TV Guide 1/10/04

The man from N.C.I.S.

by Mary Murphy

For years, David McCallum was haunted by Illya Kuryakin. Now everything is just "Ducky"

David McCallum was flying from Los Angeles to New York when a fan approached him. McCallum braced himself for the usual question: "Hey, aren't you Illya Kuryakin?"

Instead, the fan called him "Ducky" -- after Donald "Ducky" Mallard, the idiosyncratic medical examiner he plays on Navy NCIS.

"I couldn't believe it," says McCallum, a spry 70. "For (nearly) 40 years, people have called me Illya Kuryakin every day of my life. Now, suddenly, I'm Ducky."

In the mid-1960's, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. made TV stars of McCallum and Robert Vaughn, and landed them on many a teen-magazine cover.

Since then, McCallum has had a steady -- if less frenzied -- career. He was acting in an off-Broadway play, making $200 a week, when he got the call to join Navy NCIS. Says McCallum: "To do what I love at my age and to get such a response is amazing."