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Angered NCIS bosses feared David McCallum wasn’t right for Ducky role due to his age

NCIS could have been very different with bosses unsure if David McCallum would be the right fit for Ducky.

NCIS’ Ducky was an iconic member of the team for 20 years, although he wasn’t always thought of as the right actor for the job.

Fans of the CBS drama were left heartbroken last month as it came out that the veteran actor died six days after his 90th birthday at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

He was the agents’ chief medical examiner up until season 15 when he was initially going to retire but later changed his mind.

Ducky was then taken on as their part-time historian and so while he was no longer a series regular, viewers often looked forward to his appearances.

The Scottish actor was not always guaranteed to portray Ducky though as some of the police procedural’s writers revealed

NCIS bosses feared David McCallum wasn’t right for Ducky role.

Earlier this year, The Hollywood Reporter sat down with the minds behind NCIS to mark its 20th anniversary.

It was during a discussion about casting that it came out how McCallum was not the frontrunner in everyone’s eyes to play Ducky.

Former CBS Head of Casting Peter Golden first stated: “Pauley Perrette, David McCallum, Michael Weatherly, they all came in and read, and when they read, it was undeniable.

“And I don’t want to underestimate how great Rocky Carroll (Leon Vance, who joined in season five) was.”

NCIS: Ducky became the team’s part-time historian

Director James Whitmore Jr then continued: “When they cast David McCallum as Ducky, the studio said, ‘No way, we’re not casting this old character actor in the role.’

“And Don [Bellisario] said, ‘If you don’t, we’re not doing the show.’ He was that serious about it.

“The studio went with it, and of course, David McCallum is gold.”

Golden expressed how he felt it was because McCallum was British, adding: “The feeling was, “Can you do that?” This was such an American show.”

NCIS: Jimmy Palmer took over Ducky’s role as the chief medical examiner.

Following news of his death, various NCIS stars took to social media to pay tribute.

Nick Torres actor Wimer Valderrama wrote: “David, what an immense honour it was to share the screen with you. “Your professionalism and ability to effortlessly take every one of us on a journey through your art will be felt forever. I will miss you, my friend.”

While Tony Dinozzo star Michael Weatherly shared: “David McCallum made every moment count, in life and on set.

“Let’s raise a jug and celebrate a funny fantastic authentic man.”

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