enigmatic character provided the perfect foil to Robert Vaughn's character, recognizing which the producers promoted him to a co-starring role.
  • The role of Illya Kuryakin, with his Beatle-style blond haircut, made him a sex symbol and a pop culture phenomenon even during the cold war era. He reprised the role in the feature-length films 'To Trap a Spy' (1964) and 'The Spy with My Face' (1965), as well as the 1983 TV movie, 'Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.'.
  • He went on to become a familiar face on British television and appeared on shows such as 'Colditz' (1972–74), 'Kidnapped' (1978), and 'Sapphire & Steel' (1979–82). However, his starring role in the U.S. version of 'The Invisible Man' (1975) was not well-received and the series was cancelled after one season.
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  • Throughout the next two decades, he appeared as the main cast in several television shows, including 'Mother Love' (1989), 'Trainer' (1991-92), 'VR-5’ (1995) and 'Team Knight Rider' (1997-98). He also narrated the acclaimed documentary 'Titanic: The Complete Story' (1994) and hosted the TV special 'Ancient Prophecies'.
  • The new century saw him in the role of Walter Thornhill in the drama series 'The Education of Max Bickford’ (2001-02). However, it is his portrayal of chief medical examiner Dr. Donald 'Ducky' Mallard in the CBS series 'NCIS' (2003-present) that went close to the popularity of Illya Kuryakin.
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Other Ventures
  • David McCallum collaborated with music producer David Axelrod and Capitol Records to release four albums: 'Music...A Part of Me' (1966), 'Music...A Bit More of Me' (1966), 'Music...It's Happening Now!' (1967), and 'McCallum' (1968). He published the crime novel 'Once a Crooked Man' in 2016 and is currently working on a second novel.
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Major Works
  • Portraying Illya Kuryakin in 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' and Dr. Donald 'Ducky' Mallard in 'NCIS' are two of the best works of David McCallum. The former elevated him to a status comparable to the Beatles, for which he received more fan letters than any other actor in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's history.
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Awards & Achievements
  • David McCallum received two 'Emmy Award' nominations and a 'Golden Globe' nomination for portraying Russian secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the television series 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' He received another 'Emmy' nomination for his role as Hamilton Cade in the episode 'Teacher, Teacher' from 'Hallmark Hall of Fame' (1969).
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • David McCallum married actress Jill Ireland, whom he had met on the sets of the film 'Hell Drivers', on May 11, 1957 in London. They together had three sons: Paul, Jason and Valentine (Val). Jason was the adopted child of the couple and died from an accidental drug overdose in 1989.
  • In 1963, during the filming of 'The Great Escape', he introduced his wife to his co-actor Charles Bronson, with whom she later left and got married in 1968.
  • He married Katherine Carpenter in 1967 and they together have a son, Peter, and a daughter, Sophie.
  • He received US citizenship in 1999 and supports Republican Party. He and his wife are involved with many charitable organizations that support the United States Marine Corps.
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Trivia
  • A black-and-white picture of David McCallum and his father from the mid-1960s was used during the episode 'The Meat Puzzle' in the second season of 'NCIS' in 2005.
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1. The Great Escape (1963)

  (History, Thriller, War, Drama, Adventure)

2. A Night to Remember (1958)

  (Drama, Biography, History)

3. Billy Budd (1962)

  (War, Adventure, Drama)

4. Karolina Rijecka (1961)

  (History)

5. Freud (1962)

  (Drama, Biography)

6. Hell Drivers (1957)

  (Crime, Drama, Thriller, Film-Noir)

7. The Long and the Short and the Tall (1961)

  (War, Drama)

8. Dangerous Youth (1957)

  (Comedy, Musical, Crime)

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How To Cite

Article Title
- David McCallum Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/david-mccallum-34975.php
Last Updated
- January 10, 2018

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