British actor David McCallum has died at the age of 90 of natural causes, surrounded by family at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
His son, Peter McCallum, said in a statement made public by CBS: “He was the kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father. He always put family before self.
“He was a true renaissance man — he was fascinated by science and culture, and would turn those passions into knowledge.
“For example, he 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.”
But who was McCallum and who else has paid tribute to the actor?
Who was David McCallum?
McCallum, who was raised by classical musicians in Glasgow, first tried his hand at music before landing a job as an actor. However, he would continue his music intermittently throughout his career, releasing four albums.
David McCallum was known for his long-running role as a medical examiner on hit CBS programme NCIS and for playing a secret agent in 1960s spy drama The Man From U.N.C.L.E..
As enigmatic Russian agent Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., he gained a large following and became one of the biggest TV stars of the era.
He was nominated for multiple Emmys and Golden Globes before the series concluded in 1968.
He then played an RAF officer in BBC drama Colditz, which was filmed at the infamous German POW camp.
McCallum went on to work with Joanna Lumley as a time-traveling agent in Sapphire & Steel at the end of the 1970s, in this sci-fi drama in which the duo were tasked by an unidentified authority to protect time.
On the big screen, McCallum played parts in films like A Night to Remember, The Great Escape, and The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Additionally, he made appearances in TV shows The Outer Limits and Perry Mason.
McCallum also found work as a voice actor for computer games and animated shows for kids. He released a novel in 2016, Once a Crooked Man, which he described as “the sort of good yarn you can pick up at an airport, read on the plane, and give to a friend at the other end”.
Tributes to David McCallum
Many of those close to McCallum flooded the internet with tributes.
NCIS co-star Wilmer Valderrama, who plays Nicholas Torres, posted on Instagram: “David, what an immense honor it was to share the screen with you.
“Your professionalism and ability to effortlessly take every one of us on a journey through your art will be felt forever,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, on her Instagram story, Emily Wickersham also remembered her late friend and co-star with a still from the series, “Had the pleasure of working with David for many years and he was the utmost professional and a true legend.”
Another NCIS co-star, Michael Weatherly, posted a picture of McCallum and Steve McQueen from The Great Escape that was signed.
David McCallum made every moment count, in life and on set. Let’s raise a jug and celebrate a funny fantastic authentic man. I’ve only got 3 autographs. Connery, Tony Bennett and McCallum. I felt the same way as Steve McQueen in this picture from The Great Escape: Wow! It’s David… pic.twitter.com/ve6hFvFkQD
— Michael Weatherly (@M_Weatherly) September 25, 2023
“David McCallum made every moment count, in life and on set. Let’s raise a jug and celebrate a funny fantastic authentic man.
“I’ve only got three autographs. [Sean] Connery, Tony Bennett and McCallum,” he continued. “I felt the same way as Steve McQueen in this picture from The Great Escape: Wow! It’s David McCallum! No one did it better.”