Q: I was watching an old black-and-white western and noticed a startling resemblance between star James McCallion and Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory." Their smiles and eyes are very similar. Are they related?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

There's certainly a resemblance between the two actors, but it's not genetic. Perhaps it can be chalked up to charm and Hollywood's tastes, instead.

Western-movie character actor James McCallion and "The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons have similarly friendly eyes, upturned eyebrows and slightly crooked smiles -- engaging sorts of faces that, though not conventionally handsome, are still more likely to end up on film than the average mug.

McCallion was indeed part of a Hollywood family, but it didn't include Parsons. McCallion's wife was Nora Marlowe, another longtime supporting actor who appeared in 125 films and television series. She and her husband worked together on a number of different titles, including western series such as "Wagon Train," "The Big Valley" and "National Velvet" (which wasn't technically a western, but had a lot of horses).

The two had a son named Denis McCallion, who also got into the business, but on the back end. He was a location manager for a number of television series, most notably the '80s remake of "The Twilight Zone," and now runs his own production company, Guerrilla Docs, that produces military documentaries.

Parsons does not come from film stock at all. His mother is a teacher, and his late father (who died in 2001, and so never got to see his son's huge on-screen success) ran a plumbing company.

Though he is best remembered for his westerns, McCallion was not actually born in the U.S. -- he hailed from the United Kingdom. Parsons, on the other hand, is a native Texan, though he has yet to prove it by appearing in a western.


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