Movie Life, May 1966
This is the David McCallum fans and co-workers see--serious, conscientious, businesslike. But there's another side to David. And when you turn the page, we're sure you'll be as surprised--and delighted--as we were to see
Of all the words David McCallum has committed to memory for his profession, the ones which re-enter his private conversations most are: "I am not what people think I am." The line is from the Profiles In Courage segment in which he portrayed John Adams.
What do people think David McCallum is? Exactly what his "carefully built image" says he is: earnest, introspective, cool--just what might be expected of someone with a strong Calvinist background, Presbyterian blood and a still Scottish spine. And for the most part David conforms to the image. When not working, he enjoys an exclusive circle of friends whom he quietly entertains with intimate dinner parties, stimulating conversation and vintage wine. All very sophisticated--all very much like the way Illya Kuryakin might conduct his personal affairs.
But isn't David also the kind of guy who hangs up a Dodger pennant in his dressing room and roots for the team incognito at the ballpark with a hot dog in one hand and paper cup of beer in the other? And doesn't this dour Scot with the self-effacing personality harbour a secret desire to throw lemon merengue pies in the faces of other people? Yes. Yes. And furthermore this starchy McCallum fellow can cope with a teleprompter running backwards as smoothly as Jack E. Leonard can handle a heckler. He did just that at the Emmy ceremonies last year. And last but not least, level-headed David will fall down laughing on the spot if you should flash a Laurel & Hardy flick within his eyeshot. So the David McCallum who insists he's "awfully tight inside" is also a man who knows who to loosen up--and cut up. However, he believes he cannot show this impish David McCallum to the public: "If an actor in private life is seen in sharp contrast to his carefully built image, his career can suffer."
Of all the words written by the 18th-century philosopher, Voltaire, the ones which come to mind most about David McCallum are: "I may disapprove of what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."