Who Is David McCallum? 5 Things on Actor Dead at 90 – Hollywood Life

David McCallum: 5 Things to Know About ‘NCIS’ Actor Dead at 90

The Scottish talent, who passed away on Monday, September 25, started his successful career in the 1960s. Find out more about him here.

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David McCallum
Image Credit: Guignebourg Denis/ABACA/Shutterstock

David McCallum died at the age of 90 on Monday, according to CBS via CNN. The Scottish actor, best known for his work on NCIS, reportedly passed away of natural causes while surrounded by family at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

“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,” CBS said in a statement.

His son, Peter McCallum, also shared a statement on behalf of the family. “He was the kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father,” he said. “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,” Peter’s statement continued. “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’,” Peter added. “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.”

Find out more about David and the incredible legacy he leaves behind below.

He Started His Acting Career in the 1950s

David McCallum
David with the cast of ‘NCIS.’ (Paul Buck/EPA/Shutterstock)

After appearing in a number of films and shows, David first stepped into the big acting spotlight when he played the role of secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He starred in the show from 1964 until 1968. He went on to star in many other notable roles, including the role of Carter in the television series, Colditz from 1972 until 1974, and Steel in Sapphire & Steel from 1979 until 1982. His role as NCIS medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the television series NCIS began in 2003 and lasted until this year, 2023.

David Was Also a Musician

He recorded four albums in the 1960s. They included Music…A Part of Me and Music…A Bit More of Me in 1966, Music…It’s Happening Now! in 1967, and McCallum in 1968. His most famous piece of music is called “The Edge” and it has appeared in numerous projects, including on the soundtracks of the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV and the 2017 film Baby Driver. He didn’t sing and only played instrumentally on the records.

He Wrote a Book

David McCallum
David at an event. (Guignebourg Denis/ABACA/Shutterstock)

David published a crime novel called Once a Crooked Man in 2016. The narrative of the story is set in New York and London and  focuses on a young actor who tries to foil a murder. At the time of his death, it is believed he was working on a second novel. 

David Received an Outpouring of Social Media Tributes After His Death

William Shatner took to Twitter to share a message. “Condolences to the family of David McCallum,” it read. Actor Michael Weatherly also shared a message along with a personalized photo of David’s autograph. “David McCallum made every moment count, in life and on set. Let’s raise a jug and celebrate a funny fantastic authentic man,” he wrote. “I’ve only got 3 autographs. 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. We were lucky to have him bring us Ducky. Let’s send all the love in the world to his beautiful family. Rest In Peace David.”

He Is Survived by a Big Family

David is survived by his wife of 56 years, Katherine McCallum, his sons Paul McCallum, Valentine McCallum and Peter, his daughter Sophie McCallum. He also has eight grandchildren.