David McCallum
British actor David McCallum passes away at 90. REUTERS

David McCallum, a beloved actor known for his roles in iconic television series such as 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' and 'NCIS', has passed away at the age of 90, leaving behind a rich legacy in the entertainment industry.

Widely recognised for his portrayal of Illya Kuryakin in the 1960s hit series 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.', McCallum was not only a talented actor but also a trailblazer in the world of television.

Meanwhile, a statement was issued by his family in which they called him a "true renaissance man".

"He was the kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father. He always put family before self," his son Peter McCallum said in a statement.

"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."

Throughout his extensive career, McCallum captivated audiences with his charismatic performances and memorable characters. His passing marks the end of an era and leaves a void in the hearts of his fans. Born on September 19, 1933, in Glasgow, Scotland, David McCallum's interest in acting was evident from a young age.

As a child, he participated in local theatre productions and quickly developed a passion for the craft. He eventually made his way to London, where he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and honed his skills as an actor.

David McCallum's breakthrough role came in 1964 when he was cast as the suave and mysterious Illya Kuryakin in 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' and flourished. This role catapulted him to fame and solidified his status as a television icon.

Throughout the show's four-season run, McCallum's portrayal of Kuryakin made him a fan favourite and garnered him critical acclaim. His chemistry with co-star Robert Vaughn, who played Napoleon Solo, added an extra layer of excitement to the show and further solidified its success.

He met Jill Ireland, already a rising actress in Britain, when they were both cast in the Rank production 'Robbery Under Arms' in 1957. He proposed seven days after they met, and they married that spring. In 1961, when he was cast as Judas Iscariot in 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' (the movie would not be completed and released until 1965), the couple moved to Los Angeles.

During this time, their relationship appeared to flourish, and the two had three children. Additionally, Ireland became a busy TV actress and made several guest appearances on 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.', playing three different characters.

But the strain of Mr McCallum's stardom took a toll on their marriage, and Ireland left him for the actor Charles Bronson, whom she had met when Mr McCallum and Mr Bronson were both filming "The Great Escape" (1963). Less than a year after their divorce in 1967, Mr McCallum married Katherine Carpenter, a model.

Mr. McCallum and his wife lived in Manhattan. CBS reports revealed that he died in a Manhattan hospital, but failed to mention why he was hospitalised in the first place.

Moreover, McCallum's unique charm and undeniable talent made him stand out among his peers, earning him a dedicated fan base that still holds strong today. He went on to appear in numerous television shows and movies, showcasing his versatility as an actor.

In 2003, McCallum achieved yet another milestone in his career when he joined the cast of the hit crime drama series 'NCIS' as Dr Donald "Ducky" Mallard. His role as the eccentric and endearing medical examiner endeared him to fans once again, as he brought a level of wisdom and humour to the character that was unmatched.

Despite being in his seventies at the time of his casting, McCallum proved that age was no obstacle to delivering captivating performances. McCallum's longevity in the industry is a testament to his talent and dedication.

McCallum's commitment to his craft and ability to bring depth and complexity to his characters set him apart from others in the industry.