Monday, May 20, 2024

RIP David McCallum, 90, Suave Illya Kuryakin from “The Man from UNCLE” and Ducky from “NCIS”


David McCallum has died at age 90. The beloved actor is known to a couple of generations show as Duckie from “NCIS.” But to us more mature folks McCallum will always be the suave international spy Illya Kuryakin from “The Man from UNCLE.” He and Robert Vaughn, as Napoleon Solo, were the TV James Bonds of the 60s.

Their show was so incredibly popular that it led to a parody comedy, “Get Smart,” from Mel Brooks and Buck Henry.

McCallum had a long movie and theater career, as well. He was also accomplished musician. And believe it or not, he was involved in a Hollywood tabloid scandal. He was married to actress Jill Ireland, whom he met in England and came to the US with. She even guest starred in The Man from UNCLE. But when he introduced her to actor Charles Bronson, Ireland left him and married Bronson. It was a big scandal at the time.

McCallum, of course, happily remarried, had a son and daughter with his second wife. He had few film roles in the 1980s, but hit gold when he was signed to play Ducky on “NCIS.” He started in 2003 and was still signed to the show this year. He also performed in three Broadway productions. He got a Drama Desk nomination in 1984

But David McCallum will always be associated with The Man from UNCLE. He will never be forgotten for his suave, cool performance.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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