After his time serving in the British Army, David McCallum headed to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. According to The Scotsman, while he was at RADA, he got involved with both acting and stage managing. “It was interesting, and I was there with Joan Collins, but it seemed a little silly in some ways compared to just doing the job,” McCallum recalled to the Daily Mail. “I started in repertory theatre as soon as I left.” He told the Mirror that he and Joan Collins also happened to be in the same fencing class. “She wasn’t that good a fencer but, boy, she looked good,” he quipped.
Looking back at his time as a stage manager, McCallum told the Television Academy Foundation that he had actually been tipped off about the job opportunity at the theater before he started his stint in the military. He looked forward to working with the theater the entire time he was away, and he jumped on the gig as soon as he was back. “After World War II, every young man who was an actor or who wanted to be an actor came back and flooded the repertory theaters,” he recalled. In addition to doing electrical work behind the scenes, McCallum also took whatever odd roles that might’ve popped up. “If there’s a delivery man who brings something, you get the part,” he said.