Hi everyone, it’s David! I’m really excited to be here with you all. I currently star on CBS’s NCIS as Ducky, and next week my debut mystery novel, Once a Crooked Man, hits bookshelves around the world next week. I’ll be here for the next hour or so answering your questions. Sorry for the delay! The rain in Los Angeles caused some traffic delays! So what do you say we get going, Reddit? Ask me anything.


EDIT: Alright, everyone, I have to run now. I had a lot of fun. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today, and Happy New Year!

Comments: 859 • Responses: 64  • Date: 

scottheckman562 karma

Has Mark Harmon ever played a practical joke on you?. Since I have heard he is a major jokster

DavidMcCallum1102 karma

Mark Harmon knows I am not the type to be toyed with.

RaymondFlint240 karma

Have you witnessed any of his shenanigans around the set?

DavidMcCallum321 karma

What shenanigans?

WiredCortex454 karma

Any insight as to why Côte De Pablo left NCIS?

Edit: sorry to those who I've spoiled it for, I never told you how her character leaves, just that she does. Plus you have more seasons afterwards! Semper fi!

Also, did not expect to be second highest in the thread.

DavidMcCallum651 karma

At the time I was astonished when Cote left, but in retrospect, it seems that she was not up to handling the demands that the character put upon her. I still don't understand her deeper motives.

holycow33385 karma

What did you think of The Man from UNCLE remake?

DavidMcCallum465 karma

Good workman like, Guy Ritchie movie in no way mirrored what Robert, Leo and I did in the 60s.

GetMoneySmokeWeed351 karma

As an aspiring British actor, you're one of my idols to watch on TV every week. You have such a strong character, and even manage to make waffling on both funny and fascinating. What has been your biggest struggle as an actor so far? As in, what scene was the trickiest for you to perform?

DavidMcCallum660 karma

I learned early on that any dialogue that involves convoluted medical jargon, demands that I know exactly what I am talking about. This can usually be found in Stedman's medical dictionary.

paradism720254 karma

What has been your favorite moment ncis so far?

DavidMcCallum504 karma

After auditioning for both Paramount and CBS the call from my agent telling me that I got the part of "Ducky" is my favorite moment. Since then, there have been hundreds!

SarahKBellum187 karma

What do you think of "The Next Episode," the Dr. Dre song that samples your recording of "The Edge?"

DavidMcCallum145 karma

David Axelrod wrote "The Edge" which was one of the tracks on my album which he produced.

citricacidx177 karma

Hello David! Love NCIS and love Ducky!

If you could have been on any other TV show within the past 10 years, what show would it be and why is it Breaking Bad?

DavidMcCallum368 karma


HeisenSwag164 karma

1)Do you in your own life have as many stories to tell as Ducky has in the show?

2)Do you and Brian Dietzen (Jimmy for those who dont know) have the same good relationship on the Set as you do in the show? I just love your synergy!

DavidMcCallum220 karma

I get on extremely well with Brian and I have traveled extensively. I am sure I could come up with a story or two.

HeisenSwag90 karma

What has been your favorite place youve traveled to this far? Have you ever been to Hamburg, Germany (my hometown) ?

DavidMcCallum203 karma

I don't have favorites. I did a movie in Hamburg called "Hauser's Memory". We ate every night at a restaurant by the Opera House called La Grotta Azzura.

Offal145 karma

Hi David and welcome! Many years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a musician by the name of Val McCallum, who said he was your son. He was touring with Vonda Sheppard - so this was back in the Allie McBeal years. How is his career going? He slipped us comp tickets to a House of Blues show in Cambridge, MA. So he's righteous by my book!

DavidMcCallum167 karma

He is currently touring and playing with Jackson Browne.

RaymondFlint123 karma

What are you reading right now? What's your favorite book?

DavidMcCallum367 karma

I am currently reading an English translation of the Koran. I don't have favorites in anything, but books by Richard Feynman are a delight.

IanKubiak121 karma

My wife loves you in NCIS. I enjoy your performances in The Invisible Man and The Great Escape! Would you please say hello to my wife Jo?

DavidMcCallum202 karma

Hello Jo!

Snarfing117 karma

Have you seen the movie "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." yet? Were you ever asked for your input on how the Illya Kuryakin character should be played?

DavidMcCallum174 karma

I have seen the movie. They never contacted me at any time.

Snarfing86 karma

Thank you for taking the time to reply!

DavidMcCallum140 karma

Thank you!

Shrimpbeedoo115 karma

I'll pick your book up and give it a read. I love me a good mystery.

Did you do any research for the role on NCIS with the Coroner/Medical Examiner or something similar?

DavidMcCallum200 karma

I have done extensive research for Doctor Mallard.

SimplyHaunted107 karma

What did you have for breakfast?

DavidMcCallum235 karma

A cup of decaf tea, a slice of toast and marmalade, and a glass of milk to take my morning pills.

RaymondFlint99 karma

Did you ever do any martial arts or combat training for U.N.C.L.E. (or other roles)? Your research in Stedman's sounds like fun, did you do any research for the novel?

DavidMcCallum120 karma

Yes to both your questions. I do a lot of research.

WiredCortex90 karma

So I am currently rewatching NCIS on Netflix, in season six there is and episode where your character cries due to the fact he could have saved a young kid when he was in the RAMC ( Royal Army Medical Corps, I think), what tactics did you use to cry on cue?

Did you have any special training for your role as medical examiner or forensic psychologist on the show?

Thanks for stopping by Reddit!

DavidMcCallum190 karma

After man years as an amateur actor, I joined Equity in 1946. My repertoire includes tears when necessary.

icybluetears73 karma

Hello! Have you ever kept anything from the set or a certain episode? Do you have a favorite episode? Thank you for your time. I love Ducky!

DavidMcCallum132 karma

Occasionally, On set they have a lot of old books from the prop hiring company. I have to admit I have upon occasion found one that was fascinating.

Fullmetalx0772 karma

Is it possible to get a sign copy of your book?

DavidMcCallum138 karma

I will be at Barnes and Noble in Los Angeles on January 21st signing books! Otherwise you can go to my Facebook page for a signed book plate.

captain_hoit68 karma

Hello Ducky!

I just started watching NCIS because my Girlfriend would always have it on. I am now a fan!

Question: Who messes up the most when filming? Also is Gibbs really that badass in real life?

DavidMcCallum94 karma

Everyone has an occasional lapse but we forgive them!

MacSquizzy46 karma

On an episode of NCIS you and a young girl with Scottish parents were singing Scotland the Brave and you mentioned Kirkcaldy, my home town.

If you have been here, what do you think if it and where is your favourite place back home to visit?

DavidMcCallum72 karma

Yes I have been to Kirkcaldy, but I don't remember much about it. Sorry.

JaxDrone42 karma

Do you ever work with practicing medical examiners to keep up Ducky's skills? What kind of feedback have you gotten from the profession regarding your portrayal?

DavidMcCallum114 karma

I have stood beside pathologists as they performed the autopsy so that I could learn the job first hand. The human body is miraculous.

greenging41 karma

Did McGee help you out at all, Ducky? ;)

Jokes aside, I'm very excited to read the book! What was your favorite part of the writing process?

DavidMcCallum48 karma

I have no favorites. It was all a pleasure.

ddwag135 karma

Hey David,

While my grandfather was still alive, him and I would talk about NCIS when we had dinner together. I remember the episodes we would talk about the most were the Ducky-centric ones, as he was born and raised in Scotland (later moved to Canada) and it was no secret Ducky was his favourite.

Just wanted to say thanks, you've done some great work on the show and that I'll certainly be picking up your book! :)

What is your elevator pitch to get someone to read the book?

DavidMcCallum32 karma

You're most welcome.

Tre201432 karma

Hi David. Thanks for doing this. You're TOTALLY awesome!

My question for you is, how does doing a voice for an animated show compare to on screen performing and would you do it again if the opportunity was brought up?

Many thanks x

DavidMcCallum78 karma

Recording for animated shows allows me to over act outrageously. That's always a pleasure!

Tre201419 karma

I can imagine the guys in the recording studio have a lot of fun then. Thank you for answering my question and thanks for doing the signed book plates. I eagerly await the arrival of my copy on Thursday. Hopefully won't get scolded for 2nd question but do you think you'll ever write a memoir? Thanks again x

DavidMcCallum39 karma

I constantly get asked to write my memoir, but I could only do it with a ghost writer. Perhaps one day...

Sponge-worthy31 karma

What drew you to the role of a U.S. Navy medical examiner, of all things?

DavidMcCallum52 karma

I was asked to play Ducky. I auditioned for Paramount and CBS and I got the part! I think Don Bellisario had something to do with all of this!

CLAY_DAVIS__27 karma

I see your book is about an actor...any bit of your real-life experiences thrown in there?

DavidMcCallum43 karma

Yes. One or Two.

xXLupus85Xx27 karma

Greetings from Germany, Mr McCallum, big fan of NCIS for over 10 years now. Have you ever been to Germany and if so, where? How did you like it?

DavidMcCallum65 karma

I have been to many places in Germany. My brother Iain McCallum was the British Council Representative to West Germany.

missred60926 karma

Hello David! I still have the poster of illya from my girlhood days. As much as I enjoy NCIS, I was always think of you in that role first. Love to see that "young Ducky" wears a lot of turtlenecks and that there are frequent sotto voce references to that role in NCIS :D Does your new book share any anecdotes from those times?

DavidMcCallum22 karma

There is no connection anywhere between 'Once a Crooked Man' and the MFU.

Roach279122 karma

Dogs or cats?

DavidMcCallum80 karma


A_Wonder_Named_Stevi19 karma

Nice to see you do a IAMA! I'm always pleased to see Ducky filled NCIS episodes. I got 2 questions for you.

First, Ducky isn't the digital/tech-person, but do you know your way around the internet, Reddit, smartphones and computers? And did you write your book with a typewriter or a computer?

Second, I hope we can enjoy NCIS and Ducky for a long time, but maybe one day NCIS stops, or you want to quit (and write more books) and/or your character is written off (all would be sad days). But how would you like to see the end of Ducky?

I was thinking Ducky is talking to his room, no deads this time, more a "if the walls could talk"-speech. Puts on his coat on and turns of the lights. Or Ducky dies (shot while working or something like that) and all the agents come to do Ducky to talk to him, while he is laying on his table. Or maybe you would prefer a totall different way? Again I think I speak for a lot of people, we really hope we can enjoy you on NCIS for a very long time!

DavidMcCallum21 karma

Yes, to everything! Thank you,

Roach279117 karma

Are you King of the British?

DavidMcCallum70 karma

No. I am a hard working commoner.

ChuckEye15 karma

Any memories from VR.5? It seemed like a show a bit ahead of its time.

DavidMcCallum25 karma

Many good memories. I was sorry that it was short lived.

cheezncrackaz13 karma

Do you ever intend on releasing more music?

DavidMcCallum27 karma

That would be nice but is totally impractical.

MPP33313 karma

In reading about MFU, I saw that the actor who played Mr Waverly was "older" and his real age wasn't exactly revealed to the network, for fear he wouldn't be hired. I find it a sweet full-circle kind of thing that you are now of "an age" yourself and in a prime time hit TV series. Did you think you'd be acting this long and do you see more actors your age still working?

DavidMcCallum40 karma

I never thought I would live this long!

Rob185512 karma

So tell us a little bit about your book?

DavidMcCallum38 karma

Not possible! You have to read it!

GloriaS-T12 karma

Hi David, I'm Karen. Do you have any memories of working with Gloria Stavers from 16 Magazine?

DavidMcCallum18 karma

No, I'm afraid I don't.

GloriaS-T13 karma

That's ok, you've met a million people since then! She took some great photos of you for 16. Have a wonderful day David.

DavidMcCallum18 karma

You too!

Zolltraxx11 karma

What part have you always wanted to be cast as?

DavidMcCallum21 karma

No, I've done them all!

MsM0nster11 karma

Are Ducky's anecdotes entirely scripted or do you get any creative license when he goes off on one of his stories? Or even disappointed when you get cut off mid flow? I know I certainly do...

DavidMcCallum20 karma

Entirely scripted although I embellished the Scottish stories.

Midlo55067 karma

Hello, David. So excited to read your book! Would you consider doing a book tour?

DavidMcCallum16 karma

I believe the publisher's have plans in the future, but I have nothing planned at the moment.

blackwatch897 karma

Dear Mr. McCallum, Is there any way that someone from Europe could get a signed book from you, delivered all the way to Hungary? :) Thank you very much and have a nice day! :)

DavidMcCallum17 karma

Please go to my Facebook page to get a signed book plate!

robinsky17 karma

Can you tell us about your experiences working on the UK show Cluedo please?

DavidMcCallum10 karma

All I remember is an old country house, but where and when I have no recollection!

GirlyNerd427 karma

What was your inspiration or reasons for writing a novel?

DavidMcCallum22 karma

It was an exercise in teaching myself how to write. I never intended for it to be published. What has happened of late is a surprising pleasure.

Roach27917 karma

Who would it be a dream come true to work with, and who influenced you to start acting?

DavidMcCallum13 karma

No one influenced me in the beginning. There are several actors and actresses that would be a pleasure with whom to work but they must remain anonymous!

GetMoneySmokeWeed6 karma

In case you don't answer my other question, here's a couple:

What is your favourite:

NCIS episode? Bow tie worn by Ducky? On-screen relationship? As cast member may be very tricky to chose just one!

DavidMcCallum11 karma

I don't have favorites!

NinaLilly6 karma

What is is your faith and how large a role does it play in your life?

DavidMcCallum36 karma

A strict sense of values and respect for others, and the determination to do the best I can for family, friends and acquaintances.

Repostrepo4 karma

Are you worried your father is going to brutally murder you and you won't be back for land before time 2?

DavidMcCallum38 karma

Only on Tuesdays.

WiredCortex3 karma

Any running gags or Easter eggs that the writers have established in the show?

DavidMcCallum2 karma


that_is_so_Raven3 karma

You watch Breaking Bad? I like sushi, do you like sushi?

DavidMcCallum19 karma

No, I do not watch Breaking Bad.

whitneysit3 karma

There rain in Los Angeles?!?!?!?!?! I live in Los Angeles, but currently home in Texas over break.

Okay. Question for you: What was the best story you told to a corpse?

DavidMcCallum5 karma

I have no favorites! I think they have all been pretty good. We have great writers.

putlotioninbasket2 karma

What is your favorite kind of lotion?

DavidMcCallum4 karma

I don't have favorites!

DwemerDwight2 karma

Do you have any stories from the making of Dogs?

DavidMcCallum8 karma


accioliquor2 karma

Would you say you live by any of Gibbs' rules in real life?

DavidMcCallum14 karma

I have my own rules, thank you very much!

[deleted]1 karma


DavidMcCallum5 karma

I am busy doing NCIS. That's enough for now.

maxdefolsch1 karma

NCIS was one of my favourite shows when I was younger ! I learned a few things thanks to the countless anecdotes from your character.

Do you have a favourite anecdote / life story from Ducky ? Or something that you enjoyed learning for the occasion ?

DavidMcCallum2 karma

I don't have favorites!

maxdefolsch2 karma

Wow, that was quick. Thanks for taking your time to answer and have a good day !

DavidMcCallum3 karma

You too!

Savage_eggs1 karma

Favourite NCIS episode?

DavidMcCallum2 karma

I don't have favorites.