Remembering 11 'NCIS' Stars Who Passed Away Since Filming the Show

The popular crime drama 'NCIS' has been on the air for almost two decades, but not all of its actors have lived to see its success. Here are 10 stars who sadly died after filming their roles on the show.


The CBS show NCIS has lost 10 actors who appeared on the series over the years. Some of these stars played memorable recurring characters that fans loved.

We send our heartfelt condolences to their families, friends and fans. Rest in peace.

David McCallum

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The long time Scottish-born film and television actor passed away on September 25. According to a CBS spokesperson, David passed away surrounded by his friends and family, from natural causes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

He is best known for his role as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on NCIS, portraying the Medical Examiner turned NCIS historian from the first season until its most recent. Get more details.

Annie Wersching

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Annie Wersching arrives at Paramount+'s 2nd Annual "Star Trek Day' celebration at Skirball Cultural Center on September 08, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Annie appeared as Deputy DA Gail Walsh in the NCIS Season 8 episode “False Witness.” She’s also known for roles in 24The Vampire Diaries and The Last of Us.

The actress sadly died in January of 2023 due to cancer at the age of 45.

René Auberjonois

MIAMI, FL - JULY 01: Rene Auberjonois attends Florida Supercon on July 1, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Florida Supercon)

The actor played the role of Dr. Felix Blackwell in Season 10 Episode 3, “Phoenix.” He’s perhaps best known for playing Odo for 7 seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

He sadly passed away after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 79 in 2019.

Vachik Mangassarian

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 28: Vachik Mangassarian attends screening of "Price For Freedom" at Laemmle Music Hall on June 28, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Vachik appeared on NCIS in the role of a fake Iranian president, as well as on the spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles. You might also recognize him for roles on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

He died in January 2022 at the age of 78.

Gregory Itzin

LAGUNA BEACH, CA - AUGUST 23: Actor Gregory Itzin attends the Festival of Arts Celebrity Benefit Concert and Pageant on August 23, 2014 in Laguna Beach, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Festival of Arts / Pageant of the Masters)

The actor played the role of Spencer Downing and Director Charlie in NCIS in 2003, and then again in a guest role in 2020. He also starred in TV shows like 24 and Judging Amy. He sadly passed away in July of 2022 due to complications amid emergency surgery.

Heath Freeman

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 11: Actor/producer Heath Freeman arrives at the premiere of "Skateland" at the Arclight Theater on May 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The actor played the role of Benjamin Frank in the show, and also starred in Bones as Howard Epps. He tragically passed away at the age of 41 back in November of 2021, and a cause of death was revealed a year later.

Miguel Ferrer

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Actor Miguel Ferrer arrives to The American Film Institute Presents "Twin Peaks-The Entire Mystery" Blu-Ray/DVD Release Screening at the Vista Theatre on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The actor appeared on NCIS: Los Angeles for seven seasons as Assistant Director Owen Granger. He had also appeared on Crossing Jordan and in the film RoboCop.

Miguel‘s throat cancer was incorporated into his role on NCIS as the cancer started to affect his voice. He has been on the show since 2012 and decided not to quit after his diagnosis.

Miguel sadly died in January of 2017 at the age of 61, and his first cousin George Clooney paid tribute.

Ravil Isyanov

WESTWOOD, CA - JULY 15: Actor Ravil Isyanov attends the world premiere of "K-19: The Widowmaker" at the Mann Village & Bruin Theatres on July 15, 2002 in Westwood, California. The film opens nationwide in theaters on Friday July 19, 2002. (Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images)

The Russian-born actor starred in NCIS: Los Angeles. He played mobster Anatoli Kirkin from 2013 up until the time of his death.

He sadly died in September 2021 due to cancer at the age of 59.

Ralph Waite

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Ralph Waite attends the 'The Waltons' 40th anniversary reunion at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/WireImage)

The actor played Jackson Gibbs, father of lead Leroy Jethro Gibbs, in eight episodes of the show just before his passing.

The fictional character died in the Season 11 episode “Honor Thy Father,” just three months after Ralph died in February 2014 at 85. He was most famous for playing the patriarch John Walton on the beloved series The Waltons.

Sam Sarpong

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 28: Actor Sam Sarpong arrives at the 2009 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The actor appeared in the Season 1 episode “Seadog,” and went on to take on roles in ER, Everybody Hates Chris, 24 and American Crime Story, and hosted MTV’s Yo Mamma.

He tragically died in an apparent suicide in 2015 at the age of 40.

Cheney Kley

Chaney Kley at the premiere of "Darkness Falls" at the National Theatre in Westwood, Ca. Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2003. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect.

The star played Corporal Paul Brinkman in “Hung Out to Dry,” the show’s second episode. He’s best known for recurring character Officer Asher on The Shield.

He tragically passed away in July of 2007 at just 34 years old, a result of complications from sleep apnea.

Find out who will be on NCIS Season 21.

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  1. Jill Klinefelter says:

    An absolutely, spectacular show because of the great actors!!!

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