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Mark Harmon

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Subject: Reasonable Doubts, NCIS (TV series), The Presidio (film), Let's Get Harry, Centennial (miniseries)
Collection: 1951 Births, 20Th-Century American Male Actors, 21St-Century American Male Actors, American Football Quarterbacks, American Male Film Actors, American Male Television Actors, American Male Voice Actors, American People of Austrian Descent, Living People, Los Angeles Pierce College People, Male Actors from Burbank, California, People from the San Fernando Valley, Pierce Brahmas Football Players, Players of American Football from California, Sportspeople from Burbank, California, Ucla Bruins Football Players, University of California, Los Angeles Alumni
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Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon
Harmon in 2005
Born Thomas Mark Harmon
(1951-09-02) September 2, 1951
Burbank, California, U.S.
Alma mater UCLA
Years active 1970–present
Spouse(s) Pam Dawber (m. 1987)[1]
Children 2
College football career
UCLA Bruins No. 7
Position Quarterback
Major Communication
Career history
High school Harvard-Westlake
Personal information
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Career highlights and awards

Thomas Mark Harmon (born September 2, 1951) is an American television and film actor who has appeared in a wide variety of roles since the mid-1970s. Since 2003, Harmon has starred as former U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant and Sniper turned NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the hit CBS series, NCIS, a role that has become Harmon's best-known role to date while also giving him international recognition.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Early career 2.1
    • NCIS 2.2
    • Television director 2.3
  • Personal life 3
  • Filmography 4
    • Film 4.1
    • Television 4.2
  • Awards and nominations 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Harmon was born in Burbank, California, the youngest of three children. His parents were Heisman Trophy winning-football player and broadcaster Tom Harmon and actress and artist Elyse Knox (née Elsie Lillian Kornbrath).[2] Harmon has two older sisters, actress and painter Kristin Nelson, the former wife of singer Ricky Nelson, and actress-model Kelly Harmon, who was once married to car magnate John DeLorean. His maternal grandparents were Austrian immigrants.

After graduating from high school in 1970, Harmon completed a two-year associate's degree at Pierce College in Los Angeles,[3] then transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was the starting quarterback for the UCLA Bruins football team in 1972 and 1973.[4][5] During his very first game for UCLA, he engineered a stunning upset of the two-time defending national champion, Nebraska Cornhuskers.[2][6][7] The Bruins were an 18-point underdog to the top-ranked Huskers, but won 20-17 with a late field goal under the lights in Los Angeles.[8] In his senior year, in 1973, Harmon received the National Football Foundation Award for All-Round Excellence.[4][9][10] During his two years as quarterback in coach Pepper Rodgers's wishbone offense, UCLA compiled a 17–5 record (.773). Harmon graduated cum laude from UCLA in 1974 with a B.A. in Communication.[11]

He was inducted into the Pierce College Athletic Hall of Fame among its first class of members in 2010.[3][12]


Early career

After college, Harmon considered pursuing a career in advertising or law,[13] but instead he became an actor and spent much of his career portraying law enforcement and medical personnel. One of his first national TV appearances (other than as an athlete) was in a commercial for Kellogg's Product 19 cereal with his father Tom Harmon, its longstanding TV spokesman. Thanks to his sister Kristen's in-laws, Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Nelson, he landed his first job as an actor in an episode of Ozzie's Girls. This was followed by guest roles in episodes of Adam-12, Police Woman, and Emergency! in mid-1975. He also performed in "905-Wild", a backdoor pilot episode for a series about two L.A. County Animal Control Officers which did not sell. Producer/creator Jack Webb, who was the packager of both series, later cast Harmon in Sam, a short-lived 1978 series about an LAPD officer and his K-9 partner. Before this, Harmon received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his performance as Robert Dunlap in the TV movie Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.[14] In 1978, he appeared in three episodes of the acclaimed mini-series, Centennial, as Captain John MacIntosh, an honorable Union cavalry officer.

During the mid-1970s, Harmon made guest appearances on shows such as Laverne & Shirley and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and had supporting roles in the feature films Comes a Horseman (1978) and Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979). He then landed a co-starring role on the 1979 action series 240-Robert as Deputy Dwayne Thibideaux. The series centered around the missions of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Emergency Services Detail, but was also short-lived.

In 1980, Harmon gained a regular role in the prime time soap opera NBC Emmy-winning series St. Elsewhere in 1983. Harmon appeared in the show for almost three seasons before leaving in early 1986 when his character contracted HIV through unprotected intercourse, one of the first instances where a major recurring television character contracted the virus (the character's subsequent off-screen death from AIDS would be mentioned two years later). In the mid-1980s, Harmon also became the spokesperson for Coors Regular beer, appearing in television commercials for them.[15]

Harmon's career reached several other high points in 1986. In January, he was named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.[16] Following his departure from St. Elsewhere in February, he played the lead in the TV movies Prince of Bel Air, co-starring with Kirstie Alley, and The Deliberate Stranger, in which he portrayed the real-life law student turned cross-country serial killer Ted Bundy. With his career blossoming, he played a role in the 1986 theatrical film Let's Get Harry and the lead role in the 1987 comedy Summer School, again co-starring with Kirstie Alley. Returning briefly to episodic television in 1987, Harmon had a limited engagement on the series Moonlighting, playing Cybill Shepherd's love interest Sam Crawford for four episodes. He then starred in the 1987 TV movie After The Promise. In 1988, he co-starred with Sean Connery and Meg Ryan in the 1988 feature film The Presidio, and also opposite Jodie Foster in the film Stealing Home. Despite several high-profile roles, Harmon's film career never gathered momentum and, after a muted reception to his 1989 comedy Worth Winning, he returned to television, appearing in various television movies.

Harmon's next regular television role would be as Chicago police detective Dickie Cobb for two seasons (1991–1993) on the NBC series Reasonable Doubts. In 1993, he appeared in one episode in the role of a rodeo clown on the CBS comedy/western series Harts of the West with future cast mate Sean Murray, who plays McGee on NCIS.

In 1995, Harmon starred in the ABC series Charlie Grace, in which he portrayed a private investigator. The series lasted only one season, after which he returned to ensemble medical shows on the series Chicago Hope, in which he played Dr. Jack McNeil from 1996-2000. He also portrayed astronaut Wally Schirra in one episode of the 1998 mini-series From the Earth to the Moon.


Mark Harmon in 2009 portraying Special Agent Gibbs in NCIS

In May 2002, he portrayed Secret Service Special Agent Simon Donovan on The West Wing in a four-episode story arc. The role gained him his second Emmy Award nomination, exactly 25 years after his first nomination.[14] Harmon appeared in a guest starring role in two episodes of JAG in April 2003, which introduced the character of NCIS agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs; since 2003, Harmon has starred as Gibbs in the CBS drama NCIS, a role which earned him three nominations at the People's Choice Awards. During his time on the show, he was reunited with three of his former Chicago Hope co-stars, Rocky Carroll, Lauren Holly, and Jayne Brook. Since 2008, he has also been a producer/executive producer. Also in 2003, Harmon had a supporting role in the remake of the comedy film Freaky Friday.

Harmon has also starred in several stage productions in Los Angeles and Toronto. At the Cast Theatre in Los Angeles he performed in Wrestlers and The Wager. In the late eighties he was part of the cast of the Canadian premier of Key Exchange. Several productions of Love Letters provided him the opportunity to play alongside his wife Pam Dawber.[1]

Harmon received the 2,482nd star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 1, 2012.[17]

In 2014, Harmon started a production company called Wings Productions to produce NCIS: New Orleans.[18][19]

Television director

Harmon directed two episodes of Chicago Hope in 1999 and 2000.[20] He also directed two episodes of Boston Public in 2002.[20]

Personal life

Harmon has claimed that he never dated in college because, when not studying or playing varsity football, he was working almost full-time. He worked as a carpenter before making a success of his acting career.[21] On NCIS, his carpentry skills are alluded to through his character's hobby of building boats in his basement.

Harmon has been married to actress Pam Dawber since March 21, 1987. The couple have two sons; Sean Thomas Harmon (born April 25, 1988, who played a young Gibbs in NCIS Season 6 Episode 4 and Episode 15, Season 7 Episode 16, Season 9 Episode 8 and 15), and Ty Christian Harmon (born June 25, 1992).[22] They maintain a low profile and the couple rarely appears in public with their children. Harmon was the brother-in-law of Ricky Nelson and John DeLorean and is the uncle of actress Tracy Nelson and singers Matthew and Gunnar Nelson of the pop duo Nelson.

In 1987, Harmon filed for custody of his nephew Sam on the grounds that his sister, Kristin Nelson, was incapable of good parenting. Sam's psychiatrist testified that the thirteen-year-old boy depicted his mother as a dragon, complained about her mood swings and how she prevented him from being with his siblings. Harmon later dropped the custody bid.[23][24]

In 1988, Harmon was part owner of a minor league baseball team in San Bernardino, California, The San Bernardino Spirit, which spawned Ken Griffey, Jr.. Harmon used the team and their home field, Fiscalini Field, for the opening and closing scenes of a baseball movie he was starring in, Stealing Home.[25]

In 1996, Harmon saved two teenage boys involved in a car accident outside his Brentwood home. Harmon used a sledgehammer from his garage to break the window of their burning car, then pulled them free from the flames.[26]



Year Title Role Notes
1978 Comes a Horseman Billy Joe Meynert
1979 Beyond the Poseidon Adventure Larry Simpson
1980 The Dream Merchants Johnny Edge
1984 Tuareg – The Desert Warrior Gacel Sayah
1986 Let's Get Harry Harry Burck, Jr.
1986 The Deliberate Stranger Ted Bundy
1987 Summer School Freddy Shoop
1988 The Presidio Jay Austin
1988 Stealing Home Billy Wyatt
1989 Worth Winning Taylor Worth
1990 Till There Was You Frank Flynn
1990 Kenny Rogers Classic Weekend Himself
1991 Shadow of a Doubt Uncle Charlie Oakley
1991 Cold Heaven Alex Davenport
1994 Wyatt Earp Sheriff John Behan
1995 Magic in the Water Jack Black
1995 The Last Supper Dominant Male
1997 Casualties Tommy Nance
1997 The First to Go Jeremy Hampton
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Magazine Reporter
1999 I'll Remember April John Cooper
2000 For All Time Charles Lattimer
2001 Crossfire Trail Bruce Barkow
2001 The Amati Girls Lawrence
2002 Local Boys Jim Wesley
2003 Freaky Friday Ryan
2004 Chasing Liberty President James Foster
2009 Weather Girl Dale
2010 Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Clark Kent/Superman
2011 Certain Prey Lucas Davenport


Year Title Role Notes
1973 Ozzie's Girls The Candidate Unknown episodes
1975 Emergency! Officer Dave Gordon Episode: "905-Wild" (S 4:Ep 22)
1975 Adam-12 Officer Gus Corbin Episode: "Gus Corbin" (S 7:Ep 21)
1975 Police Woman Paul Donin Episode: "No Place to Hide"
1976 Laverne & Shirley Victor Episode: "Dating Slump" (S 1:Ep 9)
1976 All's Fair Unknown Episode: "Jealousy"
1976 Police Woman Stansky Episode: "Tender Soldier"
1976 Delvecchio Ronnie Striker Episode: "Hot Spell"
1977 Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years Robert Dunlap Television film
1977 The Hardy Boys Chip Garvey Episode: "Mystery of the Solid Gold Kicker" (S 1:Ep14)
1978 Getting Married Howie Lesser Television film
1978 Police Woman Paul Donin Episode: "No Place to Hide" (S 1:Ep 17)
1978 Little Mo Norman Brinker Television film
1978 Sam Officer Mike Breen 7 episodes
1978–79 Centennial Captain John McIntosh
  • 3 episodes
  • TV miniseries
1979 The Love Boat Doug Bradbury Episodes:
  • "Alaska Wedding Cruise: Carol & Doug/Peter & Alicia/Julie/Buddy & Portia, part 1" (S 3:Ep 1)
  • "Alaska Wedding Cruise: Carol & Doug/Peter & Alicia/Julie/Buddy & Portia, part 2" (S 3:Ep 2)
1979–80 240-Robert Dwayne Thibideaux 13 episodes
1980 Flamingo Road Fielding Carlyle
1981 Goliath Awaits Peter Cabot Television film
1981–82 Flamingo Road Fielding Carlyle 37 episodes
1983 The Love Boat Guest star Episode: "Julie and The Bachelor/Intensive Care/Set Up for Romance" (S 7:Ep 10)
1983–86 St. Elsewhere Dr. Robert Caldwell 70 episodes
1983 Intimate Agony Tommy
  • Television film aired in 2006
  • AKA Doctor in Paradise
1986 The Deliberate Stranger Ted Bundy Television film
1986 Prince of Bel Air Robin Prince Television film
1987 Moonlighting Sam Crawford 4 episodes
1987 After the Promise Elmer Jackson Television film
1989 Sweet Bird of Youth Chance Wayne Television film
1991–93 Reasonable Doubts Detective Dicky Cobb 45 episodes
1991 Dillinger John Dillinger Television film
1991 Fourth Story David Shepard Television movie
1991 Long Road Home Ertie Robertson Television movie
1993 Harts of the West Sam Carver Episode: "The Right Stuff"
1995 Charlie Grace Charlie Grace Main cast
1995 Original Sins Johnathan Frayne
  • Television film
  • AKA Acts of Contrition
1996 Strangers Mark Episode: "Visit" (S 1:Ep 8)
1996 E! True Hollywood Story Himself Episode: "Dark Obsession: The Stalking and Murder of Rebecca Schaeffer" (S 1:Ep 1)
1996–2000 Chicago Hope Dr. Jack McNeil 95 episodes
1997 Adventures from the Book of Virtues Ulysses Episode: "Perseverance" (S 1:Ep 13)
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Wally Schirra Episode: "We Have Cleared the Tower"
2001 The Legend of Tarzan Bob Markham Episode: "Tarzan and the Outbreak" (S 1:Ep 21)
2001 And Never Let Her Go Thomas Capano Television film
2002 The West Wing Simon Donovan 4 episodes
2003 JAG Leroy Jethro Gibbs Episodes:
  • "Ice Queen" (S8:Ep 20)
  • "Meltdown" (S 8:Ep 21)
2003–present NCIS Leroy Jethro Gibbs
  • Main cast
  • Executive Producer from 2008–Present
2004 Retrosexual: The 80's Himself TV miniseries
2011 Certain Prey Lucas Davenport Television movie
2012 Family Guy Leroy Jethro Gibbs Episode: "Tom Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (S 10:Ep 13)
2014 NCIS: New Orleans Leroy Jethro Gibbs
  • Episode: "Breaking Brig" (S 1:Ep 3)
  • Executive Producer

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1977 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years Nominated
1987 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film The Deliberate Stranger Nominated
1988 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film After the Promise Nominated
1992 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Reasonable Doubts Nominated
Viewers for Quality Television Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Nominated
1993 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Viewers for Quality Television Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Nominated
1997 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Chicago Hope Nominated
1998 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2002 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series The West Wing Nominated
2011 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Crime Fighter NCIS Nominated
2013 Prism Awards Male Performance in a Drama Series Won
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite Dramatic TV Actor Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Team Player Mark Harmon leads 'NCIS' cast by example".  
  2. ^ a b The Son of 'Ole 98'.  
  3. ^ a b "Mark Harmon among class for Pierce College's first Athletic Hall of Fame".  
  4. ^ a b "This Week in College Football History: Sept. 7- Sept. 13".  
  5. ^ "Mark Harmon Biography". Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  6. ^ Jenkins, Dan (18 September 1972). "Young Harmon Makes His Mark".  
  7. ^ Deitsch, Richard (11 May 2006). "Q&A: Mark Harmon". Sports Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  8. ^ "Bruins upend Cornhuskers on Herrera's field goal 20-17". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. September 10, 1972. p. 3C. 
  9. ^ "Inside Athletics — Award Winners".  
  10. ^ "Mark Harmon: Biography".  
  11. ^ "From UCLA To NCIS: Mark Harmon Still The Quarterback".  
  12. ^ Pierce College 2010 Hall of Fame inductees
  13. ^ ""What Generation Gap? These Grads Feel Great About Their Famous Parents".  
  14. ^ a b "Mark Harmon".  
  15. ^ Dougherty, Philip H. (20 March 1987). "Advertising; Coors Beer Takes On New York".  
  16. ^ "All the Sexiest Man Alive Covers". Retrieved 2015-07-20. 
  17. ^ "Mark Harmon to Receive Walk of Fame Star". 26 September 2012. 
  18. ^ show end credits
  19. ^ "Variety: Mark Harmon". Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Mark Harmon". Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  21. ^ Mark Harmon at the Internet Movie Database
  22. ^ "In Step with... Mark Harmon".  
  23. ^ Bashe, Philip (1992). Teenage Idol, Travelin' Man: The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson. New York: Hyperion.  
  24. ^ Selvin, Joel (1990). Ricky Nelson: Idol for a Generation. Contemporary Books, Inc.  
  25. ^ Brock, Mullins (August 21, 1988). "League's Ownership Includes Some Heavy Hitters". Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  26. ^ "Actor Harmon Pulls 2 Youths From Burning Car".  

External links

Preceded by
Mel Gibson
People's Sexiest Man Alive
Succeeded by
Harry Hamlin
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