David McCallum Was Crucial in Getting ‘NCIS’ on the Air


The beloved television series NCIS is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall. With a unique cast and incredible chemistry, NCIS quickly became a force of nature, generating multiple spin-offs and dominating CBS's ratings. This success is largely due to the contributions of one cast member: David McCallum, who sadly passed away at the age of 90. Without McCallum, there would simply be no NCIS.

The creators of NCIS faced opposition when casting McCallum. The studio executives were reluctant to cast him in the role of Ducky, but the show's director, Don Bellisario, fought for McCallum. And it was worth it – McCallum's portrayal of the witty and amiable Ducky brought a unique charm to the series. His chemistry with his co-stars was undeniable, stealing every scene effortlessly.


Before his time on NCIS, McCallum gained fame for his role in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. As secret agent Illya Kuryakin, McCallum captivated audiences with his mysterious and unflappable demeanor. His performance brought a distinct edge to the series, earning him two Emmy nominations and a dedicated fan following.

McCallum's contributions to television extended far beyond NCIS. He had a career renaissance thanks to the show and continued acting until his death. His co-stars unanimously remember his professionalism and kindness.

NCIS owes much of its success to David McCallum and his iconic portrayal of Ducky Mallard. Without him, the series would never have made it to television. It's a fitting tribute to a man who left a profound impact on millions of viewers and the entertainment industry as a whole.


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