R.I.P. Michael Callan, star of 'Cat Ballou' and original 'West Side Story' on Broadway

A versatile entertainer, Callan could be seen on the stage and on various forms of the screen.

The Everett Collection

Just like many famed Hollywood names, Michael Callan, who passed away Oct. 10, 2022, got his big break on Broadway. Before he became a multifaceted and accomplished actor in film and televsion, Callan was a part of the original Broadway production of West Side Story in the late Fifties. 

Multiple attemps and auditions to play the role of Riff paid off in 1957 when he was finally cast for the part. West Side Story was the spark that ignited a career in entertainment. A year later, Callan signed a seven-year deal with Columbia, according to Deadline. His first role in a film came as Pvt. Andrew Hetherington in the 1959 adventure drama movie They Came to Cordura. The same year he appeared The Flying Fontaines before returning to his Broadway roots in the 1960 musical Pepe

He got his first big role in the 1961 sequel to Gidget movie, dubbed Gidget Goes Hawaiian. In the movie, Callan plays celebrity dancer Eddie Horner, opposite Gidget, played by Deborah Walley. That led to his role as Herbert Brown in Mysterious Island to close out 1961. 

The following year saw Callan appear in three films: 13 West Street, Bon Voyage! and The Interns. He reprised his role of Dr. Alec Considine in The New Interns in 1964.

Callan just might be best remembered as Clay Boone from the 1965 film Cat Ballou. In the Western, Callan played the love interest bandit of the titular character, played by Jane Fonda. 

A year later, Callan got his first taste of being the main character of a sitcom, as bachelor Peter Christopher was the center of the 1966 series Occasional Wife. The show was canceled after just one season, but it only added to Callan's repertoire, which led to several guest appearances on classic television throughout the late-Sixties and into the Seventies. 

Most notably, Callan appeared on of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in the 1971 episode "Smokey the Bear Wants You" and played four different roles in as many episodes of The F.B.I. from 1966-1972. 

In 1972, Callan had a prominant role in the third sequel, and fourth movie overall, of the Magnificent Seven series titled The Magnificent Seven Ride!

From there, Callan continued to rack up TV series credits across multiple genres of work. He had recurring roles in Police Story and Police Surgeon from 1973-1975 and multiple roles and appearances in Charlie's Angels and Fantasy Island in the late Seventies and early Eighties. He was given four roles in four different episodes of Murder, She Wrote, which starred Angela Lansbury.

He also appeared on Barnaby Jones, S.W.A.T. and The Love Boat

From starring roles to recurring appearances on classic TV, Michael Callan's career started on Broadway in 1957 and didn't slow down for over four decades. He was 86.

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CreatureFeatureFan 20 months ago
Michael Callan ❤️ I had such a crush on him.
I did too- he was adorable
I didn't realize until today he died in October. Man, I've had a lifelong crush on him (I'm 64) and followed his career/life up to him moving to the Motion Pictures home. Occasionally I'd try to find any current info on his health, but came up empty. Another performer from my youth is gone. *sigh*
Runeshaper 20 months ago
R.I.P. Michael Callan, a very accomplished actor.
Tresix 20 months ago
Mainly remember him as Pvt. Herbert Brown in “Mysterious Island”, helping to save Elaine (Beth Rogan) from the giant bees.
Ready2go 20 months ago
Michael was also in "Mysterious Island", a Ray Harryhausen classic, in 1961.
KirwoodDerby 20 months ago
I'll always think of Michael as the guy who chose Rhoda over Mary and dropped out of big business to go back to school to become a forest ranger. He and Rhoda made a cute couple.
Mike 20 months ago
I always liked him. He’s the type of actor you see a lot of but never so famous as to remember his name. He could take on any role and every role he took, he came across as really believable!
Rita6868 20 months ago
I've always loved Michael Callan's facial expressions with his eye brows and eyes.He had a great smile. Big crush throughout the years.He was a great actor and I couldn't wait to see him because I knew it was going to be a good scene if he was in it.Thank You Michael.Love you all these years later and always will.Rest easy.
teire 20 months ago
Always liked him, condolences to those close to him.
Kenner 20 months ago
Didn’t see it mentioned but he also had a guest spot on the TV series 12 O’clock High opposite Robert landing.
tootsieg 20 months ago
Rest In Peace Mickey Callan. Terrific actor and dancer.
moax429 tootsieg 20 months ago
He was also a bit of a vocalist.

While still pacted to Columbia Pictures, Callan cut a single in 1959 called "You Gotta Love Me, Too," with a song on the flipside called "Marina." Naturally, the single was released on Columbia's then-record division, Colpix Records..

You can see a copy of "You Gotta Love Me, Too" on 45cat's website. On the home page select "Artist" from the drop down menu and then type in "Mickey Callan." That will take you directly to the listing. (I don't know if there is a video of the song on YouTube.)

Still another great talent has left us. R.I.P., Michael Callan.
tootsieg moax429 20 months ago
I never knew Mickey Callan sang and cut a record. I am not surprised though. I will check out YouTube. Thank you for the info.
MrsPhilHarris 20 months ago
Coincidentally I had looked him up recently.
Sway 20 months ago
R.I.P. Michael Callan.
Also R.I.P. Judy Tenuta, comedian, actress.
justjeff Sway 20 months ago
..and R.I.P. Art Laboe, who was a pioneer West Coast DJ and the creator of the "oldies but goodies" LP format...
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