‘NCIS’: Why David McCallum Said He Was the ‘Male Farrah Fawcett’ of the 1960s

by Jacklyn Krol

Why did David McCallum compare himself to Farrah Fawcett?

The NCIS star is a television legend who has been in the entertainment business for roughly 70 years. He took on iconic roles, and during the 1960s he gained notoriety for some historic characters. You may recognize him as Judas Iscariot in The Greatest Story Ever Told. Following the British release in 1961, he decided to move to the United States.

While in America, he managed to secure the role of Illya Kuryakin, from The Man from UNCLE series. The show gained international acclaim and it quickly skyrocketed him to fame.

“I was the male Farrah Fawcett Majors of the 60s,” he told the Radio Times. There was one instance where he was mobbed in Central Park where police had to rescue him. Another time, a hoard of Louisiana State University students swarmed him and he had to be aided by the police. While out for a trip to Macy’s, two floors were ransacked while fans were attempting to meet him.

“Then when the series finished, it all died off,” he explained. “Other series followed and a demonstration of how he is viewed by different generations occurred when he was walking down the street in New York and was spotted by a man and his three sons. One said, ‘There’s Illya Kuryakin’; another said, ‘No, it’s the Invisible Man’ and the third said ‘It’s Steel [from Sapphire and Steel].’

David McCallum’s Nickname

David McCallum has an unusual nickname, Dr. Death. He portrays medical examiner and pathologist Donald “Ducky” Mallard on NCIS. McCallum wanted to be authentic as possible, so he enlisted the help of a coroner. He not only got to watch autopsies, he even participated in some.

“You can’t play a pathologist for ten years and talk about pathology without knowing what you are doing,” McCallum told Radio Times. “I got in touch with the Los Angeles coroner and he allowed me to watch through the glass as he conducted autopsies. Then after a couple of years of watching, the coroner made it possible for me to come the other side of the glass and work with a pathologist and do a full autopsy.”

His family nicknamed him Dr. Death after his admiration for pathology and autopsies translated into his real life.

“I watched every detail and I saw exactly how the human body works,” he added. “It’s quite miraculous; it was one of the most exciting days of my life.”