David McCallum, Star of Hit TV Series ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘NCIS,’ Dies at 90 

US actor David Mccallum poses, on June 10, 2009 during a photocall presenting the TV serie "Navy NCIS : Naval Criminal Investigative Service" at the 49th Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco. (AFP)
US actor David Mccallum poses, on June 10, 2009 during a photocall presenting the TV serie "Navy NCIS : Naval Criminal Investigative Service" at the 49th Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco. (AFP)
TT

David McCallum, Star of Hit TV Series ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘NCIS,’ Dies at 90 

US actor David Mccallum poses, on June 10, 2009 during a photocall presenting the TV serie "Navy NCIS : Naval Criminal Investigative Service" at the 49th Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco. (AFP)
US actor David Mccallum poses, on June 10, 2009 during a photocall presenting the TV serie "Navy NCIS : Naval Criminal Investigative Service" at the 49th Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco. (AFP)

Actor David McCallum, who became a teen heartthrob in the hit series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." in the 1960s and was the eccentric medical examiner in the popular "NCIS" 40 years later, has died. He was 90.

McCallum died Monday of natural causes surrounded by family at New York Presbyterian Hospital, CBS said in a statement.

"David was a gifted actor and author, and beloved by many around the world. He led an incredible life, and his legacy will forever live on through his family and the countless hours on film and television that will never go away," said a statement from CBS.

Scottish-born McCallum had been doing well appearing in such films "A Night to Remember" (about the Titanic), "The Great Escape" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (as Judas). But it was "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." that made the blond actor with the Beatlesque haircut a household name in the mid-'60s.

The success of the James Bond books and films had set off a chain reaction, with secret agents proliferating on both large and small screens. Indeed, Bond creator Ian Fleming contributed some ideas as "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." was being developed, according to Jon Heitland's "The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Book."

The show, which debuted in 1964, starred Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, an agent in a secretive, high-tech squad of crime fighters whose initials stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Despite the Cold War, the agency had an international staff, with McCallum as Illya Kuryakin, Solo’s Russian sidekick.

The role was relatively small at first, McCallum recalled, adding in a 1998 interview that "I’d never heard of the word ‘sidekick’ before."

The show drew mixed reviews but eventually caught on, particularly with teenage girls attracted by McCallum’s good looks and enigmatic, intellectual character. By 1965, Illya was a full partner to Vaughn’s character and both stars were mobbed during personal appearances.

The series lasted until 1968. Vaughn and McCallum reunited in 1983 for a nostalgic TV movie, "The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E.," in which the agents were lured out of retirement to save the world once more.

McCallum returned to television in 2003 in another series with an agency known by its initials — CBS’ "NCIS." He played Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, a bookish pathologist for the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, an agency handling crimes involving the Navy or the Marines. Mark Harmon played the NCIS boss.

Co-star Lauren Holly took to X, formerly Twitter, to mourn: "You were the kindest man. Thank you for being you." The previously announced 20th anniversary "NCIS" marathon on Monday night will now include an "in memoriam" card in remembrance of McCallum.

The series built an audience gradually, eventually reaching the roster of top 10 shows. McCallum, who lived in New York, stayed in a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica when "NCIS" was in production.

"He was a scholar and a gentleman, always gracious, a consummate professional, and never one to pass up a joke. From day one, it was an honor to work with him and he never let us down. He was, quite simply, a legend," said a statement from "NCIS" Executive Producers Steven D. Binder and David North.

McCallum’s work with "U.N.C.L.E." brought him two Emmy nominations, and he got a third as an educator struggling with alcoholism in a 1969 Hallmark Hall of Fame drama called "Teacher, Teacher."

In 1975, he had the title role in a short-lived science fiction series, "The Invisible Man," and from 1979 to 1982 he played Steel in a British science fiction series, "Sapphire and Steel." Over the years, he also appeared in guest shots in many TV shows, including "Murder, She Wrote" and "Sex and the City."

He appeared on Broadway in a 1968 comedy, "The Flip Side," and in a 1999 revival of "Amadeus" starring Michael Sheen and David Suchet. He also was in several off-Broadway productions.

Largely based in the US from the 1960s onward, McCallum was a longtime American citizen, telling The Associated Press in 2003 that "I have always loved the freedom of this country and everything it stands for. And I live here, and I like to vote here."

David Keith McCallum was born in Glasgow in 1933. His parents were musicians; his father, also named David, played violin, his mother played cello. When David was 3, the family moved to London, where David Sr. played with the London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic.

Young David attended the Royal Academy of Music where he learned the oboe. He decided he wasn’t good enough, so he turned to theater, studying briefly at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. But "I was a small, emaciated blond with a caved chest, so there weren’t an awful lot of parts for me," he commented in a Los Angeles Times interview in 2009.

After time out for military service, he returned to London and began getting work on live television and movies. In 1957 he appeared in "Robbery Under Arms," an adventure set in early Australia, with a rising actress, Jill Ireland. The couple married that same year.

In 1963, McCallum was part of the large cast of "The Great Escape" and he and his wife became friendly with Charles Bronson, also in the film. Ireland eventually fell in love with Bronson and she and McCallum divorced in 1967. She married Bronson in 1968.

"It all worked out fine," McCallum said in 2009, "because soon after that I got together with Katherine (Carpenter, a former model) and we’ve been very happily married for 42 years."

McCallum had three sons from his first marriage, Paul, Jason and Valentine, and a son and daughter from his second, Peter and Sophie. Jason died of an overdose.

"He was a true Renaissance man — he was fascinated by science and culture and would turn those passions into knowledge. For example, he was capable of conducting a symphony orchestra and (if needed) could actually perform an autopsy, based on his decades-long studies for his role on NCIS," Peter McCallum said in a statement.

In 2007, when he was working on "NCIS," McCallum told a reporter: "I’ve always felt the harder I work, the luckier I get. I believe in serendipitous things happening, but at the same time, dedicating yourself to what you do is the best way to get along in this life."



Venice Film Festival Lineup includes ‘Joker 2,’ Films with Pitt, Clooney, Jolie, More

The lineup for the 81st edition of the festival, unveiled early Tuesday, also includes new films starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Jude Law - The AP
The lineup for the 81st edition of the festival, unveiled early Tuesday, also includes new films starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Jude Law - The AP
TT

Venice Film Festival Lineup includes ‘Joker 2,’ Films with Pitt, Clooney, Jolie, More

The lineup for the 81st edition of the festival, unveiled early Tuesday, also includes new films starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Jude Law - The AP
The lineup for the 81st edition of the festival, unveiled early Tuesday, also includes new films starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Jude Law - The AP

Five years after “Joker” won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, filmmaker Todd Phillips is returning with the sequel. “Joker: Folie à Deux” will play in competition with 20 other titles, festival organizers said Tuesday.

The highly anticipated follow-up to the blockbuster comic book film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the mentally ill Arthur Fleck and Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn.

The lineup for the 81st edition of the festival, unveiled early Tuesday, also includes new films starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Jude Law, The AP reported.

Among the films playing alongside “Joker 2” in competition are Pablo Larraín's Maria Callas film “Maria,” starring Jolie; Walter Salles' “I'm Still Here"; the erotic thriller “Babygirl” starring Kidman and Harris Dickinson from filmmaker Halina Reijn; Luca Guadagnino’s William S. Burrough’s adaptation “Queer,” with Craig and Jason Schwartzman; and Pedro Almodóvar’s first English-language film, “The Room Next Door,” starring Julianne Moore and Tilda Swinton. Set in New England, the filmmaker has said it’s about an imperfect mother and a resentful daughter.

“The Order,” Justin Kurzel’s 80s-set crime thriller about the white supremacist group starring Law as an FBI agent, Nicholas Hoult and Jurnee Smollett, will also be in competition, as will Brady Corbet’s “The Brutalist,” with Adrien Brody, Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones and Joe Alwyn. Shot on 70mm, the 215-minute epic is about a Hungarian Auschwitz survivor who goes to the United States.

Pitt and Clooney will reunite in Jon Watts’ “Wolfs,” an adrenaline packed action-comedy about a few fixers that will screen out of competition.

Several interesting films playing in the horizons extra section include “September 5,” about the live television coverage of the Munich Olympics, starring Peter Sarsgaard; John Swab’s “King Ivory,” with Ben Foster and James Badge Dale; and Alex Ross Perry’s film about Stephen Malkmus’ California rock band Pavement.

Venice will also screen Peter Weir’s 2003 epic “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” in conjunction with his lifetime achievement award.

Seven episodes of Alfonso Cuarón’s psychological thriller series “Disclaimer” will also premiere at the festival. The AppleTV+ show is based on a novel about a documentary journalist and a secret she’s been keeping. It stars Cate Blanchett and Kevin Kline and will debut on the streamer in October.

Among the nonfiction titles playing out of competition are Kevin Macdonald and Sam Rice-Edwards’ “One to One: John & Yoko,” which reconstructs the New York years of the Beatle and his wife; Errol Morris’ “Separated,” about the separation of immigrant children from their parents in the US; Anastasia Trofimova’s “Russians at War”; Göran Hugo Olsson's “Israel Palestine on Swedish TV 1958-1989”; “Riefenstahl,” about the German propagandist; And another Beatles-focused doc, “The Things We Said Today,” a time capsule of their arrival in New York and first concert at Shea Stadium.

Last year’s festival took place amid the actors’ strike. Although some attended under interim agreements, like Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz for “Ferrari” and “Priscilla” stars Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, the festival was lacking its usual, consistent supply of star power. But its awards season influence remained strong: Seven Venice world premieres went on to get 24 Oscar nominations and five wins: Four for “Poor Things” and one for Wes Anderson’s “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.”

Venice is a significant launching ground for awards hopefuls and the first major stop of a busy fall film festival season, with Toronto, Telluride and the New York Film Festivals close behind.

The 81st edition kicks off on August 28, with the world premiere of Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.” All of the main cast, including Michael Keaton, are expected to grace the red carpet. The Venice Film Festival runs through Sept. 7.