NCIS star David McCallum dies aged 90

Scottish actor David McCallum has died aged 90.

He is best known for starring as Illya Kuryakin in the 1960s spy drama The Man From U.N.C.L.E., as well as playing pathologist Dr. Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard in NCIS.

McCallum died peacefully on Monday (September 25) of natural causes in New York City, having celebrated his 90th birthday just one week ago.

His son Peter issued a statement on behalf of his family.

It read: ‘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.

‘He and his youngest grandson, Whit, nine, 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. 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.”

‘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.’

NCIS executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North also paid tribute: ‘For over 20 years, David McCallum endeared himself to audiences around the world playing the wise, quirky, and sometimes enigmatic, Dr. Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard.

‘But as much as his fans may have loved him, those who worked side by side with David loved him that much more.’

They added sweetly: ‘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 honour 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.’

It’s also been confirmed that the previously announced 20th anniversary NCIS marathon will include an ‘In memoriam’ card in tribute to McCallum.

Issuing a joint statement, CBS studios said they are ‘deeply saddened’ by McCallum’s death.

‘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,’ they praised.

‘We will miss his warmth and endearing sense of humour that lit up any room or soundstage he stepped onto, as well as the brilliant stories he often shared from a life well-lived.

‘Our hearts go out to his wife Katherine and his entire family, and all those who knew and loved David.’

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