McCallum and Vaughn jokingly grapple over possession of the Golden Globe awarded to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in 1966. Despite both stars' assurances to the contrary, rumors of a "feud" between them have persisted for decades.
By Lee Pfeiffer
During the heyday of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. the press had a field day reporting that the show's stars Robert Vaughn and David McCallum were locked in a bitter feud. In fact, both men got along famously. They rarely socialized, however, because Vaughn was one of Hollywood's swinging bachelors and McCallum had a wife and kids. At the end of a long day's work, Vaughn would take in the night life, while McCallum spent time with his family. Yet, the rumors still persist. The National Enquirer is spinning McCallum's reluctance to use his long-running hit show NCIS as a platform to reunite with Vaughn as evidence of bitter feelings toward his former co-star. Apparently, many NCIS viewers have been pushing to have Vaughn guest-star in an episode and McCallum's reluctance to agree to the reunion is reigniting old rumors about a feud.
Reached by Cinema Retro for comment, McCallum confirmed that he has always tried to keep the U.N.C.L.E. series separate from his other endeavors but it has nothing to do with his personal affection for Vaughn. He said that Vaughn fully understands his feelings and knows that any hint of a slight in his direction is a "total fabrication". In fact, McCallum did reunite with Vaughn for the 1983 TV movie Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. His respect for Vaughn also led him to co-star with him in a 1980s episode of The A Team, in which both actors were cast as Cold War adversaries.
A couple of years ago, I hosted a dinner for Vaughn at the Players club in New York, where we are both members. I invited McCallum to attend, but it seemed more like a Mission:Impossible scenario than anything related to U.N.C.L.E. McCallum said he was filming at the time and he doubted he would be able to show up. Vaughn said he probably wouldn't attend anyway because McCallum tends to loathe black tie events. Lo and behold, however, McCallum did adjust his schedule and showed up as a surprise guest, much to the delight of everyone. Vaughn was very moved -especially when David addressed the crowd and expressed his great respect for his former co-star in a wonderful and moving speech. So if there is a "feud", this is a pretty strange way of carrying it out. For more click here
(For Cinema Retro's coverage of the Vaughn dinner click here)