Back when girls of my generation were swooning over those upstart musicians from England known as the Beatles, I couldn't have cared less. My heart was given to David McCallum.

The show was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and I did my best to catch it on television every week. (Remember, in those days if you missed a show, it was gone forever—unless you managed to find it in summer reruns.) McCallum's character, Illya Kuryakin, easily upstaged the show's main character, Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn). I wasn't the only one; as Kuryakin, McCallum received more fan mail than any star in MGM's history.

I didn't write fan letters, and I didn't scream and swoon. What I did was buy and treasure his music. David McCallum was the son of musicians, and a classically-trained musician himself. I still have this record: Music: A Part of Me. McCallum plays the oboe on this excerpt, which he also composed.

I don't remember when we started watching the TV show N.C.I.S., though it was after it had already been on air a number of years—we eventually caught up via Netflix. Porter was the initiator, and I steadfastly resisted—until David McCallum, as the character Donald ("Ducky") Mallard, drew me in. Yep, he was still fascinating, 50 years later. Here's one of my favorite scenes:

I confess we stopped watching N.C.I.S. a few years ago, so the departure of Ducky from the show has less impact for me. He was the last-remaining member of the original cast, and although his role had been reduced for quite a while, at age 90 he was still planning to continue on with the work he loved so well.

As we say in the Episcopal Church, 

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at 9:17 am | Edit
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