Home / Entertainment / David McCallum, spy in ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ dies at 90

David McCallum, spy in ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ dies at 90

David McCallum, the British-born actor who broke hearts in 1960s cult show “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” has died at age 90, US media reported Monday.

McCallum, who was known to modern-day audiences for his role as a medical examiner in “NCIS,” was surrounded by family at a New York hospital, CBS said.

“He was the kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father. He always put family before self,” son Peter McCallum said, according to the network.

“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.”

After training at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, McCallum appeared alongside an all-star cast in the epic 1963 war flick “The Great Escape,” with luminaries who included Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and Donald Pleasence.

But it was his casting the following year as enigmatic Russian agent Illya Kuryakin in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” opposite Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo that cemented his fame.

With a luxuriant mop of blond hair and turtleneck sweaters, McCallum was a Beatles-era heartthrob who, the New York Times reported, was mobbed by students in Louisiana in 1965.
The show lasted only four years, but the character followed McCallum for life.

“It’s been 30 years, but I can’t escape him,” he told The New York Times in 1998. “Illya Kuryakin is there 24 hours a day.”