Harmon in 2005
|Born||Thomas Mark Harmon
September 2, 1951
Burbank, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Pam Dawber (m. 1987)|
|Children||2 sons (Sean and Ty)|
Thomas Mark Harmon (born September 2, 1951) is an American actor. Since the mid-1970s, he has appeared in a variety of television, film and stage roles following a career as a two-year starter as a collegiate football player with the UCLA Bruins. Since 2003, Harmon has starred as Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the hit CBS series NCIS.
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)—who was not the daughter of U.S. Navy Secretary Frank Knox, as many modern sources have stated. 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. 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. During his very first game for UCLA, he engineered a stunning upset of the two-time defending national champion, Nebraska Cornhuskers. 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. In his senior year, in 1973, Harmon received the National Football Foundation Award for All-Round Excellence. 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.
After college, Harmon considered pursuing a career in advertising or law, 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. 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 primetime 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 cancelation, 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.
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 played 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. 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 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 wife Pam Dawber.
Awards and nominations
- 1971: National Junior College Athletic Association All-American
- 1973: National Football Foundation Award for All-Round Excellence
- 1977: Nominated, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie – Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years
- 2002: Nominated, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – The West Wing
- 1986: Nominated, Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film – The Deliberate Stranger
- 1987: Nominated, Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film – After The Promise
- 1991: Nominated, Best Actor in a Television Series Drama – Reasonable Doubts
- 1992: Nominated, Best Actor in a Television Series Drama – Reasonable Doubts
- 1996: Nominated, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series – Chicago Hope
- 1997: Nominated, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series – Chicago Hope
- 2010: Nominated, Favorite TV Drama Actor – NCIS
- 2011: Nominated, Favorite TV Crime Fighter – NCIS
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. 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). 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. Harmon dated singer Karen Carpenter in the 1970s.
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.
In 1996, Harmon saved two teenage boys involved in a car accident outside of his home. Harmon used a sledgehammer from his garage to break the window of their burning car, then pulled them free from the flames.
|1973||Ozzie's Girls||The Candidate||Unknown episodes|
|1975||Emergency!||Officer Dave Gordon||Episode: "905-Wild"|
|1975||Adam-12||Officer Gus Corbin||Episode: "Gus Corbin"|
|1975||Police Woman||Paul Donin||Episode: "No Place to Hide"|
|1976||Laverne & Shirley||Victor||Episode: "Dating Slump"|
|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 movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
|1977||The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries||Chip Garvey||Episode: "Mystery of the Solid Gold Kicker"|
|1978||Sam||Officer Mike Breen||7 episodes|
|1978||Getting Married||Howie Lesser||Television movie|
|1978||Little Mo||Norman Brinker||Television movie|
|1978||Comes a Horseman||Billy Joe Meynert|
|1978–1979||Centennial||Captain John McIntosh||3 episodes|
|1979||Beyond the Poseidon Adventure||Larry Simpson|
|1979–1983||The Love Boat||Doug Bradbury||3 episodes|
|1979–1980||240-Robert||Dwayne Thibideaux||13 episodes|
|1980||Flamingo Road||Fielding Carlyle||Television movie|
|1980||The Dream Merchants||Johnny Edge|
|1981||Goliath Awaits||Peter Cabot||Television movie|
|1981–1982||Flamingo Road||Fielding Carlyle||37 episodes|
|1983||Doctor in Paradise||Tommy|
|1983–1986||St. Elsewhere||Dr. Robert Caldwell||70 episodes|
|1984||Tuareg – The Desert Warrior||Gacel Sayah|
|1986||Prince of Bel Air||Robin Prince||Television movie|
|1986||The Deliberate Stranger||Ted Bundy||Television movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
|1986||Let's Get Harry||Harry Burck, Jr.|
|1987||Moonlighting||Sam Crawford||4 episodes|
|1987||Summer School||Freddy Shoop|
|1987||After the Promise||Elmer Jackson||Television movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
|1988||The Presidio||Jay Austin|
|1988||Stealing Home||Billy Wyatt|
|1989||Sweet Bird of Youth||Chance Wayne||Television movie|
|1989||Worth Winning||Taylor Worth|
|1990||Till There Was You||Frank Flynn|
|1990||Kenny Rogers Classic Weekend||Himself|
|1991||Dillinger||John Dillinger||Television movie|
|1991||Fourth Story||David Shepard||Television movie|
|1991||Long Road Home||Ertie Robertson||Television movie|
|1991||Shadow of a Doubt||Uncle Charlie Oakley|
|1991||Cold Heaven||Alex Davenport|
|1991–1993||Reasonable Doubts||Detective Dicky Cobb||45 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (1991–92)
|1993||Harts of the West||Sam Carver||Episode: "The Right Stuff"|
|1994||Wyatt Earp||Sheriff John Behan|
|1995||Original Sins||Johnathan Franye||Television movie|
|1995||Magic in the Water||Jack Black|
|1995||The Last Supper||Dominant Male|
|1995||Charlie Grace||Charlie Grace||6 episodes|
|1995||Acts of Contrition||Johnathan Frayne||Television movie|
|1996–2000||Chicago Hope||Dr. Jack McNeil||95 episodes
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (1996–97)
|1997||Adventures from the Book of Virtues||Ulysses||Episode: "Perseverance"|
|1997||The First to Go||Jeremy Hampton|
|1998||From the Earth to the Moon||Wally Schirra||Episode: "We Have Cleared the Tower"|
|1998||Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas||Magazine Reporter|
|1999||I'll Remember April||John Cooper|
|2000||For All Time||Charles Lattimer|
|2000||The Amati Girls||Lawrence|
|2001||Crossfire Trail||Bruce Barkow|
|2001||And Never Let Her Go||Thomas Capano||Television movie|
|2001||The Legend of Tarzan||Bob Markham||Episode: "Tarzan and the Outbreak"|
|2002||Local Boys||Jim Wesley|
|2002||The West Wing||Simon Donovan||4 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
|2003||JAG||Leroy Jethro Gibbs||2 episodes|
|2003–present||NCIS||Leroy Jethro Gibbs||234 episodes
Nominated—People's Choice Award for Favorite Television Drama Actor
Nominated—People's Choice Award for Favorite Television Drama Crime Fighter
|2004||Chasing Liberty||President James Foster|
|2010||Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths||Superman|
|2011||Certain Prey||Lucas Davenport||Television movie|
|2012||Family Guy||Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Episode: "The Man and His Dream"|
- "Team Player Mark Harmon leads 'NCIS' cast by example". USA Today. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- "Mark Harmon among class for Pierce College's first Athletic Hall of Fame". Los Angeles Daily News. 28 March 2010.
- Pierce College 2010 Hall of Fame inductees
- The Son of 'Ole 98'. Life. 10 November 1972. pp. 72–4.
- the daughter of Frederick and Elizabeth Kornbrath, 1920 U.S. Census, Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut
- "This Week in College Football History: Sept. 7- Sept. 13". National Football Foundation. 4 September 2009.
- "Mark Harmon Biography". Retrieved 2008-08-25.
- Jenkins, Dan (18 September 1972). "Young Harmon Makes His Mark". Sports Illustrated: 32.
- Deitsch, Richard (11 May 2006). "Q&A: Mark Harmon". Sports Illustrated.CNN.com. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- "Bruins upend Cornhuskers on Herrera's field goal 20-17". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. September 10, 1972. p. 3C.
- "Mark Harmon: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "From UCLA To NCIS: Mark Harmon Still The Quarterback". pac-12.com. 16 May 2011.
- ""What Generation Gap? These Grads Feel Great About Their Famous Parents". People (People.com). 3 June 1974. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- "Mark Harmon". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- Dougherty, Philip H. (20 March 1987). "Advertising; Coors Beer Takes On New York". The New York Times (NYTimes.com). Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- "Mark Harmon to Receive Walk of Fame Star". hollywood.patch.com. 26 September 2012.
- Mark Harmon at the Internet Movie Database
- "In Step with... Mark Harmon". Parade (Parade.com). 2008. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- "Did You Know? Tid-bits you might not know about Karen Carpenter". LeadSister.com. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- Bashe, Philip (1992). Teenage Idol, Travelin' Man: The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 1-56282-969-6.
- Selvin, Joel (1990). Ricky Nelson: Idol for a Generation. Contemporary Books, Inc. ISBN 0-8092-4187-0.
- "Actor Harmon Pulls 2 Youths From Burning Car". Los Angeles Times (LATimes). 4 January 1996. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mark Harmon.|
- Mark Harmon at the Internet Movie Database
- Mark Harmon at TVGuide.com
- CBS profile
- Mark Harmon at Emmys.com
|People's Sexiest Man Alive