The blonde Scotsman recently completed shooting the role of villain Maurice Vermeil on the CBS daytime serial "As The World Turns". Currently he is playing at the Manhattan Theater Club in "The Phillanthropist."
"I've always wanted to do a soap," McCallum said during an interview. "Partly because I have an ego that says I like pressure. But also, it gives you instant exposure. Exposure is so important."
"I went to England for four years (while he worked on a TV series) and everyone here thought I was dead," McCallum said.
The actor said that when he had a birthday recently, he received a call from a friend in London. "She told me that the newspapers had reported that I was fifty and people were going around in a state of shock."
The soap segments McCallum appeared in were taped en route to Bermuda aboard the luxury liner M.V. Atlantic. It sounds like a great way to make one's debut on a 28-year-old daytime serial.
"I've always wanted to take a cruise," McCallum said, "but never did because I didn't know if I was a cruise person. I still don't. I spent 20 hours a day working in the bowels of the ship."
He marveled at the stamina of the young cast. "They'd wrap up at 2 am and be up at 7, looking terrific," he said. "Me, it takes a little longer for everything to fall into place."
No matter if it's prime time, daytime, stage or film, McCallum said he never looks down his nose at work. He recalls that in 1980 he only worked one week in the whole year. He and his wife, Katherine, an interior decorator, built a house in Lawrence, N.Y.. "We had a lot of time together," he said. "I did the wallpapering------once a stage manager, always a stage manager."
He also enjoyed all the time he had to spend with his two children, Peter, 12, and Sophie, 6, both of whom are in the children's chorus at the Metropolitan Opera.
"The whole concept of being an actor is that you don't know what's happening to you next," he said. "That's what makes it exciting.