Scottish-born actor David McCallum, known for his turns as “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and as Dr. “Ducky” Mallard on “NCIS,” died on Monday. He was 90.
McCallum died of natural causes surrounded by family at New York Presbyterian Hospital, CBS, which airs “NCIS,” said in a statement.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of David McCallum and privileged that CBS was his home for so many years,” the network said.
“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.”
McCallum became a household name and teen heartthrob in the 1960s when he starred as Illya Kuryakin, a Russian sidekick to Robert Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo, both characters on a team of crime fighters, the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.).
The series ran from 1964 through 1968 and earned him two Emmy nominations. McCallum played a variety of roles in the following years on shows from “Murder, She Wrote” to “Sex and the City,” as well as on Broadway.
It was in 2003 that McCallum returned to TV and another show about international sleuths, also an acronym: “NCIS,” which stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Led by Mark Harmon as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the series is in its 20th season. McCallum was so immersed in his role of coroner that he attended medical conferences and collected the skills to perform an autopsy, his son said.
“For over 20 years, David McCallum endeared himself to audiences around the world playing the wise, quirky, and sometimes enigmatic, Dr. Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard,” executive producers Steven Binder and David North said in a statement.
“But as much as his fans may have loved him, those who worked side by side with David loved him that much more,” they continued. “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.”
McCallum’s “NCIS” co-stars began weighing in immediately.
“RIP David McCallum. You were the kindest man. Thank you for being you,” tweeted actress Lauren Holly, who played NCIS director Jenny Shepard from 2005 through 2008.
“David McCallum made every moment count, in life and on set,” tweeted Michael Weatherly, who starred as Anthony DeNozzo. “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.”
“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,” CBS stated.
With News Wire Services