NCIS’ Mark Harmon Shares First Memory of Late Co-Star: ‘He Lived a Great, Full, Long Life’
He’ll always be the Ducky to his Gibbs. NCIS alum Mark Harmon remembered his co-star David McCallum in a beautiful tribute after his cast mate’s death.
McCallum — who played Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on NCIS from Seasons 1 to 20 — died on the morning of Monday, September 25, 2023, from natural causes. He was 90 years old. McCallum was survived by his wife of 56 years, Katherine McCallum. In a statement to TV Line, Harmon, who played NCIS Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs from Seasons 1 to 19, remembered the first time he met McCallum while working on NCIS.
“David lived a great, full, long life,” Harmon said. “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.
McCallum passed away at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. A CBS representative confirmed his death. “For over 20 years, David McCallum endeared himself to audiences around the world playing the wise, quirky, and sometimes enigmatic, Dr. Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard,” said NCIS producers Seven D. Binder and David North said in a statement at the time. “But as much as his fans may have loved him, those who worked side by side with David loved him that much more. 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.”
A representative for CBS added in a statement, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of David McCallum and privileged that CBS was his home for so many years. David was a gifted actor and author, and beloved by many around the world. He led an incredible life, and his legacy will forever live on through his family and the countless hours on film and television that will never go away. We will miss his warmth and endearing sense of humor that lit up any room or soundstage he stepped onto, as well as the brilliant stories he often shared from a life well-lived. Our hearts go out to his wife Katherine and his entire family, and all those who knew and loved David.”
Peter McCallum, one of McCallum’s four children, called his dad “the kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father” and a “true renaissance man” for his work as Ducky on NCIS in a statement to TV Line. “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,” Peter said.
McCallum’s son continued, “After returning from the hospital to their apartment, I asked my mother if she was OK before she went to sleep. 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.”