Nancy Roman

When Heartthrobs Need Pacemakers

In honor of the 80th birthday of my first serious crush….

Here is a reprise of my ode to the aging heartthrob:


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-nine 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 80 years old.

EIGHTY !!!!!

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 83 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 70 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 – 78 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. Oh dear, I’m still reeling because all my fav rock stars are in their 70s and 80s. Now you say my favorite actors are old too! I do like Malcolm MacDowell though. He still has it. BTW I don’t know anyone who LIKES Mark Harmon’s hair!


  2. A walk down memory lane! I loved Dr. Kildare (aka Richard Chamberlain). And there were others…


    • Kildare was a dreamboat. Ben Casey was too hairy for me.


  3. ha! the last line is fabulous.


  4. Al

    Having just turned 70 myself, it’s good to know we are not “put out to pasture” in your mind. It must be that “grandfather image” that saves us.

    By the way, I’ve always been told I resemble Donald Sutherland. What do you think?


    • I see it! You are quite the heartthrob yourself!


      • Al

        I’m sending you my bank card and pin number under separate cover.


        • Your prompt payment is greatly appreciated.


  5. Gotta LOVE, “I’m still hot for HIS old man!”
    I’ve been thinking the same thing. How/when did these hunks age. We’re still the same age when we first saw them, right? Well, OK. Maybe a few years have passed for us too. 🙂


    • I don’t think we see all see ourselves through the kind haze of memory. Just this morning my husband said I look like the bartender at his favorite joint. She’s 24.


  6. Hahahahaha! Great post. But you are lucky to swooning over “hotties” with pacemakers (I love the title of your post). Most of my heartthrobs are long dead!


    • I guess I’m lucky they are alive… even if VERY old.


  7. I really wasn’t very nice of them to get that old! Like Doran, most of my heartthrobs are dead! Guess that means I am an oldie too. I love your last line. Excellent post!


  8. Ha, had a crush on Kiefer when he was starring in “24” Also loved him in Young Guns….. But I am old enough to be his …. uh…. much older sister. LOL


    • I am just slightly hot for Ralph Fiennes – even though I could be his slightly older sister.


  9. This reminder of our aging selves, it is simply to much for me today.


    • Let’s watch an old movie…maybe young Gregory Peck could help me forget.


      • Young Omar Shariff, oh yeah that I think would do it for me.


  10. love your taste in older men-especially Mark Harmon–somehow he does pull off that stupid haircut


  11. I always loved Ilya. I was one of the few. I also always loved Peter Torkelson of the Monkees. Always went for the sidekick, I guess. And no, you must be mistaken. None of my heartthrobs could be that old. I refuse to believe it.


    • I heard a story that when they were casting the Monkees they auditioned Steven Stills, but he had bad teeth. And he said, “if you are looking for someone cute, you should go see my friend Peter Tork.” And by the way, Peter is now 71.


    • oh, no, you were not one of the few, you were one of the many … and I also adored Peter Torkelson. Yep, sidekicks are where it’s at … LOL. However, to illustrate the not one of the few on Illya, I write fan fiction and Illya is where it started … we had to clone him twice to take care of all the Mary Sue characters we had … totally innocent Mary Sue characters. We were 12. rofl.


  12. I had a poster of Magnum P.I. in college and, to this day, Tom Selleck still makes me swoon. Until he talks. He has that squeaky girly-man voice that totally betrays his rugged good looks.

    And I’m with you, there’s something noble and delicious about Donald Sutherland… MJ


    • I loved Magnum PI. Very very cute back then. I thought his high squeaky voice was endearing, even. That’s a crush for you.


      • For a low, manly voice and great looks, Sam Elliot is on the top of the list.


  13. Hmmmm… I’ll take William Peterson (CSI) or George Clooney 🙂 I also have a thing for a very young Yul Brynner.


    • Horrible politics aside, Charlton Heston in Ben Hur was about the hottest he-man to come out of Hollywood.


  14. I thought Pierce Brosnan was a bit of a pretty boy when younger. Now that he’s got some seasoning- hubba hubba! The only thing that bugs me is, you don’t hear too many men crushing on old women – why don’t WE get better with age???


    • Pierce has definitely aged nicely. Tom Berenger (another crush from my past) – not so much.


  15. When I was very young, I worked in a restaurant in Hollywood; gorgeous movie stars came in there all the time. Believe it or not, the sexiest man(and I’m not talking looks here, but pure pheromones) was Charles Bronson. The man walked in the place and every female stopped talking and turned to look at him. It was spooky.


    • I can believe this. His magnetism came through the screen even in the most banal of movies.


  16. This post got me thinking and so I went and found out what an early love of my life looks like 35 years later (the miracle of LinkedIn and Google). Save yourself, don’t ever do that! Not only didn’t I recognise the old man, I’m in such a state of shock that I can’t remember the young one any more. Probably shouldn’t have ripped up all those photos all those years ago.


  17. I’m right there with you. Illya Kuryakin was so exotic it was easy to fall in love with him the second he came on screen and said his first line. So many years later, who doesn’t love Ducky? Thanks for including a Canadian contingent with Donald Sutherland. He is part of our heritage. 😉


  18. David McCallum… oooh… these men you have mentioned are like fine wine… they improve with age….



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