David McCallum, a veteran actor best known to television fans for portraying the character of Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on NCIS, has passed away.
He was 90 years old.
The star died “peacefully” of natural causes surrounded by family at New York Presbyterian Hospital on Monday, CBS confirms.
“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,” son Peter McCallum shared in a statement on behalf of the family. “
“He and his youngest grandson, Whit, 9, could often be found in the corner of a room at family parties having deep philosophical conversations.”
Continued this beautiful message:
“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.”
David McCallum rose to fame way back in the mid 1960s on the television show The Man from U.N.C.L.E, for which he was nominated for two Emmy Awards.
He was a main cast member on NCIS since the drama’s 2003 premiere, most recently appearing, remotely, on the final two episodes of NCIS‘ 20th season last spring.
NCIS executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North also shared their memories of working with McCallum.
“For over twenty years, David McCallum endeared himself to audiences around the world playing the wise, quirky, and sometimes enigmatic, Dr. Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard,” they 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.
“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.”
Added a CBS spokesperson:
“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.”
After Mark Harmon left NCIS early in Season 19, McCallum became the procedural’s final original cast member.
In addition to his son, McCallum is also survived by his wife of 56 years, Katherine McCallum.
May he rest in peace.