David McCallum, who personified cool as Illya Kuryakin "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," a TV series inspired by the James Bond film series (and created in part by Bond author Ian Fleming), and four decades later was cast as a medical examiner in "NCIS," a show in which he performed for 20 seasons, has passed away. He was 90.
- KC's View:
Younger folks (probably meaning anyone younger than 55) may have no idea how popular McCallum was during the mid-60s. His Kuryakin was both the epitome of cool and a teen idol of sorts (his blond Beatles haircut and dark turtleneck sweaters distinguished him from co-star Robert Vaughn), and McCallum was mobbed when he did public appearances.
McCallum is one of those people who had enormous cultural import decades ago, at a time when there was no social media to propel them to the forefront of the world's consciousness. At a certain point, they recede into memory and have more conventional careers (it was unusual that someone like McCallum then would end up spending two decades on one of television's top scripted series), but I think it is noteworthy when people - through luck, talent, imagination (and the work of some savvy press agents) - manage to capture the popular imagination the way McCallum did.