David Keith McCallum, Jr. (born September 19, 1933) is a prolific Scottish actor and the son of concertmaster violinist David McCallum, Sr.. He is best known for his role as Illya Kuryakin, a Russian-born secret agent, on the popular 1960s television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Ducky Mallard on the series NCIS.
Although McCallum became a familiar face on television, in British shows such as Colditz (1973), he never repeated the popular success he had had as Kuryakin. His best-known other roles were in Sapphire & Steel opposite Joanna Lumley; as the lead in a mid-1970s remake of The Invisible Man; and as Judas Iscariot in The Greatest Story Ever Told.
In the 1960s, McCallum recorded albums for Capitol Records with producer David Axelrod, such as Music: A Bit More of Me (1966) and Music: It's Happening Now! (1967). The most well known of his pieces today is The Edge, which was sampled by Dr. Dre as the intro and riff to the track The Next Episode. McCallum did not sing on these records, as many television stars of the 60s did when offered recording contracts, but used the opportunity to make a different statement. As a classically trained musician, he conceived a blend of oboe, french horn, and strings with guitar and drums, and presented instrumental interpretations of hits of the day. The official arranger on the albums was H.P. Barnum, but McCallum conducted, and contributed a few original compositions over the course of four LPs. The first two "Music: A Part of Me", and "Music: A Bit More of Me" have been issued together on CD on the Zonophone label.
McCallum co-starred with Charles Bronson in The Great Escape. He introduced his wife, Jill Ireland, to Bronson on the set. A few years later, she left McCallum and married Bronson. As of May 2008, he is one of only six surviving stars of the film, the others being Richard Attenborough, James Garner, John Leyton, Lawrence Montaigne and Angus Lennie.
McCallum guest starred in the television series seaQuest DSV as the law-enforcement officer Frank Cobb of the fictional Broken Ridge of the Ausland Confederation, an underwater mining off the coast of Australia by the Great Barrier Reef during the series' first season. He also had a guest star role in Babylon 5.
In 1994, McCallum narrated the acclaimed documentaries Titanic: Death of a Dream and Titanic: The Legend Lives On for A&E Television Networks, the second Titanic-centric project he worked on. The first was the 1958 film A Night to Remember. A 1990s rock-rap group from Argentina named itself Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas in honor of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. character.
Since 2003 McCallum has been starring in the CBS television series NCIS, as Dr Donald "Ducky" Mallard, one of the key characters. In an inside joke, when Agent Jethro Gibbs is asked, "What did Ducky look like when he was younger?," Gibbs responds, "Illya Kuryakin."
According to the behind-the-scenes feature on the 2006 DVD of NCIS season 1, McCallum became an expert in forensics to play the Dr "Ducky" Mallard character, including appearing at Medical Examiner conventions. Bellisario says on it that McCallum's knowledge became so vast that Bellisario (at the time of the interview) was considering making him a technical advisor on the show.