‘NCIS’: David McCallum’s Father Was a Massive Influence on Led Zeppelin Legend Jimmy Page

by Jonathan Howard

Many folks don’t think about the influences of majorly influential artists. What does NCIS star, David McCallum’s dad have to do with Jimmy Page? Page helped influence the next generation of artists and rock n’ roll musicians all over the world. As a member of Led Zeppelin, the legendary guitar player helped revolutionize rock and has been performing for almost 60 years.

While Led Zeppelin hasn’t played together in decades, the influence of Jimmy Page and the band cannot be overstated. Zeppelin experimented with sounds and the addition of new instruments constantly. One of Page’s most distinct sounds comes from the use of a bow on the guitar. Like a violin player, Page drags a box across the guitar. However, this was not his idea originally.

Surprisingly, NCIS star David McCallum has a connection to the legendary band and Page’s style of play. Back in the mid-1960s, when Page was a member of the Yardbirds, McCallum’s father and he had a recording session. The NCIS actor’s father played violin. Page remembers the encounter well in a 2008 Rolling Stone interview.

“One of the session violinists was [McCallum’s father]…this guy was quite friendly. He said to me one day…’Have you ever tried bowing the guitar?’ I said it wouldn’t work.” The innovation seemed silly at the time.

After giving it some thought, the two discussed the matter. After Jimmy Page explained the guitar wasn’t arched like the violin, McCallum’s father responded, “Have a go,” and he gave him a box to try it out.

Page remembers the moment well, saying “I tried it and realized there was something in it. I don’t remember if I used it on any sessions, but I certainly used it the minute I was in the Yardbirds.”

‘NCIS’ Star David McCallum is Still Going

Not only is NCIS actor David McCallum the son of the violinist that helped inspire Jimmy Page creatively, but he has also made quite the career on his own. The Scottish actor has spent his career playing quite a variety of roles. From The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to his time as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard. When his father and Jimmy Page were working together, McCallum was already in his 30s. His father, David Sr., was born in 1897 and passed in 1972. As a graduate of the Royal College of Music in London, the elder McCallum was quite the accomplished artist.

Going all the way back to 2003, David McCallum has played Dr. Mallard on NCIS. As the chief medical examiner on the show, Mallard handles some of the most sensitive parts of investigations. However, McCallum did more to prepare for the role than memorize his lines.

When McCallum was preparing for his role on NCIS, he attending medical examiner conventions. The actor studied forensics in order to better play his role. That takes dedication beyond the norm. McCallum takes after his dad a bit, and for a brief stint, recorded instrumental renditions of popular songs of the 1960s. As a classically trained musician, he insisted on playing a variety of instruments including English horn and oboe.