HomeEntertainment‘NCIS’ Star David McCallum Explained Why He Was ‘Starstruck’ by ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Guest Stars

‘NCIS’ Star David McCallum Explained Why He Was ‘Starstruck’ by ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Guest Stars

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Way before “NCIS” started, David McCallum was a TV star thanks to “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” It was a show with a litany of guest stars.

McCallum, who played Russian spy Illya Kuryakin opposite American spy Napoleon Solo [Robert Vaughn], was left “starstruck” when they appeared.

In a 2010 interview with The Scotsman, McCallum simply admits he was amazed to see them. Anyone in particular?

“All of them!” he laughs. “You know, I grew up going to the local Odeon [in Glasgow, Scotland]. If my father went, we sat in the two and sixpence upstairs. Otherwise, it was the one and three downstairs. I grew up watching all these wonderful old black-and-white movies.”

‘NCIS’ Star Remembers Meeting Stars That He Saw On Movie Screen As Child

McCallum then said he went to Hollywood to test for the role of Judas Iscariot in “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” He got the part in the 1965 film, directed by George Stevens.

While there, he “met Pat Boone and Roddy McDowall and John Wayne – suddenly you’re in among them all. That little boy that went to the Odeon never left me, so it’s constantly fascinating.”

Among the guest stars on “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” were Joan Crawford, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh, Jack Palance, Vincent Price, Julie London, Telly Savalas, Eleanor Parker, and Cesar Romero. That’s just a sampling, though, of the guest stars willing to appear with McCallum and Vaughn.

Now McCallum, who plays Donald “Ducky” Mallard on “NCIS,” became quite the superstar himself thanks to “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” His youthful looks kept young fans, mainly female fans, dialed in week after week. The show just lasted four seasons on NBC. It aired at the height of the Cold War between the United States and Russia.

So the little boy from Scotland had a chance to meet some of his silver screen heroes while being a main player on that show.

McCallum Takes His Role As ‘Ducky’ On TV Show Quite Seriously

When it comes to his role as “Ducky” on “NCIS,” McCallum takes it very seriously. You will find him doing an awful lot of research around pathology and how different bodies’ looks can mean this or that.

He gets so involved in the work for his role that McCallum has earned the nickname “Dr. Death” from his family. Yes, he loves reading about death. That might drive his family a bit nuts, but it’s all good with McCallum.

“I love this show because it gives me a chance to do what I was born to do in the best possible way,” he said in a 2013 interview with Buzzy Mag.

You can expect to see McCallum join Mark Harmon and Sean Murray, among others, back this fall when “NCIS” returns to the CBS lineup.