‘NCIS’ Star David McCallum’s ‘Abiding Regret’ Was Not Being There For Late Son

May 13, 2022 by apost team

“NCIS” is a television series that follows a fictional team of special agents, their work and their personal lives. The show combines elements of military dramas and police procedural genres, making for an extremely impactful show that has gone on to become a fan favorite and phenomenon. “NCIS” first aired back in Sept. 2003 and has since gone into broadcast syndication as one of the longest-running scripted non-animated primetime TV series.

With such an impactful show, it’s no surprise that many of its main actors have gone on to have fulfilling careers and have garnered plenty of media attention. Some of the main stars over the years have included Mark Harmon, Pauley Perrette, Cote de Pablo, David McCallum and more.

McCallum was born on Sept. 19, 1933, in Maryhill, Glasgow. He is best known for his role as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on "NCIS." The actor is also recognized for his roles in “The Great Escape” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”

During his childhood, McCallum was encouraged to pursue a career in music, especially since his father – David McCalllum Sr. – was an orchestral violinist. McCallum had learned how to play the oboe, but eventually switched over to acting and began pursuing drama when he was in his late teens. He even went on to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England and was classmates with Joan Collins.

Nowadays, McCallum has been married to his wife Katherine Carpenter for 55 years. However, they have faced some hardships within their family. Read on to find out more about McCallum’s family life.

David McCallum (2005), (Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

According to the Washington Post, McCallum was once married to actress Jill Ireland. She is best known for her work in film but has also had several appearances on television over the course of her career. She even appeared alongside McCallum in a handful of episodes of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” over the first three seasons.

The couple first met while working on the 1957 film “Hell Drivers.” They stayed together from 1957 to 1967. During their relationship, they had two children, Paul and Val, and adopted a son named Jason. The family moved to California together in the early 1960s, according to The Scotsman. However, Ireland reportedly left him for actor Charles Bronson – McCallum’s previous co-star from “The Great Escape.” 

It’s clear that McCallum didn’t stay heartbroken for too long, though, as he married his current wife, Carpenter, the very same year. According to Express, they had previously met in 1965 during a photoshoot for “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” in New York while Carpenter worked as a model. Carpenter was 21 years old at the time, while McCallum was 32. 

According to Express, McCallum proposed to Carpenter shortly after his marriage with Ireland was officially over, and the new couple tied the knot just a few months later. It’s evident that McCallum and Carpenter truly make each other happy, and the couple has since gone on to have a son named Peter and a daughter named Sophie, as well as several grandchildren. 

While McCallum is certainly a family man now, that doesn’t mean that his family life has always been easy. Unfortunately, the star endured a very difficult heartache in 1989. 


Michael Weatherly, Lauren Holly, Brian Deitzen, Pauley Perrette, David McCallum, Sean Murray, Cote de Pablo, Mark Harmon (2007), (John Shearer/WireImage)

According to The Mirror, McCallum’s adopted son Jason died that year from an accidental overdose. “My abiding regret is that I wasn’t there for him during the time leading up to his death,” McCallum admitted. “I lost touch with and control of what was happening there.” During an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, McCallum spoke more about just how hard it was to overcome the loss of his son.

“You never come to terms with the death of a child,” he said. “The pain is very real, but it’s like an ache that turns into anger.”

However, the “NCIS” actor said that he just had “to accept it.” At the time of his death, Jason was an expecting father. “I had some fantastic times with him and his lasting legacy is a son, Tory, who has become friends with my sons,” McCallum said. His sons include Val, a musician, and Paul, a studio photographer.

Speaking with the Belfast Telegraph, McCallum said that he visits his son Paul and his family “all the time.” The actor is a proud grandfather of eight. “They call me grand-daddy,” he said. “We don’t like grandpa, because it sounds old – and I’m not old. And some of them have the cheek to call me grand-ducky.”

It’s clear that McCallum is very close with his family, especially based on just how many pictures he can be seen in on his son Peter’s Facebook page. The latter has uploaded quite a few photographs of McCallum alongside his adorable grandchildren. Despite being an incredibly busy actor, McCallum has certainly continued to make his family a top priority!

David McCallum, Katherine Carpenter (2009), (Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

What do you think about David McCallum’s personal and professional life? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your loved ones.

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