This one hurts. NCIS has been riding high recently, between a renewal, a new spin-off, and a celebration marking the show’s twentieth anniversary. CBS even designated September 25th as NCIS Day, as a way of showing appreciation to the franchise and the fans who have kept up with it.
Unfortunately, the NCIS family has lost a crucial member in David McCallum. The actor, who spent two decades playing lovable team member Donald “Ducky” Mallard, died on Monday at New York Presbyterian Hospital. According to TV Line, he died of natural causes. He was 90 years old, and had just celebrated a birthday on September 19th.
Did David McCallum have health problems?
Steven D. Binder and David North, the executive producers of NCIS, issued a joint statement that made clear how important McCallum was to the heart of the show. “As much as his fans may have loved him, those who worked side by side with David loved him that much more”, they explained. “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 honor 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.”
CBS also issued a statement, praising the actor for his consistency and his, but the most impactful words came from one of McCallum’s four children, Peter. He recounted the actor’s final days, and asserted that he was youthful as ever in spirit– an observation that is irrefutable to those who saw him perform on NCIS.
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“[David was] the kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father”, Peter wrote. “He was a true renaissance man — he was fascinated by science and culture and would turn those passions into knowledge…” Peter also relayed how his mother, and McCallum’s wife of 56 years, Katherine, had been processing the loss.
“After returning from the hospital to their apartment, I asked my mother if she was OK before she went to sleep”, he revealed. “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 Day will proceed on CBS, and the three episodes that constitute the event’s min-marathon will include an “in memoriam” card honoring McCallum.
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