U.N.C.L.E. the Show
Background and History
Contributors Behind the Scene
Episode Guide
The Return Movie
The Characters
The Gadgets
The Soundtrack
Print Tie-ins
TV Schedule
Other Resources

Buying and Collecting U.N.C.L.E.
Vintage Collectibles
Videos / Laser Discs
Where to Buy

U.N.C.L.E. Fan Fiction
In Print
Spotlight on Authors

Interact with Other Fans
Media Conventions
Mailing Lists
Fan Clubs

U.N.C.LE. in Retrospect

Other U.N.C.LE. Websites

Fun Stuff

Back Home

Email Webmaster




Quintessential Illya

DAVID MCCALLUM began his career at the age of ten or so doing character voices on the radio, having been bitten by the showbiz bug at a tender age. He dutifully played the oboe and French horn to please his musician parents, but it gradually became apparent that his future would be better served in the wilds of RADA (where he enjoyed fencing lessons with future UNCLE guest star Joan Collins.) After a brief stint in the Army, he spent some time toiling in English rep theater working properties and electric, among other various production jobs. His James Dean themed photo was
McCallum in 1950's

The British James Dean

finally picked up by the Rank Organization, and he began a series of juvenile roles that cast him as a delinquent, a nebbish, or a somebody's younger brother. This allowed him to gradually move up into bigger, better films and characterizations of mental deviant, soldier/sailor, or nice young man. He might have continued dwelling the in comfortable, if not exactly exciting, domain of character bits in prestigious films (The Great Escape, Freud, Billy Budd, etc.), but the liberal social policies of England, an actor's strike, and his own ambitious nature drove him to seek his fortune in conservative America.

After some more character parts on network television (Outer Limits, Perry Mason, Profiles in Courage, etc.), he managed to schmooze his way into the MGM commissary at the right time, and was offered the role of Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin. Originally only marginally conceived as Solo's Russian sidekick with a collection of jazz records hidden under the bed, McCallum seized the opportunity to turn that very lack of specifics into an enigmatic foreigner with a vague accent about whom no assumptions could be made. Despite the sketchy outline of the character, McCallum made the most of him, and had great success with the teenage fans of the show, as well as college students, middle-aged housewives, and the television community in general --- he received two Emmy nominations for the role. Beatle-like adulation haunted him for several years. He continued in films (some not quite so prestigious) and starred in the Sapphire and Steel and Colitz series in the UK, and The Invisible Man and VR5 in America. Most currently he stars in the CBS television series NCIS. He remains active in the theater, television, audiobooks, and movies in New York, where he resides with wife and family.
-by Ellen Druda

McCallum in 1998

McCallum in 1998

The Internet Movie Database

Fan Websites:
David McCallum Fans Online

Monthly Television Appearance Schedule: Compliments of TV-NOW
TV-NOW provides a monthly schedule for McCallum's appearances on television. Note, however, that it does not cover local stations. If you want that information also, go to the search engine at TV GUIDE or ClickTV or another online television schedule. Some of these sites may require registration.

Back to ACTORS Index Page