Follow TV Tropes


Creator / David McCallum

Go To
U.N.C.L.E. or N.C.I.S. – You just gotta love this guy!

"It’s interesting because I’ve done a few shows in my life that are still... 'extant' I think is the word. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. seems to be absolutely timeless and go on forever. The Outer Limits is another show.... Sapphire and Steel falls into that. And I think it’s because there is that element of 'cult'."

David Keith McCallum (September 19, 1933 – September 25, 2023) was a Scottish-born actor, musician, forensic science expert and author whose career spanned more than six decades. Many of his acting roles were in "genre" films and television; a few of his more famous roles are frankly iconic. His most famous 20th century role was that of Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., but in the new millennium, he became equally or more well known as Dr Donald "Ducky" Mallard in NCIS.

Although his roles were many and varied (he worked on stage, television and films on at least three continents: Europe/UK, North America and Australasia), some common themes cropped up from time to time. He once (or twice) joked that his tombstone would read "Here lies Illya Kuryakin" and not only did he reprise the role for the Reunion Show of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the 80s, but also when he guest-starred on The A-Team later that decade the character he played was a thinly disguised parody of Illya. His character in Sapphire and Steel was in some ways a supernatural version, being a coldly efficient transdimensional agent. However, many of his earliest roles were as often-delinquent teenagers in 1950s British social realist dramas. Another theme would be World War II Allied POWs intent on escaping, which describes his characters in The Great Escape and Colditz. And he is one of only five actors to have appeared in both the 1960s and 1990s versions of The Outer Limits.

His musical exploits are less well known, but were also varied. (Both his parents were professional musicians.) He played oboe and guitar, sang, composed and was known to conduct the occasional orchestra. During the height of his fame with The Man from U.N.C.L.E., he wrote and played guitar on a duet he sang with Nancy Sinatra in one episode and also released four instrumental albums. His 1967 instrumental tune "The Edge" was famously sampled by Dr. Dre on his 2000 single "The Next Episode".

McCallum also wrote a novel, a crime thriller called Once a Crooked Man, which was published in January 2016.

McCallum died of natural causes in 2023, just six days after his ninetieth birthday.

Selected Works:


Video Example(s):


Emmys 2024 In Memoriam Montage

The Emmys say goodbye to those lost in 2023 to the sound of Charlie Puth and the theme from Friends

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ObituaryMontage

Media sources: