Vale: David McCallum

Vale: David McCallum

Respected veteran actor David McCallum, best known for NCIS and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., has died aged 90.

He passed away on Monday of natural causes in New York City.

His son Peter made a statement on behalf of his family, saying, “He 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.

“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.

“After returning from the hospital to their apartment, I asked my mother if she was OK before she went to sleep. Her answer was simply, ‘Yes. But I do wish we had had a chance to grow old together.’ She is 79, and dad just turned 90. The honesty in that emotion shows how vibrant their beautiful relationship and daily lives were, and that somehow, even at 90, Daddy never grew old.”

from 1964-68 McCallum starred as Illya Kuryakin alongside Robert Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo in the hit spy drama The Man From U.N.C.L.E. a James Bond-influenced series in which Vaughn’s Solo and McCallum’s Kuryakin battled the evil forces of THRUSH around the globe. It spawned a spinoff, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., starring Stefanie Powers, as well as feature adaptations.

With his mop haircut, McCallum was nicknamed “The Blond Beatle.” He also looked great in a black turtleneck and had difficulty going unnoticed.

“I was rescued from Central Park by mounted police once,” he told The Scotsman. “When I went to Macy’s department store, the fans did $25,000 worth of damage, and they had to close Herald Square to get me out. That’s pretty classic, but you just have to deal with it. And then whoever was next came along, and you get dropped overnight, which is a relief.

Since 2003 on NCIS, he played pathologist Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the team of agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service led by Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

McCallum’s Dr. Mallard offered not only key forensic clues but also served as a criminal profiler.

CBS 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. 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.”

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

McCallum was born in Glasgow, Scotland where he originally pursued a career in music at the Royal Academy of Music, though he soon left and enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

He began his professional acting career when he was 12, in 1946, performing for the BBC radio repertory company.

He made his screen debut in the BBC fantasy miniseries The Rose and the Ring then features The Secret Place, Hell Drivers and Violent Playground and Australia’s Robbery Under Arms starring Peter Finch.

Other credits included A Night to Remember, The Long and the Short and the Tall Billy Budd, Freud, The Great Escape, The Greatest Story Every Told.

He also featured in The Replacements, Ben 10, Perry Mason, The Outer Limits, Colditz, The Invisible Man, Kidnapped, Sapphire & Steele, The A-Team, The Father Dowling Mysteries, Murder She Wrote, SeaQuest 2032, Babylon 5, Law & Order, Sex and the City, VR.5, The Education and a role on JAG as the backdoor pilot for NCIS.

A 20th anniversary NCIS marathonset to screen in the USA will now include an “in memoriam” card in remembrance of McCallum.

Source: Variety, Hollywood Reporter