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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He had much better luck when he joined the cast of David E. Kelley's medical drama Chicago Hope in 1996. On the show, he played an orthopedic surgeon. "Having been a carpenter, I feel close to this character. So much of what they do in the surgical theater is like working with wood," he told Entertainment Weekly. Working on the series also gave him more time with his family, which included two sons, Sean and Ty, by this time.
Harmon proved to be a real-life hero when he rescued two teenagers trapped in a jeep accident near his home. Harmon used a 12-pound sledgehammer to break the windshield to free the teens before the vehicle blew up.
After Chicago Hope ended its run in 2000, Harmon appeared in several TV movies. He also landed a guest role on the political drama The West Wing in 2002. Playing a secret service agent, Harmon won accolades for his work on the series. He even received an Emmy Award nomination for his portrayal of Simon Donovan. This performance helped Harmon get his next big break.
TV producer Don Bellisario saw Harmon's work on The West Wing and thought he would be a great fit for his next project. He needed to cast the lead investigator, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, in the military crime procedural NCIS. "What I saw was a very controlled presence, a quiet strength. That's what I was looking for. Leroy is Mark's kind of guy. Mark has that jock mentality—you tough it out no matter how tough it is," Bellisario told Entertainment Weekly.
Originally called Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS debuted in 2003 and soon built up a strong following. It was developed as a spin-off from the popular Navy legal series JAG starring David James Elliott and Catherine Bell. In addition to Harmon's Special Agent Gibbs, the NCIS team includes Agent Tony Dinozzo (Michael Weatherly), Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum) and Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette).
On the series, Harmon has been able to display his abilities as an actor, ranging from light comedy to serious drama. Harmon says the character "can be really good at his job ... but so much of his life is really tormented and dark, and I don't know if he'll ever recover from it. I think he would be an uncomfortable guy to have dinner with."
In 2007, Harmon and Bellisario had a dispute about how the show was being run. There was some issues over the actors getting their scripts late and Harmon complained to the network. Bellisario was replaced and a new show-runner was brought in. "This is a hard enough thing to do when everything is going right. We've made changes, and we're better organized now," Harmon explained to USA Today.
Three years later, audiences remain enthralled with Harmon's character, and with the show. NCIS averages more than 20 million viewers each week, making it one of TV's most popular programs.
Off-screen, Harmon seems to be an easy-going, down-to-earth person. He is known by his colleagues for his dedication, sense of humor, and lack of pretension. "He's one of those guys who makes you say, 'They don't make them like that anymore,'" his wife Pam explained to In Style magazine.
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