- Category : 1918-births
- Type : PE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (22,35)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Eden 1
Australian theatre and film actor, highly successful in Britain. He was also a television producer.
The son of a Scottish-born theatre owner father and English-born actress mother, McCallum Jr. was born during the opening night of a comedy performance. McCallum and his two younger brothers received their primary school education in England, the family returned to Australia once the Great Depression started.
His early theatrical training was with Barbara Sisely at the Brisbane Repertory Company. He later did two years at RADA in London under Kenneth Barnes and his sisters Violet and Irene Vanburgh.
McCallum returned to Australia to join the AIF for the duration of World War II, in which he served in New Guinea. After the war there were limited theatrical choices in Australia, so McCallum returned to England where he soon went back into films; he had already appeared in two films before returning to Australia: Heritage (1935) and Held for Ransom (1938).
McCallum became a leading man in Australian films of the 1940s and 1950s. In 1948 he married the British actress Googie Withers, with whom he appeared in a large number of films. They made their home in Australia from 1958.
McCallum also wrote, directed and produced numerous films and television series, particularly the international TV series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (1966–68) which he co-produced with Lee Robinson. Television series he produced in the 1970s include Boney, Barrier Reef and Shannon's Mob. McCallum also widely acted on the stage. A particular favourite role was in The Circle by W. Somerset Maugham. In this production he acted alongside Googie Withers in the U.K. as well as in Australia.
His contribution to the Australian performing arts is considerable and, in 1971, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 1992, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). Both honours were made for services to drama and theatre.
John McCallum died in Sydney on 3 February 2010 at the age of 91. He had been suffering from leukemia.