David McCallum, the legendary actor of ‘NCIS’ and ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’, passes away at 90

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David McCallum, the Scottish-born actor who starred in the iconic spy series ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and the long-running crime drama ‘NCIS’, died on Monday at the age of 90. He passed away of natural causes surrounded by his family at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, according to a statement from CBS.

A versatile and beloved actor

McCallum was a versatile and beloved actor who had a remarkable career spanning seven decades. He was best known for his roles as Illya Kuryakin, a Russian secret agent in ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ (1964-1968), and as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, a medical examiner and forensic psychologist in ‘NCIS’ (2003-2023).

He also appeared in many other TV shows and films, such as ‘The Great Escape’ (1963), ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ (1965), ‘Colditz’ (1972-1974), ‘Sapphire & Steel’ (1979-1982), ‘The Outer Limits’ (1995-2002), and ‘Ben 10’ (2005-2008). He was also a voice actor for animated series and video games, such as ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ (1992-1995), ‘Gargoyles’ (1994-1996), ‘Metal Gear Solid’ (1998-2008), and ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ (2010).

David McCallum, the legendary actor of ‘NCIS’

McCallum was nominated for several awards for his performances, including four Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and a BAFTA Award. He also wrote two novels, ‘Once a Crooked Man’ (2016) and ‘The Goodbye Man’ (2017).

A tribute from his family and colleagues

McCallum’s family and colleagues paid tribute to him, remembering him as a “gifted actor and author, and beloved by many around the world”. His son Peter McCallum said in a statement: “He was the kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father. He always put family before self. 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.”

His ‘NCIS’ co-star Michael Weatherly shared a signed photo of McCallum alongside Steve McQueen in ‘The Great Escape’, writing: “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 three autographs. [Sean] Connery, Tony Bennett and McCallum. 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.”

CBS also released a statement, saying: “We will miss his warmth and endearing sense of humor that lit up any room or soundstage he stepped onto. 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.”

A legacy that will never be forgotten

McCallum was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on September 19, 1933, to parents who were classical musicians. He initially pursued a career in music before finding work as an actor. He moved to the United States in 1961, where he became a star by playing a secret agent in ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’, which was a huge hit in the 1960s. He later joined the cast of ‘NCIS’ in 2003, and remained a regular until 2021, when he announced his retirement. He made his final appearance in the show’s 400th episode, which aired in November 2021.

McCallum was married twice, first to actress Jill Ireland, with whom he had three sons, and later to model Katherine Carpenter, with whom he had a son and a daughter. He also had nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

McCallum was a legend in the entertainment industry, who inspired generations of fans and actors with his charisma, talent, and charm. He will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and admirers, but his legacy will never be forgotten.

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