David McCallum passed away on 25 September 2023 at the age of 90. The actor was born in 1933 in Glasgow and started his acting career in 1947.
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Throughout his 70 year long career, the actor worked mostly in the United States where he first became a star in 1964. He then, solidified his star status in 2003 when he appeared in the pilot for NCIS. At the time, neither McCallum or CBS knew that the spin-off was going to become a global phenomenon.
In the show, McCallum played the endearing and funny medical examiner Ducky, his character quickly becoming a fan favourite. Ducky appeared in more than 400 episodes which allowed McCallum to amass a significant net worth.
David McCallum’s impressive career
While the actor was known by the younger generation for his role on NCIS, McCallum’s career started far away from Hollywood. He started acting on BBC Radio in 1947, only crossing the Atlantic ocean in 1962.
In the US, he played some iconic roles. In 1964, McCallum was cast as one of the stars of NBC show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The spy show started a new trend in TV and a few years later other channels had their own spy series. U.N.C.L.E launched McCallum’s career and turned him into a pop culture icon.
Strengthening his icon status, McCallum’s career led him to CBS where he joined NCIS. The show first aired in 2003 as a spin off to JAG. Very quickly, NCIS became incredibly popular. Since its 7th season, the show has been the most watched show in the US. It peaked with season 11 which gathered over 21 million viewers. The show is also a global success, being aired all over the world.
McCallum partly retired from the show in 2019. McCallum's leaving, as well as other original stars, led to the show becoming less popular. Its 20th season which finished airing in May 2023, only gathered around 9 million viewers each week.
David McCallum’s impressive net worth
McCallum was lucky to be one of the most iconic actors of his generation. His work over seven decades allowed him to make a lot of money doing what he loved.
According to celebritynetworths.com, the actor was worth $15 million. According to the same website, the actor earned $175,000 per episode of NCIS.
While this is a lot of money, it pales in comparison to the lead of the show Mark Harmon who reportedly made over $500,000 per episode. Sean Murray, another star of the show, is reported to make over $300,000 per episode while Michael Weatherly made over $250,000.
This salary doesn’t include re-runs for which McCallum was also allegedly paid.