Beloved TV Star David McCallum, Known for ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘NCIS,’ Passes Away at Age 90

David McCallum

David McCallum, a well-known actor best recognized for his iconic performances in the 1960s smash series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and the following well-liked program “NCIS,” has died at the age of 90. He passed away naturally, according to CBS, who also reported that McCallum was in New York Presbyterian Hospital with his family.

CBS paid tribute to McCallum, praising him for his extraordinary talent as an author and actor and conveying the enduring love he received from people all throughout the world. The network noted that his family and his significant body of work in film and television will ensure his legacy would live on.

McCallum, a Scottish native, had already found success in movies like “A Night to Remember,” “The Great Escape,” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” before becoming well-known for his part in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” This series was created at a time when the popularity of secret agent tales was booming, in part due to the James Bond phenomenon and with input from Ian Fleming.

In the 1964 film “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” Robert Vaughn played Napoleon Solo and Robert McCallum played Illya Kuryakin, Solo’s Russian colleague in a clandestine, cutting-edge crime-fighting organization. McCallum jokingly claimed that his initial job was small and that he had never heard the phrase “sidekick.”

Initial reviews were mixed, but the program rapidly acquired popularity, especially with teenage girls who were captivated to McCallum’s eye-catching beauty and mysterious, intellectual persona. By 1965, McCallum’s role had surpassed Vaughn’s in importance, and the two performers had become household figures who were frequently surrounded by fans when they made public appearances. The show was resurrected in 1983 for a sentimental TV movie after it ended in 1968.

In the 2003 television season of CBS’ “NCIS,” McCallum made a comeback as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, a nerdy pathologist with the Naval Criminal Investigation Service. He took up the position with dedication, even going so far as to spend time at a Los Angeles coroner’s office to learn about autopsy techniques. The program gradually gained a devoted following and rose to the top of the ratings.

Lauren Holly, McCallum’s co-star, shared her sorrow on social media, calling him a good-hearted man. The previously mentioned 20th anniversary NCIS marathon now includes a special “in memoriam” homage to McCallum.

Two Emmy nominations went to McCallum for his depiction of Illya Kuryakin in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” He also garnered another mention for his part as a teacher battling alcoholism in the 1969 Hallmark Hall of Fame drama “Teacher, Teacher.”

McCallum appeared on TV on numerous occasions over his career, including in “The Invisible Man” and “Sapphire and Steel.” He has appeared on Broadway and off-Broadway stages, demonstrating his acting ability.

McCallum, who was born in Glasgow in 1933, and his musician parents relocated to London when he was a small child. He studied the oboe and first pursued a career in music, but eventually decided that his physique wasn’t suitable for a profession in music and switched to theater. After serving in the military, he started working in live television and movies. He was married to the actress Jill Ireland in 1957 after working together on the movie “Robbery Under Arms.” But after their divorce in 1967, Ireland wed Charles Bronson. After that, McCallum wed Katherine Carpenter, and they had a lasting and loving union.

David McCallum leaves a talent and commitment to his trade as his legacy. Paul, Jason, and Valentine, sons from his first marriage, as well as Peter and Sophie, children from his second marriage, are among the members of his family that grieve his departure. Tragically, an overdose led to Jason’s death.

Peter McCallum characterized his father as a “true Renaissance man” in a statement. He expressed his fascination with science and culture, which he frequently incorporated into his profession, such as commanding symphony orchestras and becoming knowledgeable about autopsies for his role on “NCIS.” McCallum expressed his perspective in 2007, emphasizing that perseverance and hard work are the keys to success in life.

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