NCIS’ David McCallum Is ‘Grand-Ducky’ to 8 & Caring Dad to Kids Who’re “in awe” of their “sniper” grandmother
- David McCallum had his wife taken from him by his co-star.
- Becoming a single father was the hardest part of his divorcing from his first wife.
- McCallum found love again but lost his son.
- The "NCIS" legend is now a grandfather of eight grandkids, who sometimes call him "grand-ducky."
NCIS legend David McCallum has been on CBS show since the beginning. He is best known for playing Russian spy Ilya Kuryakin in "The Man From UNCLE", which earned him the main role in the investigative series.
Before joining NCIS, McCallum appeared in several films, including "Great Escape", where he co-starred with Charles Bronson.
This movie doesn't leave fond memories for McCallum as this is where his ex-wife Jill Ireland and Bronson began their romance.
Your wife leaving you for a famous actor, can feel like the end of the world for an aspiring young actor, but McCallum has taken it well. He said he never hated Bronson, and tries not to dwell on negative thoughts too long, but he and Ireland shared three children, which made it difficult and painful for him.
Bronson told his co-worker he was going to marry his wife, but McCallum remembers nothing of those words. Bronson and Ireland remained together until her death in 1990.
The model lost her battle with breast cancer and passed at the age of 54. Life as a single father of three wasn't easy for McCallum, but he eventually found happiness.
David McCallum found new love and helped him overcome another loss
After losing his wife to Bronson in 1963, McCallum met his beloved Katherine Carpenter in 1965 at a photoshoot for "The Man From UNCLE".
Carpenter worked as an actress and model, in those days she was one of the models while the "NCIS" star co-starred with Robert Vaughn.
The model was 21 years old at the time, and McCallum was 11 years older than her, but the couple made their relationship public shortly after they met.
Even though McCallum was legally married to Ireland, he showed off his newfound love during "The Man From UNCLE" promotional tour.
After several years of dating, the couple married in 1967 after McCallum finalized his divorce from Ireland. They have been married for over 50 years and have two children, Peter and Sophie.
Carpenter has a few appearances on NCIS, but she and her husband reportedly do charity work together.
McCallum faced the worst event of his life when his 27-year-old son Jason died of an accidental overdose.
The actor avoided speaking about his son's passing for many years,, but 21 years later, in 2010, he opened up about his regrets for not being there to help him during that time.
After his divorce from Ireland, he moved to New York from California, where his children lived,. That meant the actor had less contact with Jason.
McCallum admitted that Jason was hanging out with the wrong people. His mother tried her best to help him out, but the "drug culture" took his young life.
Rather than dwelling on "what if" scenarios, McCallum said he's accepted his son is gone, but continues to cherish memories of him.
Before Jason died, McCallum announced that he was expecting a child, and now his son Tony is the legacy he left behind and a living memory of Jason. The actor had his wife helping him overcome this painful loss.
David McCallum Is Grandfather Ready to Pass Down His Acting Tips
McCallum is now 89 years old and a grandfather. His children have chosen career paths outside of acting, and some are still in the spotlight.
His son Val from his marriage to Ireland is a musician in Los Angeles. His brother Paul is a photographer and lives in sunny California.
From his marriage to Carpenter, McCallum's son Peter works as an advertising executive. His daughter Sophie worked in real estate before devoting herself to raising her children.
McCallum's kids made him a grandfather of eight, and he's happy to give them some notes on what it takes to be an actor.
He continues to be passionate about his acting career, and shows no signs of quitting. McCallum said he hopes and will continue to make NCIS appearances for as long as possible.
As for his grandchildren, McCallum said he doesn't want to be called "Grandpa" because it sounds old, so they call him granddaddy.
When his grandchildren are particularly funny, they call him "Grand Ducky", reminding him of his NCIS days and inspired by his NCIS character Donald "Ducky" Mallard, whom the actor doesn't mind.