by Sandy Barron, From TV and MOVIE SCREEN
They are shooting The Tigers Are Coming - those two dashing desperadoes who've made television history this year in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and for the third time in the series, beautiful Jill Ireland, David McCallum's wife is playing his girl friend. They are marvelous together, the McCallums, both blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful and deeply in love - both intense individualists, and they have a way-out sense of humor they share with Vaughn.
Just before the cameras start to roll, David and Jill have a conference with Bob. They have decided that every time Jill is in danger from the menacing Thrush agents - instead of running to David, she should run to Bob! And that's exactly the way they play it. It's Bob she runs to, and Bob not only kisses her - he bends her back in the old-fashioned cinema embrace. At which point, the cameraman double crosses them and cuts before the backbend.
But what a week! Probably the most fun David and Bob have had, on a series where they have more fun than anyone. There's never a dull moment on the U.N.C.L.E. set. The other day when they were shooting The Yukon Affair, next to the last scene called for Bob to toss a harpoon tipped with dynamite at the sealed door of the igloo where they are imprisoned. It opens the door all right but sends both heroes to the hospital, where in the last scene, they are in bed, Bob's arm in a cast, his head bandaged, David's leg up in a cast and his head bandaged and an Eskimo girl comes to rub noses in fond farewell. But what happens is that when the Eskimo girl rubs David's nose, he suddenly leaps out of bed and gives chase. That wasn't in the script. That was just David's sense of humor again. Both his legs had really been under the coves, it was only a cast suspended above the bed. And no one laughs harder than Bob Vaughn who has an immense relish for wit, especially David's.
They like each other, these two, respect each other and enjoy working together, which is the more interesting because they are the two most different men who ever lived. U.N.C.L.E. has made them instant stars but what that means to them each personally is a very different thing. Bob is looking for exposure, because he is an intensely ambitious man who someday hopes for a career in politics and what better way to become familiar with forty million viewers? What better way to climb into the top money brackets of show business? And money is something a politician needs.
David's ambition is something very different. He and Jill sat down several years ago and agreed that they'd better come to America and that a television series would be great exposure. But if that exposure ever threatens them as a family... threatens their life together with their three small sons... David McCallum would walk out off the screen tomorrow. Nothing in the world is as important as his personal life, his growing life. While to Bob, with his eye on the governorship of California, eventually on the presidency of the United States... nothing could matter less than his personal life. He's keeping that intact. He doesn't get involved with people. He likes them, he has a great time with them, but he doesn't get involved. While David is involved totally.
What they have in absolute common is a love and respect for acting, serious acting, and they love U.N.C.L.E. because it is a spoof. But Bob uses acting as a tool, David uses it to keep exploring himself and the universe, he must constantly understand more about living. Their very different personalities, their very different goals, stem of course, from their very different beginnings.
Bobby was born in New York and into show business. His dad was radio actor Walter Vaughn, his mother a vivacious pretty young actress, Marcella Connor Gadel who was just getting a toehold on Broadway in such plays as Dracula when Bobby was born. When Bobby was nine months old, they sent him to his grandparents in Minneapolis, "Not," he says, "because I was unwanted but because their careers just didn't allow them enough time to raise me properly." A few years later the Vaughns were divorced and Bobby continued living with his grandparents. He remembers with pleasure the summer he was seven, working with his dad on the radio show The Sea Hawk and in summer stock. There were many vacations when he made it back to what he considered his world, to act with his dad on radio or with his mother in the theatre. His dad was a talented creative man who died young, leaving an estate of close to half million dollars. "All of which he'd earned," Bob reminds you. Eventually, he went to live with his mother and stepfather in Chicago, as a matter of fact, he sort of shuttled back and forth from Chicago to Minneapolis, preferring Chicago. "My stepfather was handsome, articulate and talented, I considered him an ideal father. Also, like my real father he died quite young."
Bob's inheritance from them both was his mother, who he brought out with him to California where he attended Los Angeles City College, but where he concentrated on dramatics with a view to Hollywood. Inherent and basic to his whole personality was a drive to become a top actor and to show his mother - prove to her, how good he could be. His additional inheritance was a fierce self discipline - something he was going to need to achieve his place in the sun.
He's got to be not just good but great, not just successful but tops. He's not really interested in his self, not half as much as in his image... his public image.
To the contrary, so far as David McCallum is concerned, he has no public image. Oh it's there... he is aware of his picture in the magazines, he is quite aware that he can no longer sit on the beach with Jill and his little boys... that he can't alight from a plane without being mobbed. When he recently picked up Jill's mother at Los Angeles International Airport he said, "things got a bit sticky." But he has never quite understood who he is in relation to that image "or what it's doing to you because you don't basically fit into it."
About the public image he couldn't care less. But then, David grew up in a safe secure household, he's never had to compensate for all a child feels he's never had. "Children who are brought up in a home that's secure, as mine certainly was, and have a normal childhood with normal parents where everything is provided... then when you leave home and go to school and start working you have a certain security... you know that certain values exist." Love, for example exists. And respect. And dedication. A family has meaning.
David was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the second son of David McCallum, then lead violinist with the London Philharmonic, now with Mantovani's famous orchestra. His mother, Dorothy, was a cellist, and for a while, it looked as if young David would augment the family musical group on the cello. But he'd always felt very warmly about acting, had appeared as a child on the BBC, "I suppose it was exhibitionism. Because I started so early, I can't tell you just why I did it, I just never did anything else and I wouldn't change it for the world."
On the other hand, "Neither Jill nor I are satisfied to let acting be the predominant force in our lives because pictures, the whole entertainment business as such, is very fast moving and has no great depth. It's not shallow, it's just in between. The fact is, you're concerned with vanity, and acting is somewhat false because you're acting out a truth that has no truth. It does in some parts of the theatre but working on the shallow level, you have to have something else more important. What matters is one's personal life. I don't think, for example, that male and female mean anything until they are married, and marriage means nothing until you become family. The basic unit of mankind. Morality, marriage, religion, it's all very much bound up with the same thing, it all boils down to a sort of faith... Sometimes Jill and I talk all night. Jill, like myself, is very much in pursuit of the mind. We think, we talk. We give a lot of time to the children..."
His sons: Paul, now seven, Jason 3, Valentine 2. David adores these boys, he spends time with them, he is sensitive and he brings this sensitivity to bear on understanding them. With Paul, of course, he is closest because of the boy's age. "Paul and I get on. He's a curious and wonderful person, so intellectually eager." He sends Paul postcards from every city and every hamlet. When out of town he saves stories to tell the boys, he spends the weekends out of doors with them. He doesn't take fatherhood lightly, avid, he is deeply concerned for the children and for any way in which his career affects them. Last year Paul attended a school where all the children had movie fathers and movie mothers. He didn't learn to get along somehow. This year he is in a public school where he's the only on who is an actor's son and he's getting along better. Because he's the son of a star, he is going to be waylaid and verbally trod upon but he will survive and grow strong. This is terribly important to David. He doesn't want to over-simplify life or make things too easy. His boys will be expected someday to grow up and earn their own livings, not be besieged with material things so that they lose all incentive. Above all, he doesn't want them overwhelmed by his personality.
I wish you could see him, stretched out on the grass with his kids. No effort, just together. No games, "Just ninety nine percent being together with the green grass lawn and the sun and toys and we do nothing all day and have tea in the afternoon and it's idyllic. This is basic, fundamental and enjoyable." He's not about to be one of the "vanishing American fathers." This is such an intrinsic part of him that you might say without children, there could be no McCallum. Fatherhood is basic and indigenous to his bones.
Bob Vaughn has never known what this means. He has no children, of course, but he is very close to a child named Tyler Barnes. Tyler is the son of Joyce Jameson whom Bobby has dated for nine years. Tyler was only two when Bobby came into their lives and they have become good friends. When he was very little, Bob would take him to the park. Now Tyler goes off with Bob and Joyce, to Palm Springs, to the mountains, to Disneyland, and the minute they get into the car, the two "men" start singing, joking, a steady line of patter. But Tyler is alert and he knows when Bobby is "available" and when he isn't.
This is not only something Tyler Barnes has had to learn - everyone who knows Bob must learn it. There are times when he's giving and times when he isn't and don't intrude on that. You don't go to his house uninvited. He lives in a lovely house now, a twelve room hilltop house that is a real show place, but don't drop in. As a matter of fact, you can't drop in, there are electric gates. But the main thing is that Bob wants his house shipshape, he doesn't want it messed up. He gives parties, but he invites all the people to Joyce's house where Joyce, who is a very discerning girl and who has been his love for nine years says, "The only thing I don't know about Bobby after all this time - I don't know what he cares about. That goes for politics too. Just once I would like to hear that he's doing something because he feels strongly that certain things should and must be done. I would say that after nine years, if I had a problem at midnight or on Sunday, the last person in the world I'd call would be Bob Vaughn. He might be in bed, he might be studying, he doesn't want your problems or troubles."
We talked about being married when we first met but I didn't want to get married then. I had just been divorced, I had this little boy, I wasn't eager to marry a struggling young actor, and his mother wasn't eager to have him marry me. From time to time, we'd think about it. Then we stopped thinking about it unless I brought it up. I thought the relationship wasn't progressing because we were not thinking about it, then Bobby would promise we'd get married. But I have never really wanted to marry Bobby and certainly not now when his dreams have drifted so far away, are so much more tangible than mine. I'm not power-minded, ambitious or famous. I'm a private person. I'm not putting him down but I think his values are centered about himself. What do they call a person who always has time for the masses and doesn't have time for his family? That's kind of the way I see Bobby. He's not a warm person and I don't think he cares."
Bobby's dated Joyce for nine years and the question of marriage still hangs in the air. David dated Jill for one week. Their first date was on a Monday night, he took her to Old Vic. Tuesday she cooked scrambled eggs for him. Saturday morning at ten o'clock, they were married at the Islington Registry office. It was totally impulsive, typically David McCallum and one thing Jill Ireland certainly knew - whatever life had in store for them, this intense young Scot, cared. It was an absolutely clandestine marriage because they were working together in a picture, Robbery Under Arms and if one word had leaked out, the studio would have made the wedding a publicity field day. So they were married first, and then, as quickly as possible, told their parents. Jill was scheduled for a p.a. tour that afternoon at her hometown, Hounslow. She phoned her mother.
"Mother, I'm married."
"Why?" cried her mother. "Oh Jill, this is the worst thing you could do to me, what is father going to say?"
They have laughed about it recently. Mrs. Ireland is here visiting and she was reminiscing how they had arrived at the Ireland's that day, David looking really bleak on account of "father", and Mrs. Ireland serving them apple pie and tea. She'd never met David before but she liked him on sight. It's hard not to like him on sight because he's such a warm intense man and she knew one thing as Jill did, he cared.