Modern Screen September 1966

David McCallum’s Young Sweetheart Tells All
Heidi P.C. Carmel

David McCallum is notoriously sensitive about having his personal life publicly exposed so it’s no wonder that his new romance was kept secret. By now, everyone knows the details of his separation from his wife, Jill Ireland. They know that Jill flew to London to be with David’s close friend, actor Charles Bronson—after she claimed she was unable to go to Rome with David, where he was filming Three Bites of the Apple. But until now, no one knew that David had a mystery sweetheart, a girl he succeeded in hiding from the world.

She is Katherine Carpenter, a beautiful, 21-year-old high fashion model. Quite by accident, Modern Screen discovered that Katherine was in the Dell offices talking to the editors of Ingénue magazine. We persuaded her to come to the Modern Screen office and talk to us. It’s easy to see why Katherine is a successful model. She’s tall and very slender, and she moves with the natural grace and litheness of a tigress. A mane of tousled brown hair cascades around her shoulders and liquid dark eyes look out from under a thick fringe of bangs. Katherine’s eyes are huge and brooding, the kind of eyes that haunt a man’s dreams. She was dressed in the latest “mod” style with bell-bottom hiphuggers, poor-boy sweater, and large black leather belt. A pair of black round-rimmed sunglasses perched on the top of her head, and a small clutchbag was in her hand. She is definitely the kind of girl men and women turn around in the street to stare at admiringly.

Katherine had never been interviewed before, She kept clutching her hands together and nervously brushing the hair from her eyes. She was extremely reluctant to talk about details of her relationship with David McCallum, but at the same time she wanted to cooperate with Modern Screen.

“I’ve known David for one year,” she said in a soft, melodious voice which held a slight accent reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy’s. They met quite innocently when a major fashion magazine did a layout featuring the two stars of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Katherine was chosen to be the model. At that time Katherine had never even heard of either David McCallum or Robert Vaughn.

“When I first met David, I didn’t think of him as a star or a famous person. He was just David to me. I’m glad it happened that way.”

She and David were attracted to each other (on a friendship basis) because they have so much in common. Both are quiet and shy, with a rather serious outlook on life. They share a cultured background: David’s father is a concert violinist in London, and Katherine’s father left a prosperous career on Wall Street to become a playwright. Katherine herself studied art at Sarah Lawrence College. (It was while she was attending Sarah Lawrence that Katherine was first exposed to modeling. Vogue magazine did a feature on campus and—wanting to use a student as a model—they chose Katherine.) She had never thought of modeling before, but once she tried it, she was hooked. “I love being a model,” she exclaimed.

David and Katherine both are determined to do their best in their chosen fields. Although their occupations make a private life difficult—if not impossible—to maintain, Katherine and David value privacy about all else. This is the main reason for Katherine’s reluctance to discuss David, as well as for her refusal to give information to any other magazine.

During the interview Katherine said it surprised her at first when people showed so much interest in the fact that she was seeing David McCallum. Now, however, she realizes that a star of David’s stature and appeal is bound to be followed by the press, and she is gradually becoming resigned to this hard fact.

David and Katherine’s friendship continued as time went on , and Katherine even became friends with Jill Ireland. “I visited David and Jill in California when I was working there,” she said, “but David and I never went out together publicly until after he had announced his separation from Jill.” She emphasized this, since she is not the kind of girl who would wreck another woman’s marriage.

The British press first rumored the romance of David McCallum and Katherine Carpenter when they were seen together in Rome. David was already there making Three Bites of the Apple, and Katherine was sent to do a fashion layout. According to the stories, David met Katherine at the Rome Airport where she arrived, and later they took a trip to Copenhagen together. Both facts are entirely untrue. “I don’t understand how people can just make up false stories,” she said, slowly shaking her head, “when there is no basis whatsoever for them.”

In Rome they were together whenever their busy scheduled permitted. No matter what they were doing, they found pleasure in each other’s company. “We always have a good time together,” Katherine said. Katherine saw some rushes of David’s picture and commented, “It’s very strange to see David on the screen. I don’t like it. It’s as though it’s not really the David I know—just someone who reminds me of him. It’s quite a shock.”

Their happiness at being together in the Eternal City was marred, however, by rude intrusions from the public. They were followed constantly by the paparazzi, and at one point they were forced to flee down twisting streets to escape the cameras. Katherine admitted that this was a jarring experience for her. Her life revolves around posing in front of cameras whenever the occasion arises—and not she was hiding from them!

When they finished work in Rome, Katherine and David—again contrary to rumor—left separately. She flew to New York to continue modeling, he went to Los Angeles to begin a new season on the U.N.C.L.E. series. Right now Katherine and David are busy working on opposite coasts, but undoubtedly Katherine will be going to California soon to visit him. “David is so busy working on U.N.C.L.E.,” Katherine said wistfully, “that it’s hard to make definite plans. But as soon as both of us are free, of course we’ll see each other.”

David McCallum and Katherine Carpenter are two sincere persons who have seen the world they work and live in destroy the happiness of others, and they are wary of what lies ahead for them. They wish to preserve the beauty and love they have found in each other. They want a chance to let their feelings grow naturally—perhaps into a permanent union.