Nancy Roman

When Heartthrobs Need Pacemakers

In September of 1964, my heart did a pitty-pat.

Oh sure, I had been swooning over The Beatles for six months already, but I loved them in that screaming little girl sort of way.

My September crush was a grown-up love for a sexy man. I was thirteen. And in love with Illya Kuryakin.

Illya was the quiet adorable spy in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E”.  Oh he was so cute with his shaggy blond hair and his black turtlenecks.

In case you don’t recognize him after forty-eight years, this is David McCallum.

If you watch any TV at all, you can see him about seven times a day on all the airings of “NCIS”.

Yup, it’s Dr ‘Ducky’ Mallard.

My first love is an old man. I personally think he still looks pretty good – but my beloved Illya is now 78 years old.


That is simply the shittiest fact I have learned all year.

“NCIS” is actually Grand Central Station for my heatthrobs in their senior years.

First, of course, there’s Mark Harmon. My age exactly (well, six months younger), he’s still extraordinarily sexy – if you overlook the stupid haircut. I think he might actually be trying to prove that stupid hair is not necessarily a barrier to sex. (Or a stupid name.) What I especially like about Harmon’s character on this mediocre show is that he’s had many lady friends over the years – but no young chicks. He dates women his own age. Jamie Lee Curtis is his latest flame. Quite refreshing.

Then there’s Robert Wagner, who has an occasional appearance as Tony DiNozzo Sr. Wagner is 82 now, and I thought he was pretty suave in “It Takes A Thief” in 1968. He still plays the suave ladykiller. And he pulls it off, I might add (smugly).

But it’s still a shock to realize my movie star crushes are all old men now.

Take Malcolm McDowell. When he played H.G. Wells in “Time After Time” in 1979, I was so charmed, I was ready to name my first-born Herbert. (But not Malcolm. Malcolm sat next to me in third grade and he had little sweaty boy stink.) Back to handsome Malcolm: Now he’s 69 and plays evil geniuses on TV.  His hair -what there is of it – is completely white.

My favorite Hollywood sweetheart from the seventies is now in his seventies – 77 to be exact. Donald Sutherland’s sensitive mouth and almost-lisp made me swoon all through “Klute”.

Twelve years ago on a business trip to Santa Monica, I shared an elevator with him. He still made me swoon.

My co-workers said, “Huh?”

And that voice!  That’s him doing the voice-over in the sensuous ‘Simply Orange’  commercials.

This week I overheard some young girls talking about Keifer Sutherland. They said he was very hot for an old man.

Old Man?

I’m still hot for HIS old man!

Orange juice crush.


  1. I had a crush on Illya from the Man From Uncle, too!

    • Glad to know someone else who was born back then…

      • Ohmygosh, me too!! LOVED him…and still do.

  2. Yes, it was a shock when I realized the Karate Kid was 50. Fifty! He was the love of my pre-teen life.

    • Fifty is scary. Seventy is just plain weird!

  3. I too have shared these reality checks… so sad…

  4. Love the title of this post! And it’s always scary to hear the current age of some of our heartthrobs…s.c.a.r.y.

  5. Oh so true. Some of mine are dead — Steve McQueen (yum!), Elvis (swoon), Michael Landon (groovy!). I thought I was the only one who hated Harmon’s GI haircut! Oh yes, to top it all off the edgy music of my youth is now elevator music!

    • Ah, Steve McQueen.. I love his bad-boy grin.

  6. I only ever had two crushes, isn’t that odd?

    Omar Sharif – Dr Zhivago, oh still love this movie! Still love the music of this move.
    Sean Connery – Still love him, don’t care that he will be 82 this August! He has aged very well, like a great Scotch.

    (Omar, not so well. To much time in the sun I suspect).

    I always did like older men, until I got older that is.

    • And both had great voices. I am very hot for a wonderful voice.

    • Sean Connery – still hot; I’m with you.

  7. When I was little, my uncle used to have dinner with David McCallum all the time – they were friends for years. I went with them once – he was really a lovely (and incredibly handsome) guy…Mark Harmon in spite of his ridiculous haircut – absolutely..Steve McQueen…James Earl Jones’ voice…sigh..

    • How cool is that?! And James Earl Jones’ voice…double sigh. I think we need to compile a list of sexy voices.

      • Do you remember Geoffrey Calder? He was a dancer on Broadway and did a 7-Up commercial..”this is a cola nut..this is an un-cola nut”? He had an amazing voice..

        • Oh yeah…Geoffrey had a voice more like damask than silk. And how about Ben Kingsley, Liam Neeson, Gregory Peck….Clint Eastwood… I can go on, but I’m getting overheated.

          • Lol..I’m with you on each and every one – and have a fan blowing on my face as I write this..Richard Burton…Alain Delon…Maurice Chevalier (I love a winning French accent, and besides, he sang the song “Mimi” which I heard gazillion times growing up)..

          • I realized last night that it was Geoffrey Holder not Calder..sorry!

          • Ah, but I knew EXACTLY who you meant!

          • :-) I know – for which I’m grateful!

      • paulahik

        If we’re looking for hot voices, the hottest voice I know of comes from a man most people don’t know. He’s an actor that has mostly done small guest shots but he does a lot of voices on video games. His name is Gideon Emery. Go to youtube and either put in Gideon’s name or Fenris and listen to that voice. Someone once described it as velvety chocolate running over gravel.

        As for David, his yum factor has never been in question. I loved him when I was 5 and I have had a fancrush on him since then.

        • David has a great voice, too! He has a wonderful way with his dialogue, knowing just which words to emphasize.

          • paulahik

            I’ve listened to audiobooks just because he’s reading them. He does some great accents and different voices. You can always tell who’s VP he’s in or who’s talking with his readings.

          • Yes, I love those audiobooks. My favorite story is actually on an LP record. (Talk about oldies but goodies.) The story is Lassie Come Home, and David puts on a few thick Scottish accents. Drool!

  8. I am sighing thinking of Illya. He is still a hearthrob, pace maker or no pacemaker. I think today’s girls have gotten the short end of the stick — who would want to fantasize about Justin Bieber?

  9. I, too, had a tremendous crush on Ilya Kuryakin. I remember taking part once in a school trip to a museum (can’t remember if it was the British Museum or the Victoria and Albert) with my classmates. We spotted David McCallum there and pursued him from room to room until we were sternly called to order by the accompanying schoolmistresses, who read us the Riot Act and said our behaviour was disgraceful. We were convinced they were dried-up old spinsters who had forgotten what it was to be young.

    • I would have been giggling like a schoolgirl… oh wait, you WERE a schoolgirl.

  10. I’m actually embarrassed to admit this, but I had a stupid crush on *gag* Pat Boone at one time (I’m older than you). I saw him in an ad for investment gold (at least it wasn’t Depends) yesterday, and he looks all tight and dry, like too much plastic surgery. He’s 78.

    • paulahik

      I actually met Pat Boone once. He was narcissistic, thoughtless, and I was NOT impressed. I was in my teens at the time and I thought he was kind of good looking in a couple of movies I’d seen him in and rather liked him. After that little episode, though, I no longer liked him.

  11. Michelle Gillies

    We must have watched the same shows. I was sooo in love with Ilya Kuryakin and I agree he is still adorable. However, I recently saw Robert Vaughn (Napoleon Solo of Man from U.N.C.L.E.) on Coronation Street and he has not held up near as well.
    I’m pretty impressed with the casting of Mark Harmon’s love interests as well. Somebody there has some smarts.

  12. September of 1964? That is when I was born. Why weren’t you celebrating with my parents? Brian Dennehy is my older dude crush. Is he still alive?

    • Oh Yeah! Dennehy is 74. He’s a great example of a sexy big guy! Years ago, I worked at ESPN and he was in one of our made-for-TV-movies. Everyone laughed at me because I had such a crush…. but YOU understand!

      • Thank you Nancy. I am glad YOU understand. I like big, sexy guys that can sweep me off my feet!

  13. Oh, Ilya. I had a big-time crush, too. At the time, he played second fiddle to Robert Vaughn, who all of my friends liked. Just like Peter of the Monkees. I liked him, all of my friends swooned over Davy.
    I am also a sucker for the voice. Sam Elliot……oh boy! He actually grew up next door to my husband’s cousin. I keep hoping to run into him there….no such luck. And James Earl Jones, wow!
    But I just don’t understand how they can all be so old when I have not aged at all.

    • Exactly. I am so much younger than people who used to be my age.

      • paulahik

        Yeah, I know! How could they be so old when we are still so young? What is worse is the men my DAUGHTER had a crush on are now starting to look rather old.

  14. Ah the memories. When did these hearthrobs age? It’s in the numbers (78, 82, 77), yet WE have managed to stay young. Hollywood isn’t like it used to be; all the real hunks are getting away on us. Do you remember Steve McQueen?

    • Of course.. he seems to be on everyone’s list!

  15. Holy Toledo! I can’t believe Ducky used to look like that. Wow.

  16. James Garner. Hub-a-hubba!

    • Oh, and forgot, I have quite a “thing” for Vincent D’Onofrio – I would melt to meet him.

    • Recent photos seem to show Garner is in poor health (84) – but up until a few years ago…. oh yeah!. “Murphy’s Romance” – an older man I could fall in love with….. (of course in that movie he reveals in the end that he is 60. That seemed pretty old then…. but now that I’m 61 – well, he wasn’t an older man at all!)

      • He WAS great in that movie, but 60 with 20-something Sally Field still struck me as kinda, I don’t know, creepy.

        • Sally Field looked like a kid, but she was closer to forty.

  17. I, too loved Illya. My cousin who lived next door and her family had only one TV. She would come running across the yard on Friday night, if her parents were watching TV, to watch with me. She loved Napolean Solo. In later years, I loved Edward James Olmos from Miami Vice–the strong silent type ( and yea, that was a grown up, married woman crush)

  18. Teresa

    For a zillion photos of David McCallum, go to

  19. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that my partner turned 60 last week. Ha ha.

    • I’m 61. He’s 67. It’s just plain weird.

      • I’m sure I won’t find it weird when I reach 60 myself. Although then he will be 67….so, if you say it is weird, I trust your word!

        • I can’t possibly be married to such an old guy.

          • Same here!! Probably time to trade in for a younger model….

      • paulahik

        It’s weird because you don’t FEEL like you should be getting senior discounts, huh?

        • I never get a senior discount… because I can’t admit I’m a senior. I’d rather pay extra to be young.

          • paulahik

            LOL. Yeah, it’s just insulting when AARP sends you an invitation to become a member, isn’t it?

  20. Rox

    I love it when younger people see the David I grew up with up and finally figure out WHY all of us still watch him. Definitely listen to his audio books to get an idea of the depth his voice can take. Hooray for all fans of David–we’re all Cousins under the skin!

  21. Very funny! It’s all perspective, isn’t it, my dear?!

  22. But – isn’t there something kind of nice about finding these ‘old men’ still attractive?? That ‘we’ haven’t grown old enough to outgrow that??

  23. Uhh… not sure how to feel about the fact that I knew the names of all the guys you’re talking about.

  24. The only solution is to focus on the crushes who have gone on to the great Crush Palace in the sky. Michael Landon (didn’t like him that much), Patrick Swayze (not even sure how to spell his name and not interested enough to look it up), John.

  25. Southerngal

    Stumbled on this blog and am loving it. I was totally gaga over many of the actors you all mention. David McCallum as Illya, Mark Harmon, Brian Dennehy (wow –thought I was the only one in the world with that crush). I’m also adding Yul Brenner to the list.

    • Yul Brynner had a wonderfully sensual mouth.

  26. So funny! I guess we all age, it just doesn’t seem like it until we see photos and it dawns on us that our heartthrobs inexplicably got old.

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