Best Known For
Television star Mark Harmon has been on long-running shows such as St. Elsewhere, Chicago Hope and NCIS.
Mark Harmon - NCIS (3:00)
Mark Harmon - The West Wing (2:21)
Mark Harmon - St. Elsewhere (3:30)
Mark Harmon - Full Episode (45:15)
Mark Harmon is best know for his role as Special Agent Jethro Gibbs in the hit TV show "NCIS."
After having been in a series of poorly review films, Harmon landed a small role in the hit show "The West Wing." While the story only lasted four episodes, Harmon was lasted nominated for an Emmy for his role as Agent Simon Donovan.
After a string of small roles in film and television, Mark Harmon landed a major role on the up and coming show "St. Elsewhere."
Mark Harmon went from starting quarterback for UCLA to a dreamy Doctor on the hit TV series "St. Elsewhere." His career hit another high when signed on to start on "NCIS."
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Born in California in 1951, Mark Harmon is best known for playing a doctor on the long-running show St. Elsewhere, as well as for his roles on Chicago Hope and NCIS (formerly known as NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service). In 1985, Harmon was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive." In 2002, he appeared in a guest role on the political drama The West Wing. More recently, he's become known for several roles in television movies.
"I don't care who's No. 1 on the call sheet or how big my trailer is. I care about the work. I don't care who gets the laughs. I just care that the laugh comes."
"I don't have any plans to ride [acting] into the ground, so to speak ... You're part of this as long as the work is good."
"If other people think I'm okay looking, that's great, but I don't see it myself. When I look in the mirror, all I see is a bunch of fake teeth and football scars."
"This job is a gift. Throwing a pick around in a coal mine—that's hard work. You have to keep that in perspective."
"From the beginning, we were a show that wasn't good enough to get all that noticed and wasn't bad enough to get canceled."
"I'm a team guy. I don't get the ego thing, I never have, and you can credit my parents for that."
"In this day and age, a lot of people don't know that I played [UCLA football], or they would be surprised to hear it. That's OK. It means I have progressed."
"Keep your sense of humor. When in doubt, sometimes a laugh is the best result."
"I've never done any job for the security or the money. I believe in trying to find an area to get better, to learn more about why I'm here."
"[My father] raised me hard, and when I say hard, I mean hard. I was taught to fight for everything."
"[Mark Harmon has] made more American women hot than saunas."
Born on September 2, 1951, in Burbank, California, actor Thomas Mark Harmon faced some challenges growing up. His father, Tom Harmon, worked as a sports broadcaster. This meant that he often traveled, leaving his wife Elyse Knox, a former actress, to look after the couple's three children. Mark deeply felt his father's absence. Even when his father was home, their relationship was not easy. "He raised me hard, and when I say hard, I mean hard. I was taught to fight for everything," Harmon told People magazine.
The two, however, shared a love of sports. His father had won the 1940 Heisman Trophy for playing college football, and Mark was a stellar football player as well. He served as the starting quarterback for the University of California, Los Angeles, for two seasons, but Harmon decided against pursuing a career in professional football. During his youth, Harmon's sister Kristen began dating Ricky Nelson, the son of television legends Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Nelson. Through this connection, Harmon was offered a walk-on role on the show Ozzie's Girls (1972–73). Harmon had not previously considered acting, but the experience gave the athlete a taste for Hollywood.
Graduating with a degree in communications in 1974, Harmon turned down offers of up to $40,000 to train as a pro in order to try law school. He then left the law to work for an advertising agency. This also dissatisfied Harmon, who then took a job selling shoes to athletes. Feeling unfulfilled, Harmon decided to try his hand at more acting roles.
At the beginning of his acting career, Harmon looked to veteran actor Jack Webb, the star of the crime series Dragnet, for advice. Webb helped him land a guest spot on the crime drama Adam-12 (1968–1975). A string of guest appearances soon followed; typically the roles involved a silent, handsome stranger without speaking lines. "The guys I played didn't have names. I was the cop, the farmer," he told USA Today. His first notable TV role came in 1977 with the movie Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination.
Still, Harmon had yet to get his big break. To support himself, he worked as a roofer during the day, and honed his acting skills while performing in theatrical productions in the Los Angeles area at night. In 1981, he landed a leading role in the prime-time soap opera Flamingo Road, playing an ambitious politician who married into a wealthy Florida family. Morgan Fairchild starred as his wife and Cristina Raines appeared as his love interest.
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