The entertainment world mourns the loss of acclaimed Scottish actor David McCallum, who passed away at the age of 90. McCallum, best known for his iconic roles as Illya Kuryakin in the 1960s spy drama “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and as pathologist Dr. Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard in “NCIS,” departed peacefully on Monday (September 25) of natural causes in New York City, shortly after celebrating his 90th birthday.
In a statement on behalf of the family, his son Peter shared heartfelt words about his father: “He was the kindest, coolest, most patient, and loving father. He always put family before self.” Peter highlighted David’s unique bond with his grandchildren and his enduring curiosity for life. He described his father as a true renaissance man, fascinated by science and culture, capable of conducting a symphony orchestra, and well-versed in various fields, including the knowledge required for his role on “NCIS.”
Reflecting on his parents’ enduring love, Peter shared a poignant moment with his mother: “After returning from the hospital to their apartment, I asked my mother if she was okay 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.”
Tributes have poured in from colleagues and fans alike. Executive producers of “NCIS,” Steven D. Binder and David North, fondly remembered McCallum as a “scholar and a gentleman” who was gracious, professional, and always ready with a joke. They expressed their deep admiration for him, stating, “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.”
CBS Studios also expressed their sadness at McCallum’s passing, describing him as a “gifted actor and author” who led an incredible life. They highlighted his warmth, sense of humor, and the lasting impact of his work in film and television. The studio extended their condolences to his wife Katherine and his entire family, acknowledging that McCallum’s legacy will endure.
David McCallum’s illustrious career spanned over six decades, marked by his screen debut in the BBC fantasy miniseries “The Rose and the Ring” in 1953. His repertoire included numerous British television productions and significant film roles, such as “The Great Escape” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” Beyond acting, McCallum recorded albums in the 1960s and authored his own crime novel.
He leaves behind a legacy cherished by his wife of 56 years, Katherine McCallum, his children Paul, Valentine, Peter, Sophie, and eight grandchildren. David McCallum’s contributions to the world of entertainment will be remembered with great fondness, and his indomitable spirit lives on through his body of work.