Mark Harmon

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Mark Harmon
Mark Harmon 1 edit1.jpg
Harmon in 2005
BornThomas Mark Harmon
(1951-09-02) September 2, 1951 (age 63)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Alma materUCLA
Years active1973–present
Spouse(s)Pam Dawber (m. 1987)[1]
ParentsTom Harmon
Elyse Knox
UCLA Bruins
Major: Communications
Date of birth: (1951-09-02) September 2, 1951 (age 63)
Place of birth: Burbank, California
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)Weight: 185 lb (84 kg)
Career history
High school: Los Angeles (CA) Harvard
Career highlights and awards
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This article is about the actor. For the musician, see Mark Harmon (musician). For other people with the similar name, see Mark Harman (disambiguation).
Mark Harmon
Mark Harmon 1 edit1.jpg
Harmon in 2005
BornThomas Mark Harmon
(1951-09-02) September 2, 1951 (age 63)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Alma materUCLA
Years active1973–present
Spouse(s)Pam Dawber (m. 1987)[1]
ParentsTom Harmon
Elyse Knox
UCLA Bruins
Major: Communications
Date of birth: (1951-09-02) September 2, 1951 (age 63)
Place of birth: Burbank, California
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)Weight: 185 lb (84 kg)
Career history
High school: Los Angeles (CA) Harvard
Career highlights and awards

Thomas Mark Harmon (born September 2, 1951) is an American television and movie actor who has appeared in a wide variety of roles since the mid-1970s. Since 2003, Harmon has starred as former Gunnery Sergeant/Marine 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[edit]

Harmon was born in Burbank, California, the youngest of three children. His parents were the Heisman Trophy winner and broadcaster Tom Harmon and the actress and artist Elyse Knox (née Elsie Lillian Kornbrath,[4] who was not the daughter of U.S. Navy Secretary Frank Knox, as many modern sources have stated).[5] 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.[2] 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.[6][7] During his very first game for UCLA, he engineered a stunning upset of the two-time defending national champion, Nebraska Cornhuskers.[4][8][9] 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.[10] In his senior year, in 1973, Harmon received the National Football Foundation Award for All-Round Excellence.[6][11] 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 Communications.[12]


Mark Harmon in 2009 portraying Special Agent Gibbs in NCIS

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 Flamingo Road, in which he played Fielding Carlisle, the husband of Morgan Fairchild's character. Despite initially good ratings, the series was canceled after two seasons. Following its cancellation, he landed the role of Dr. Robert Caldwell on the prestigious 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. 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 gained 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.

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. 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.[16]

In 2014, Harmon started a production company called Wings Productions to produce NCIS: New Orleans[17][18]

Awards and nominations[edit]


Acting history[edit]

Primetime Emmy Awards

Golden Globe Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

People's Choice Awards

Personal life[edit]

Harmon claimed that he never dated in college, because he was working almost full-time in addition to school and varsity football. He worked as a carpenter before making a success of his acting career.[19] 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).[20] Harmon was the brother-in-law of Ricky Nelson 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 based on grounds that his sister Kris was incapable of good parenting. Sam's psychiatrist testified 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.[21][22]

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.[23]



1977Eleanor and Franklin: The White House YearsRobert DunlapTelevision movie
1978Getting MarriedHowie LesserTelevision movie
1978Little MoNorman BrinkerTelevision movie
1978Comes a HorsemanBilly Joe Meynert
1979Beyond the Poseidon AdventureLarry Simpson
1980Flamingo RoadFielding CarlyleTelevision movie
1980The Dream MerchantsJohnny Edge
1981Goliath AwaitsPeter CabotTelevision movie
1983Doctor in ParadiseTommy
1984Tuareg – The Desert WarriorGacel Sayah
1986Prince of Bel AirRobin PrinceTelevision movie
1986The Deliberate StrangerTed BundyTelevision movie
1986Let's Get HarryHarry Burck, Jr.
1987Summer SchoolFreddy Shoop
1987After the PromiseElmer JacksonTelevision movie
1988The PresidioJay Austin
1988Stealing HomeBilly Wyatt
1989Sweet Bird of YouthChance WayneTelevision movie
1989Worth WinningTaylor Worth
1990Till There Was YouFrank Flynn
1990Kenny Rogers Classic WeekendHimself
1991DillingerJohn DillingerTelevision movie
1991Fourth StoryDavid ShepardTelevision movie
1991Long Road HomeErtie RobertsonTelevision movie
1991Shadow of a DoubtUncle Charlie Oakley
1991Cold HeavenAlex Davenport
1994Wyatt EarpSheriff John Behan
1995Original SinsJohnathan FranyeTelevision movie
1995Magic in the WaterJack Black
1995The Last SupperDominant Male
1995Acts of ContritionJohnathan FrayneTelevision movie
1997CasualtiesTommy Nance
1997The First to GoJeremy Hampton
1998Fear and Loathing in Las VegasMagazine Reporter
1999I'll Remember AprilJohn Cooper
2000For All TimeCharles Lattimer
2000The Amati GirlsLawrence
2001Crossfire TrailBruce Barkow
2001And Never Let Her GoThomas CapanoTelevision movie
2002Local BoysJim Wesley
2003Freaky FridayRyan
2004Chasing LibertyPresident James Foster
2009Weather GirlDale
2010Justice League: Crisis on Two EarthsSuperman
2011Certain PreyLucas DavenportTelevision movie


1973Ozzie's GirlsThe CandidateUnknown episodes
1975Emergency!Officer Dave GordonEpisode: "905-Wild"
1975Adam-12Officer Gus CorbinEpisode: "Gus Corbin"
1975Police WomanPaul DoninEpisode: "No Place to Hide"
1976Laverne & ShirleyVictorEpisode: "Dating Slump"
1976All's FairUnknownEpisode: "Jealousy"
1976Police WomanStanskyEpisode: "Tender Soldier"
1976DelvecchioRonnie StrikerEpisode: "Hot Spell"
1977The Hardy BoysChip GarveyEpisode: "Mystery of the Solid Gold Kicker"
1978SamOfficer Mike Breen7 episodes
1978–1979CentennialCaptain John McIntosh3 episodes
1979–1983The Love BoatDoug Bradbury3 episodes
1979–1980240-RobertDwayne Thibideaux13 episodes
1981–1982Flamingo RoadFielding Carlyle37 episodes
1983–1986St. ElsewhereDr. Robert Caldwell70 episodes
1987MoonlightingSam Crawford4 episodes
1991–1993Reasonable DoubtsDetective Dicky Cobb45 episodes
1993Harts of the WestSam CarverEpisode: "The Right Stuff"
1995Charlie GraceCharlie Grace6 episodes
1996StrangersMarkEpisode: "Visit"
1996–2000Chicago HopeDr. Jack McNeil95 episodes
1997Adventures from the Book of VirtuesUlyssesEpisode: "Perseverance"
1998From the Earth to the MoonWally SchirraEpisode: "We Have Cleared the Tower"
2001The Legend of TarzanBob MarkhamEpisode: "Tarzan and the Outbreak"
2002The West WingSimon Donovan4 episodes
2003JAGLeroy Jethro Gibbs2 episodes
2003–presentNCISLeroy Jethro Gibbs258 episodes
2012Family GuyLeroy Jethro GibbsEpisode: "The Man and His Dream"
2014NCIS: New OrleansLeroy Jethro Gibbs2 Episodes
2014NCIS: New OrleansExecutive Producer

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1977Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieEleanor and Franklin: The White House YearsNominated
1987Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Miniseries or Television FilmThe Deliberate StrangerNominated
1988Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Miniseries or Television FilmAfter the PromiseNominated
1992Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaReasonable DoubtsNominated
Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Actor in a Quality Drama SeriesNominated
1993Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaNominated
Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Actor in a Quality Drama SeriesNominated
1997Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesChicago HopeNominated
1998Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesNominated
2002Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Drama SeriesThe West WingNominated
2011People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Crime FighterNCISNominated
2013Prism AwardsMale Performance in a Drama SeriesWon
2014People's Choice AwardsFavorite Dramatic TV ActorNominated


  1. ^ a b "Team Player Mark Harmon leads 'NCIS' cast by example". USA Today. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  2. ^ a b "Mark Harmon among class for Pierce College's first Athletic Hall of Fame". Los Angeles Daily News. 28 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Pierce College 2010 Hall of Fame inductees
  4. ^ a b The Son of 'Ole 98'. Life. 10 November 1972. pp. 72–4. 
  5. ^ the daughter of Frederick and Elizabeth Kornbrath, 1920 U.S. Census, Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut
  6. ^ a b "This Week in College Football History: Sept. 7- Sept. 13". National Football Foundation. 4 September 2009. 
  7. ^ "Mark Harmon Biography". Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  8. ^ Jenkins, Dan (18 September 1972). "Young Harmon Makes His Mark". Sports Illustrated: 32. 
  9. ^ Deitsch, Richard (11 May 2006). "Q&A: Mark Harmon". Sports Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  10. ^ "Bruins upend Cornhuskers on Herrera's field goal 20-17". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. September 10, 1972. p. 3C. 
  11. ^ "Mark Harmon: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  12. ^ "From UCLA To NCIS: Mark Harmon Still The Quarterback". 16 May 2011. 
  13. ^ ""What Generation Gap? These Grads Feel Great About Their Famous Parents". People ( 3 June 1974. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  14. ^ a b "Mark Harmon". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  15. ^ Dougherty, Philip H. (20 March 1987). "Advertising; Coors Beer Takes On New York". The New York Times ( Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  16. ^ "Mark Harmon to Receive Walk of Fame Star". 26 September 2012. 
  17. ^ show end credits
  18. ^ Retrieved 9 October 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ Mark Harmon at the Internet Movie Database
  20. ^ "In Step with... Mark Harmon". Parade ( 2008. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  21. ^ Bashe, Philip (1992). Teenage Idol, Travelin' Man: The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 1-56282-969-6. 
  22. ^ Selvin, Joel (1990). Ricky Nelson: Idol for a Generation. Contemporary Books, Inc. ISBN 0-8092-4187-0. 
  23. ^ "Actor Harmon Pulls 2 Youths From Burning Car". Los Angeles Times (LATimes). 4 January 1996. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 

External links[edit]

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