David McCallum Almost Lost the Role of ‘Ducky’ on NCIS to Another Hollywood Star


NCIS would not have been the same without the endearing medical examiner Ducky, but he was almost played by a different actor.

Ducky was backed from the start by NCIS actor David McCallum, but there was another prominent name thrown into the mix who may have taken on the role.

Fans all over the world have been devastated by the news that Donald “Ducky” Mallard d1ed six days after his 90th birthday last month.

McCallum had been a part of Ducky since the first episode, serving as the team’s principal medical examiner until he retired in March 2019.

He wasn’t quite ready to leave it all behind, so he was recruited back as a part-time historian, and CBS fans enjoyed seeing him drop in now and then.

NCIS creators have disclosed that the Brit wasn’t always promised the role because another Hollywood celebrity was also interested.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the police procedural, some of NCIS’ behind-the-scenes stars spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about bringing the show to life.

It is commonly known that Star Wars actor Harrison Ford was considered for the role of Agent Leroy Gibbs, with Mark Harmon eventually being cast in the role.

Executive producer Charles Floyd Johnson, on the other hand, recalls that Urban Cowboy actor Scott Glenn was “considered very strongly” for the role of Gibbs.

“Scott Glenn, yes,” said NCIS casting director Susan Bluestein. Scott Glenn was also a candidate for the part of Ducky.

“There was a lot of discussion about Scott Glenn, and ultimately Scott Glenn passed.”

Glenn had already been in Vertical Limit, Silverado, The Hill, Silence of the Lambs, and The Hunt for Red October, so he was well-known on the big screen.


Despite his doubts, NCIS creator Don Bellisario was adamant that McCallum be cast as Ducky.

When they chose David McCallum as Ducky, the studio protested, ‘No way, we’re not casting this old character actor in the part,’ according to director James Whitmore.

“And Don [Bellisario] said, ‘If you don’t, we’re not doing the show,'” she continued. He took it quite seriously.

The studio agreed to it because, well, David McCallum is a goldmine.

Since McCallum’s d3ath, fans and celebrities have paid tribute to him, including former co-star Harmon.

“David lived a great, full, long life,” he stated in a statement.

“I was in awe when I first met him, and everyone on the show was honored to have toed the line alongside him.”

I’m sending my sympathies to Katherine, David’s wife, and his family.

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