David McCallum, Star Of The Man From UNCLE, Has Died At 90

The son of two orchestral violinists, McCallum was immersed in culture from the jump. He played the oboe but evinced an interest in acting fairly early on. His big-screen breakthrough, like Vaughn, came in a Sturges film. McCallum was the POW who devised a way to dispose of the dirt from the tunneling effort in “The Great Escape.” A year later, he was Kuryakin. What came next?

McCallum stuck to television and played another would-be World War II escapee in the early-’70s BBC series “Colditz.” He worked steadily (and starred in Jim Wynorski’s super-sleazy 1990 horror flick “The Haunting of Morella”), but became something of a journeyman until he hit, er, paydirt as medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on “NCIS” in 2013. The CBS ratings powerhouse was his homecourt until the end, and fans of the series are always quick to single him out as a favorite. He was on the show for all 20 seasons, and his presence will be missed on the show. “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,” said NCIS executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North in a statement.

But it’s his intoxicatingly fashionable Illya Kuryakin that will echo throughout the ages. For four seasons of television, McCallum was a lethal, turtlenecked dreamboat. Survivors also include grandchildren Julia, Luca, Iain, Stella, Gavin, George, Alessandro and Whit.

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