David McCallum’s death was a devastating blow to NCIS fans. He was one of the show’s most beloved characters for twenty years, and the fact that he was slated to return for the upcoming season will make his absence even more notable. Several collaborators and co-stars have issued tributes to McCallum, including former NCIS lead Mark Harmon.
Harmon released a statement via TV Line in which he praised McCallum’s commanding screen presence. “David lived a great, full, long life”, the actor noted. “I was in awe when I first met him and all of us on the show were honored to have toed a mark opposite him. My condolences go out to Katherine and his family.”
Were Mark Harmon and David McCallum friends?
Harmon and McCallum acted opposite one another for 19 seasons, and shared several memorable scenes. They continued to interact with one another after Harmon’s character left the show, since he’s stayed on as an executive producer and McCallum has stayed on in a supporting role.
This is not the first time that Harmon has sung the praises of his co-star. During a 2019 interview with Entertainment Tonight, the actor considered talked about how lucky he was to have worked with McCallum for so many years:
"“I’ll always remember David McCallum. And I thought that from day one here, because I thought how fortunate this entire cast, whoever it is, is lucky enough to work with him and watch his work ethic every day. And take from his experience, what he’s had in this industry, for a number of years, in different shows.”"
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Harmon was actually overwhelmed when he first met McCallum, since he’d grown up watching the actor in classic shows from the 1960s and 70s. NCIS producer Steven D. Binder told TV Insider that Harmon gushed about McCallum’s role in the spy classic The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-68), to which McCallum replied, jokingly: “Good God, man, that was 40 years ago!”
Needless to say, McCallum won’t be by forgotten by Harmon and the fans. During the recent NCIS Day marathon, CBS ran an “in memoriam” card to honor to the small screen icon.
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