An original cast member of CBS military crime procedural NCIS, has died after starring on the show for all 20 seasons.
Veteran Scottish actor David McCallum, who played medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, died of natural causes while surrounded by family on Monday.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of David McCallum and privileged that CBS was his home for so many years,” the network said in a statement. “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,” said CBS, which McCallum had been a part of since NCIS premiered in 2003.
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… pic.twitter.com/1UgOz7pQ8g
— The NCISverse (@ncisverse) September 25, 2023
‘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.”
Son Peter memorialized McCallum as “the kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father,” in a statement on behalf of their family.
He said his father “always put family before self,” and had a “unique bond” with all of his grandchildren, who “he looked forward to any chance to connect” with anytime they were together.
“He was a true renaissance man—he was fascinated by science and culture and would turn those passions into knowledge,” Peter continued.
David McCallum (1933-2023): pic.twitter.com/gBrUk5qMKu
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) September 25, 2023
“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’.”
Former NCIS co-stars Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly, who both filmed far fewer than McCallum’s 457 episodes on the show, paid tribute to their former colleague.
“David lived a great, full, long life,” Harmon who was the show’s former lead, told Deadline. “I was in awe when I first met him and all of us on the show were honored to have toed a mark opposite him. My condolences go out to Katherine and his family.”
Weatherly, who played fan favorite Tony DiNozzo on the show from 2003 to 2019, shared a touching memory about McCallum on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday afternoon.
David McCallum made every moment count, in life and on set. Let’s raise a jug and celebrate a funny fantastic authentic man. I’ve only got 3 autographs. Connery, Tony Bennett and McCallum. I felt the same way as Steve McQueen in this picture from The Great Escape: Wow! It’s David… pic.twitter.com/ve6hFvFkQD
— Michael Weatherly (@M_Weatherly) September 25, 2023
“David McCallum made every moment count, in life and on set. Let’s raise a jug and celebrate a funny fantastic authentic man. I’ve only got 3 autographs. Connery, Tony Bennett and McCallum,” he wrote.
“I felt the same way as Steve McQueen in this picture from The Great Escape: Wow! It’s David McCallum! No one did it better. We were lucky to have him bring us Ducky. Let’s send all the love in the world to his beautiful family. Rest In Peace David,” the Bull star concluded.
Born in 1933, David McCallum was the son of a renowned violinist and a mother who was a cellist. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and landed early roles in radio and theater.
In 1961, McCallum moved to the United States and took on the role of secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the television spy series “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”
Initially intended as a minor character with only two lines, McCallum’s role quickly expanded, making him a co-star alongside Robert Vaughn. His performance earned him nominations for a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards.
In 1963, he was cast in a supporting role in Steve McQueen hit The Great Escape, which he followed up with a critically lauded turn as Judas in 1964 Christ epic The Greatest Story Every Told.
During the 1990s, McCallum made guest appearances in shows like “Law & Order” and “Sex and the City.”
He appeared in the 2009 film “Wonder Woman” and published a mystery novel, “Once a Crooked Man,” in 2016.
David McCallum is survived by his wife, as well as his sons, Paul, Valentine, and Peter, and daughter Sophie. He also leaves behind eight grandchildren.