‘NCIS’ Actor David McCallum Dead At 90

Courtesy of CBS. David McCallum in NCIS

David McCallum, who is most known for playing fan-favorite character “Ducky” on NCIS has died at the age of 90.

The longtime NCIS actor passed away at New York Presbyterian Hospital of natural causes. He was most widely known for playing the character Donald “Ducky” Mallard on NCIS. David McCallum had over 130 acting credits to his name. He first appeared in the 1953 mini-series The Rose And The Ring.

50 years later, McCallum would make his NCIS debut. In his 20 years on the show, McCallum was featured in 457 episodes. He last appeared in the episode “Black Sky” earlier this year.

“For over 20 years, David McCallum endeared himself to audiences around the world playing the wise, quirky, and sometimes enigmatic, Dr. Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard,” NCIS‘ current exec producers, Seven D. Binder and David North said in a joint statement.

“But as much as his fans may have loved him, those who worked side by side with David loved him that much more. He was a scholar and a gentleman, always gracious, a consummate professional, and never one to pass up a joke. From day one, it was an honor to work with him and he never let us down. He was, quite simply, a legend. He was also family and will be deeply missed.”

Reactions To David McCallum’s Passing

David McCallum’s son Peter released a statement on his family’s behalf. “[David McCallum] was the kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father, he always put family before self. He looked forward to any chance to connect with his grandchildren, and had a unique bond with each of them. He and his youngest grandson, Whit, 9, could often be found in the corner of a room at family parties having deep philosophical conversations.”

The statement continued, “He was a true Renaissance man, he was fascinated by science and culture and would turn those passions into knowledge. For example, he was capable of conducting a symphony orchestra and (if needed) could actually perform an autopsy, based on his decades-long studies for his role on NCIS.”

In a statement, a CBS spokesperson spoke highly about McCallum’s life, as well as his acting ability. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of David McCallum and privileged that CBS was his home for so many years. David was a gifted actor and author, and beloved by many around the world. He led an incredible life, and his legacy will forever live on through his family and the countless hours on film and television that will never go away.  We will miss his warmth and endearing sense of humor that lit up any room or soundstage he stepped onto, as well as the brilliant stories he often shared from a life well-lived. Our hearts go out to his wife Katherine and his entire family, and all those who knew and loved David.”

David McCallum’s Legacy

McCallum was born on September 19th, 1933, in Maryhill, Glasgow. His father was a violinist for the London Philharmonic and his mother was a cellist. A career in the music industry seemed to be his destiny and he was trained in the oboe. But by 1951, an 18-year-old McCallum was conscripted for National Service. Three years later, McCallum left the military and joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

After playing bit parts for years, McCallum earned his first big break when he landed a supporting role in the Steve McQueen classic film The Great Escape in 1963. A year later,  McCallum landed a starring role as Illya Kuryakin on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. He played opposite Robert Vaughn as two top agents battling evildoers in the 60’s spy thriller. McCallum was nominated for 3 Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 

McCallum found steady work as a strong supporting actor for decades. By 2003, he once again found himself as a fan-favorite series regular. His role as “Ducky” on NCIS earned him the adoration of fans and the respect of his fellow cast mates. Micheal Weatherly, who co-starred on NCIS with McCallum, took to X to speak about the impact that McCallum had on and off of the set.

Let us know your thoughts about the passing of David McCallum in the comments section.

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