Renowned actor David McCallum, best known for his role as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the hit series NCIS, has peacefully passed away at the age of 90, surrounded by his family at New York Presbyterian Hospital, according to an announcement by CBS.
In a heartfelt statement on behalf of the family, McCallum’s son Peter shared that his father was not only a talented actor but also an extraordinarily kind, patient, and loving father. He cherished moments spent with his grandchildren, fostering unique bonds with each of them. Peter fondly recounted their deep philosophical conversations, especially with his youngest grandson, Whit, 9.
David McCallum was a true Renaissance man, possessing an insatiable curiosity for science and culture, which he transformed into profound knowledge. Remarkably, his extensive studies for his role on NCIS enabled him to conduct symphony orchestras and even perform autopsies if necessary.
Reflecting on his parents’ enduring love, Peter shared a poignant moment when his mother expressed her wish to grow old together with her husband. Despite their age difference, with David being 90 and his wife, Katherine, 79, the emotional depth of their relationship remained vibrant.
NCIS executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North joined in remembering their cherished colleague. McCallum, known for portraying the wise, quirky, and enigmatic Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, had endeared himself to audiences worldwide for over two decades. But beyond his popularity among fans, those who worked alongside him held an even deeper affection for him. He was a true scholar and gentleman, characterized by his unwavering graciousness, consummate professionalism, and a penchant for humor.
CBS also expressed its sorrow at the passing of David McCallum, highlighting that the network had been his home for many years. The actor, renowned for his talent on screen and as an author, leaves behind an indelible legacy. His warmth, endearing humor, and remarkable storytelling have left an indelible mark. CBS extended heartfelt condolences to his wife, Katherine, and the entire family, recognizing that David McCallum’s memory will endure through his extensive body of work and the love of his family.
To commemorate his contributions, a previously announced NCIS 20th-anniversary marathon will now feature an “In Memoriam” card honoring McCallum.
David McCallum’s career spanned over six decades, marked by his training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and numerous roles in repertory theater in the United Kingdom. He made a pivotal move to the United States in 1961 and secured the role of Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. opposite Robert Vaughn, earning two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nod for this iconic performance.
Reflecting on his journey, McCallum shared a captivating anecdote from a lunch at the MGM commissary with his friend, actor Charlie Bronson, who introduced him to Sam Rolfe, creator of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. From there, his career soared, leading him to become an integral part of NCIS.
In addition to his television accomplishments, David McCallum appeared in several notable films, including The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Great Escape, Mosquito Squadron, Billy Budd, Freud, and A Night to Remember. He also made appearances in various television shows, such as The Education of Max Bickford, Sapphire and Steel, Colditz, Trainer, VR5, Motherlove, Kidnapped, The Outer Limits, Law & Order, and Sex and the City, and lent his voice to the Toon Disney show The Replacements.
Beyond his acting career, McCallum showcased his musical talents by recording three albums of instrumental interpretations and original compositions. He also ventured into the realm of literature, publishing the novel “Once a Crooked Man” in 2016.
While no immediate plans for a memorial service are in place, a celebration of life service will be organized in the future. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
David McCallum leaves behind a loving family, including his wife of 56 years, Katherine McCallum, his sons Paul, Valentine, and Peter McCallum, his daughter Sophie McCallum, and eight adoring grandchildren: Julia McCallum, Luca de Sanctis, Iain de Sanctis, Stella McCallum, Gavin McCallum, George McCallum, Alessandro de Sanctis, and Whit McCallum. His memory will forever live on in the hearts of those who knew and loved him