British actor David McCallum, who played the role of forensic doctor “Ducky” in the series NCIS for 20 seasons, has died at the age of 90, several American media outlets reported on Monday.
CBS said that the man who first became known to the general public in the 1960s by playing the charming role of Ilya Kuryakin in the series “Very Special Agents” died Monday surrounded by his family in a New York hospital.
His son Peter said, according to the channel: “He was the kindest, most wonderful, most patient and loving father.”
“He was fascinated by science and culture and turned those passions into knowledge,” he added, explaining that his father would have been able to perform an autopsy “based on his decades-long research for his role at NCIS.”
A student at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, David McCallum made his film debut in 1963’s The Great Escape, notably alongside Steve McQueen.
But when he was cast the following year to play the mysterious Soviet secret agent Ilya Kuryakin in Very Special Agents, his career really took off.
With his thick blond hair and turtlenecks, David McCallum was a certain icon of glamor.
“Very Special Agents” only lasted four years, but his character followed him for life.
“It’s been more than 30 years, but I can’t escape,” he told the New York Times in 1998.
Since 2003, he began his role as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, a forensic specialist with the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS, in the series of the same name. A true hit, millions of viewers in the United States and around the world will follow it, and it will continue to air on American television throughout its 20 seasons.
Thanks to his distinctive bow ties, he appeared in all but one episode of the first fifteen seasons, before making sporadic appearances from season sixteen onwards.
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