Skip to content
Home ยป The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Star David McCallum Dies Aged 90

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Star David McCallum Dies Aged 90

Actor and musician David McCallum has died at the age of 90 from natural causes.

The Scottish-born star died this morning surrounded by his family at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

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

His family described him as the “kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father”.

In a statement on behalf of the family, his son Peter 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, could often be found in the corner of a room at family parties having deep philosophical conversations.”

The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The Great Escape, and NCIS actor was known as a “true renaissance man… fascinated by science and culture and would turn those passions into knowledge”.

Image: (L-R) Robert Vaughn and David McCallum in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Peter said his father 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 home from the hospital, Peter asked his mother Katherine, 79, how she was feeling before she went to sleep, to which she said: “I do wish we had had a chance to grow old together.”

Peter added: “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.”

McCallum married actress and model Katherine Carpenter in 1967, having previously been married to singer Jill Ireland.

Born in Glasgow in 1933, McCallum hailed from a musically gifted family, with his father David McCallum, Sr. a famous violinist and mother Dorothy Dorman a cellist.

However, McCallum would pursue acting after a local performance of Shakespeare’s King John was well received.

His thespian career grew as he featured in numerous theatre productions including The Lion in Winter and Julius Caesar.

His big break would follow a move to America where he was cast in the role of secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Despite initially having only a couple of lines in the show, McCallum was spotted by the producers and boosted as co-star of the spy series alongside Robert Vaughn.

He received two Emmy Award nominations during the show’s run and also starred in classic war films The Great Escape and Mosquito Squadron.

His portfolio grew on the small screen too, starring as a scientist in the 1975 sci-fi show The Invisible Man, and later as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in NCIS for 20 years.

Image: McCallum in The Invisible Man. Pic: AP McCallum’s voice was also synonymous with Cartoon Network’s series Ben 10.

A scholar and a gentleman

NCIS producers Steven Binder and David North paid tribute to the actor saying: “For over twenty 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.

“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.”