Daily Express Saturday Magazine 4/28/2007
Whatever happened to... ?
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'s David McCallum
Scottish-born David McCallum became a 60s sex symbol when he played Russian agent Illya Kuryakin opposite Robert Vaughn in iconic spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. Now 7, the father of four divides his time between the New York home he shares with his second wife, Katherine Carpenter, and LA, where he films the TV series NCIS
People remember me as the Glasgow boy who went to Hollywood and made good. I hit gold in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. because my part originally wasn't that big, but the producers saw the chemistry between me and Robert Vaughn and began to write me in more. I don't know what it was about my character, Illya Kuryakin. The audience just took to him. It must have been his tortured soul - the ladies just wanted to save him.
Robert and I were mobbed by female fans, but the hero status never went to my head. There have been too many times in my life when my name has been up in lights, then I'd spend the next six monthsout of work.
Thanks to U.N.C.L.E., I met my second wife. I first saw Katherine's picture on the cover of Glamour magazine - she was a fashion model and had an extraordinary face, beautiful eyes and dark hair. We finally met in 1965, when Robert and I did a series of pictures for Glamour. There were two girls there. One was Katherine, who was sitting in make-up. The minute I walked in that door I fell in love. We corresponded taht year and we've kept all the letters. Around that time, I went through a divorce. While I was making The Great Escape, my first wife, Jill [Ireland, the late actress] met my co-star Charles Bronson and eventually married him. Katherine and I got married in 1967.
After The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ended in 1968, my career in acting continued steadily through the years. I appeared in TV shows, The Invisible Man in the 70s and later Sapphire And Steel, which ran until 1982. Even now, I'm still acting and I've paid the bills, which is quite an accomplishment. But to be back on prime-time television with a wonderful part in a great show like NCIS (Navy Criminal Investigative Service) is extraordinary.I play medical examiner Dr. Donald 'Ducky' Mallard and I'm loving every minute. I feel very lucky to have two huge hit shows in one lifetime.
I spend 10 months here in LA and two months back in New York, where my wife Katherine runs the oldest interior design firm in the country, McMillen. I try to go home on a weekend so that we can be together. On September 16, we'll have been married for 40 years. We've planned a wonderful celebration at the Colony Club in New York. What's the secret? I've always said try to find out what the other person wants and make sure they get it. You cannot bring any form of selfishness to a marriage; it doesn't work.
I still have fans from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. days. There are still all those lunatics out there - and I say that with great endearment - who write and send me pictures to sign. And I'm still in touch with Robert. I talked to him the other day and he wanted to meet when he was in LA filming Hustle but I was in New York, unfortunately. He's doing really well. I think they're doing another series of his show but I have no plans to appear in it - we've never done that and never will. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was good for its time and has built my house, paid my rent, and put my kids through school but that time has gone. The secret of a long career is to do lots of different things, not repeat the same old roles.