‘I Will Miss You, My Friend’: NCIS Cast Remembers Late Co-Star David McCallum


NCIS stars Mark Harmon, Brian Dietzen, Pauley Perrette and more have paid tribute to the late David McCallum, who has passed away aged 90.

The actor, who was perhaps best known for playing Chief Medical Examiner Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the long-running CBS drama, died of natural causes at New York Presbyterian Hospital, almost a week after turning 90.

David's son Peter announced his father's passing on Monday, prompting the Scottish star's colleagues to share their memories of working with him.

Mark Harmon, who played the lead role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS until 2021, shared a statement to TV Line. Paying tribute to his friend and former co-star, he said: "David lived a great, full, long life.

David McCallum acting alongside Mark Harmon in NCIS
Mark Harmon and David McCallum starred alongside each other on NCIS

"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."

Brian Dietzen, who plays Dr Jimmy Palmer, reacted to David's death on social media, posting a carousel of images of David and the rest of the cast, including a selfie of the pair eating lunch together on set. 

Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer and David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard on NCIS
Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer and David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard

In the caption, the 45-year-old penned a heartfelt tribute to his late co-star. "A life well lived," he began. 

"David McCallum was a mentor, a great scene partner, a wonderful father and husband, and he was my dear friend."

He went on to detail the first time he met David on the set of the show. "I was booked to work one day on the show, but David and I hit it off. Our scene turned out well and they invited me back for more scenes with this screen legend. Several more.

"Over the course of the next 20 years, David and I (along with our alter-ego's Ducky and Jimmy) developed a deep friendship and love of our shared work."

Brian continued: "He was a joy to work with. Always had a smile. Always had something new to add to the page, and ALWAYS had the ability to steal every scene he was in! He had a quick and wry sense of humor and was generous with advice when I asked for it. He was also quick to share praise for work well done. I loved getting a phone call from him after a show aired to hear him talk about the scenes (even as he appeared less and less in our show)."

David McCallum as Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in NCIS
David McCallum played Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in NCIS

The star explained how the 'friendship and respect" between Ducky and Jimmy onscreen was mirrored when the cameras weren't rolling. "Whether it was going on field trips for character research, attending charity events or catching some golf together, he was always up for an adventure. The guy could do anything," he penned. 

"He lived to be 90 years old, was a part of multiple hit tv shows, movies, broadway shows, and wrote a couple novels, all while raising a loving family.

"Thank you David. Love you my friend. I'll miss you," David added. 

Pauley, who played Abby Sciuto from 2003 to 2018, also took to social media with a heartfelt post about David. 

Pauley Perrette and David McCallum
Pauley shared a tribute to David on Instagram

Alongside a series of photos of the pair, she wrote: "Oh David. What a life. What a legend. What a journey.

"And your legacy will always be the love you have for your family. Love to Katherine and the kids and the grandkids, your absolutely very favorite things."

Meanwhile, Michael Weatherly – aka Tony DiNozzo – penned on Twitter, now X: "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 McCallum! No one did it better. We were lucky to have him bring us Ducky. Let’s send all the love in the world to his beautiful family. Rest In Peace David."

Michael Weatherly in NCIS
Michael Weatherly played Tony DiNozzo on the show

Wilmer Valderrama, who plays Nicholas Torres, took to Instagram with a photo of the pair in character. "David, what an immense honor it was to share the screen with you," he wrote. "Your professionalism and ability to effortlessly take every one of us on a journey through your art will be felt forever.

"I will miss you, my friend."

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