Long before he was playing Ducky, McCallum was one of the leads on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., a show that ran for four seasons and more than 100 episodes in the 1960s. McCallum played Illya Kuryakin, a Russian agent who captured attention in part because audiences knew so little about him. McCallum worked with Robert Vaughn, the show’s other lead, and spoke fondly of his time on the show when Vaughn died in 2016.
In the decades between his work on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and his decision to take on the role of Ducky, McCallum worked steadily in both TV and film. He became an icon at a young age, and fortunately, he knew how to leverage that status into steady work as an actor. Even decades after his initial success, McCallum is still willing to do the work to make his characters believable. At least in the case of Ducky, his immersive preparation seems to have paid off.