David McCallum Biography: Age, Net Worth, Wife, Children, Career, Movies, Death

May 24, 2024 0 Posted By Haruna Ayuba

David Keith McCallum, born on September 19, 1933, and passed away on September 25, 2023, was a renowned Scottish actor and musician. He became widely known in the 1960s for his portrayal of secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

From 2003 onwards, McCallum experienced a resurgence in global fame for his portrayal of NCIS medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the long-running American TV series NCIS, a role he played for 20 seasons until his passing.


  • Full Name: David Keith McCallum
  • Date of Birth: September 19, 1933
  • Age: 91 years old (as of 2024)
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of Birth: Glasgow, Scotland
  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Profession: Actor
  • Height: 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 meters)
  • Parents: David McCallum Sr. (father), Dorothy Dorman (mother)
  • Siblings: N/A
  • Spouse: Katherine Carpenter (m. 1967)
  • Children: Peter McCallum, Paul McCallum, Sophie McCallum, Val McCallum, Jason McCallum
  • Relationship Status: Married until death
  • Net Worth: $10 million

Early Life and Education

David Keith McCallum was born on September 19, 1933, in Glasgow, Scotland. He was raised by his parents, David McCallum Sr. and Dorothy Dorman, in a modest but loving household.

When he was three, his family moved to London for his father to play as the leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. During the early years of the Second World War, he was evacuated back to Scotland and lived with his mother at Gartocharn by Loch Lomond.

McCallum received a scholarship to University College School in Hampstead, London, where he played the oboe as his parents encouraged him to prepare for a career in music.

At the age of 13, he started doing boy voices for the BBC radio repertory company. He also participated in local amateur drama and at 17, he played Oberon in an open-air production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Play and Pageant Union.

He left school at 18 and was conscripted for National Service, joining the British Army’s 3rd Battalion the Middlesex Regiment, which was seconded to the Royal West African Frontier Force. In March 1954, he was promoted to lieutenant. After leaving the army, he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where he had Joan Collins as a classmate.

Personal Life

On May 11, 1957, McCallum married actress Jill Ireland in London. They met during the making of the film Hell Drivers. Their marriage ended in February 1967, following a separation of around two years. McCallum and Ireland were parents to three sons: Paul, Jason, and Valentine (Val). Jason, who was adopted, tragically passed away from an accidental drug overdose in 1989.

Val McCallum is a guitarist who has performed with Jackson Browne on and off since 2002, as well as with Lucinda Williams from 2011 to 2016, among others.

On September 16, 1967, McCallum married fashion model-turned-interior designer Katherine Carpenter in Valley Stream, New York. The couple first met at a photo shoot for Glamour magazine in 1965 and remained together for 58 years. They had a son, Peter, and a daughter, Sophie.

McCallum and his wife were actively involved in charitable organizations supporting the United States Marine Corps: Katherine’s father was a Marine who served in the Battle of Iwo Jima and her brother was killed in the Vietnam War. On August 27, 1999, McCallum became a naturalized United States citizen.


In 1951, McCallum started working as an assistant stage manager for the Glyndebourne Opera Company. He began his career in acting by voicing boy characters for BBC Radio in 1947 and taking small roles in British films from the late 1950s.

His first acting part was in the film Whom the Gods Love, Die Young, where he played a doomed royal. A photograph of McCallum with a James Dean theme caught the attention of the Rank Organisation, who signed him in 1956.

However, in an interview with Alan Titchmarsh broadcast on November 3, 2010, McCallum mentioned that he had actually held his Equity card since 1946.

His early roles included playing an outlaw in Robbery Under Arms (1957), junior RMS Titanic radio operator Harold Bride in A Night to Remember (1958), and a juvenile delinquent in Violent Playground (1958). His first American film was Freud: The Secret Passion (1962), directed by John Huston, followed by a role in Peter Ustinov‘s Billy Budd.

McCallum portrayed Lt. Cmdr. Eric Ashley-Pitt (a.k.a., “Dispersal”) in The Great Escape, released in 1963, and also played Judas Iscariot in 1965’s The Greatest Story Ever Told. His television roles included appearances on The Outer Limits and Perry Mason in 1964.

He also starred as “The Invisible Man” in the second television series with this title, which debuted in the US in 1975 on NBC. The series was created by Harve Bennett.

McCallum’s role as the mysterious Russian agent Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. made him a sex symbol and his Beatle-style blond haircut provided a trendy contrast to Robert Vaughn‘s clean-cut appearance.

Initially conceived as a peripheral role, McCallum’s portrayal of Illya Kuryakin became iconic. In a 1998 interview, McCallum recalled his experience with the role.


  • 2023 Winner DGC Craft Award: Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Dramatic Series
  • 2023 Winner DGC Craft Award: Best Sound Editing – Feature Film
  • 2023 Nominee DGC Craft Award: Best Sound Editing – Feature Film
  • 2022 Winner DGC Craft Award
  • 2021 Winner DGC Craft Award

Net Worth

David McCallum’s net worth at the time of his demise is estimated to be $10 million, a testament to his successful career in entertainment.


McCallum passed away at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City on September 25, 2023, just six days after celebrating his 90th birthday.

NCIS aired a special episode in honor of McCallum on February 12, 2024. The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation established a donation fund in memory of McCallum.

Social Media

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  • Twitter: N/A


  • The Great Escape
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • The Replacements

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