Scottish-born actor David McCallum died of natural causes on Monday at the age of 90 in New York City. He was best known for playing Illya Kuryakin in the 1960s spy drama The Man From U.N.C.L.E. He was also a supporting character on NCIS as pathologist Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard and starred as Lieutenant-Commander Eric Ashley-Pitt in The Great Escape.
His son Peter shared the news in a statement. “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, 9, could often be found in the corner of a room at family parties having deep philosophical conversations,” it read.
Peter went on to call his father “a true Renaissance man.” He said: “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 perform an autopsy, based on his decades-long studies for his role on NCIS.”
David passed away at New York-Presbyterian Hospital six days after his 90th birthday. Peter shared what his mother, Katherine Carpenter, said when they got home. “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,'” the statement read, “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.”
CBS, the network NCIS is shown on, also stated the actor’s death: “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. Our hearts go out to his wife Katherine and his entire family, and all those who knew and loved David,” the statement finished.
David married Katherine Carpenter in 1967 and the two share children Peter and Sophie. He had three children from his first marriage to English actress Jill Ireland – Paul, Jason, and Valentine. Jason tragically died in 1989 from an accidental drug overdose.
Fans of the late actor took to social media to share tributes to David. “He had a wonderfully calm, empathetic & graceful presence in film and TV,” one person shared. Another simply wrote: “Goodbye to David McCallum, who rocked.”
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