How ‘NCIS’ Star David McCallum’s Military Service Prepared Him for Iconic Roles

by Shelby Scott

David McCallum is well-known as an actor for his role as Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on CBS‘s hit show “NCIS.” McCallum has been playing on the show since its premiere in 2003 and, obviously, has gained lots of critical acclaim for his long commitment to “NCIS.” However, the actor revealed to Stay Thirsty Magazine that it was actually his military service that prepared him for some of his most iconic roles.

In an interview with Stay Thirsty, the site’s interviewer asked how his military service helped him prepare for early roles like his part in “The Man in U.N.C.L.E.” and “NCIS.”

In response, he detailed his commission to the British Army. From there, he immediately resided with the C Company of the 3rd Battalion, Gold Coast Regiment. McCallum said that his regiment was part of the Royal West African Frontier Force.

He explained that his experience helped him secure “good stead parts” in acting. These include works like “The Great Escape”, “Mosquito Squadron”, and BBC’s “Colditz” series. Basically, he was able to reference knowledge from his time spent in the military to best inform his performances.

An article published by Fame10 shared nine facts about the actor that fans may not be aware of. One is that McCallum is “obsessive” about his roles, but I like to interpret it as thorough. Fame10 said that for his role as medical examiner on “NCIS,” the actor studied with the Los Angeles Chief Pathologist. McCallum is now able to perform autopsies in real life.

Additionally, for his part as Flight Lieutenant Simon Carter on “Colditz,” McCallum specifically drew on his military experience during his time with the National Service in West Africa.

‘NCIS’ David McCallum Displays Genuinity Both In His Roles and as an Individual.

McCallum is clearly a dedicated and well-informed actor who spends much time studying to portray his roles properly. However, he also previously revealed his introverted side. Despite “Ducky” Mallard’s outgoing, opinionated, and always honest personality, the character’s actor tends to be more reserved.

During a 2017 interview with Closer Weekly, McCallum said, “I was a little sad at the beginning that I lost my privacy.”

And as the actor is up in age, although he does remain incredibly fit and healthy, it makes sense he would want to maintain a relatively lowkey public profile. Nevertheless, fans find him, but he shared that most remain relatively respectful. During the interview, he said most fans quietly approach him and compliment his work. They typically then leave him to go about his day.

Additionally, because of his “incognito streak,” McCallum has more frequently stepped back from his role as medical examiner. However, he still makes occasional appearances on the set of “NCIS.” And though less common, the appearances are all the more special as Dr. “Ducky” Mallard is still beloved on the show almost 20 years following its initial premiere.