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David McCallum in March 2013

Photo: Fred Prouser / REUTERS

The actor David McCallum, known for his long-standing role as a coroner in the US crime series "Navy CIS", is dead. The native Scotsman died peacefully on Monday (local time) in the presence of his family in a New York hospital, CBS said. McCallum was 90 years old.

His father was enthusiastic about science and culture, wrote son Peter McCallum in a message. He was able to conduct an orchestra as well as perform an autopsy, thanks to his decades of study for the "Navy CIS" role, the obituary said.

In the hit series about the special agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), McCallum played the coroner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard alongside Mark Harmon (as chief investigator Leroy Jethro Gibbs).

McCallum was born in Glasgow in 1933, the son of a violinist and a cellist. He later switched from studying music to acting. After theatre appearances in England, he moved to the USA in the sixties, where he had success with the crime series »Solo for O.N.C.E.L.« in the role of the Russian agent Illya Kuryakin.

He also starred in several films, including "The Wretched of the Seas" (1962), "Broken Chains" (1963), "The Greatest Story of All Time" (1965) and "Constantly in Fear" (1970).

The father of five, McCallum was married from 1957 to 1967 to British actress Jill Ireland, who married Hollywood star Charles Bronson shortly after the divorce. McCallum also quickly entered into a new marriage. He was married to Katherine Carpenter for 56 years until his death.