Actor David McCallum, who became a teen heartthrob in the hit series in the 1960s and was the eccentric medical examiner in the popular 40 years later, has died. CBS said McCallum died of natural causes and was surrounded by family at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
McCallum, a Scottish born actor, had been doing well in such films. The Beatles, blond actor with the Beatlesque haircut, became a household name in the mid-'60s.
Robert Vaughn, who starred as Napoleon Solo in the TV series, was an agent in a secretive, high-tech squad of crime fighters whose initials were for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Despite the Cold War, the agency had an international staff, with McCallum as Illya Kuryakin, Solo's Russian sidekick.
The show drew mixed reviews but eventually caught on, particularly with teenage girls attracted to McCallum's handsome, enigmatic, intellectual character. Illya was a full partner to Vaughn's character by 1965, and both stars were mobbed during their personal appearances.
The series lasted until 1968. Vaughn and McCallum reunited for a nostalgic TV movie in 1983.
In 2003, McCallum returned to television with an agency known by its initials - CBS' He played Dr. Donald Mallard, a bookish pathologist for the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, an agency handling crimes involving the Navy or the Marines. Mark Harmon played the NCIS boss.
He said that Ducky, who wore glasses and a bow tie and had an eye for pretty women, looked a little silly, but it was great fun to do. He took the role seriously, spending time in the coroner's office in Los Angeles to gain insights into how autopsies are conducted.
Co-star Lauren Holly took to Twitter to mourn: The previously announced 20th anniversary marathon on Monday night will now include an 'in memoriam' card in remembrance of McCallum.
At first, the series built a fan base, eventually reaching the list of top 10 shows. When he was in production, McCallum stayed in a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica.
NCIS' executive producers include Steven D. Binder and David North.
He appeared on Broadway in a 1968 comedy, and in a revival of starring Michael Sheen and David Suchet in 1999. He also appeared in several Off-Broadway productions.
In 1933, David Keith McCallum was born in Glasgow. His parents were musicians; his father, also named David, played violin, his mother played cello. The family moved to London when David was 3, where David Sr. played with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic.
David studied at Royal Academy of Music, where he learned the oboe. He decided he wasn't good enough for theater, studying briefly at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. But t an awful lot of parts for me, he said in a 2009 interview with the Los Angeles Times.
After serving in the military, he returned to London and began working on live television and movies. In 1957 he appeared in a feature film as part of the British Army's military service.
In 1963, McCallum was part of the big cast of the film, and he and his wife became friendly with Charles Bronson, also in the film. Ireland eventually fell in love with Bronson and she and McCallum divorced in 1967. McCallum had three sons from his first marriage, Paul, Jason and Valentine, and a son and daughter from his second marriage, Peter and Sophie. Peter McCallum, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice, said in a statement.
In 2007 when he was working with McCallum, he told a reporter: I've always felt the harder I work, the luckier I get.