Sad news in California / 71-year-old actor Mark Harmon’s funeral is held for 3 days / goodbye Harmon
Sad news in California / 71-year-old actor Mark Harmon’s funeral is held for 3 days / goodbye Harmon.
Thomas Mark Harmon (born September 2, 1951) is an American actor. He is most famous for playing the lead role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs in NCIS. He also appeared in a wide variety of roles since the early 1970s. Initially a college football player, he was named “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine in 1986, due largely to his role as Dr. Robert Caldwell on St. Elsewhere, a role notable for being one of the first TV characters that had HIV. After spending the majority of the 1990s as a character actor, he played Secret Service special agent Simon Donovan in a four-episode story arc in The West Wing in 2002, receiving an Emmy Award nomination for the role.
Harmon’s character of NCIS special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs was introduced in a guest starring role in two episodes of JAG. From 2003 to 2021, Harmon starred in the spinoff NCIS as the same character.
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, model, and artist Elyse Knox (née Elsie Lillian Kornbrath). Harmon had two older sisters, the late actress and painter Kristin Nelson, who was divorced from the late singer Rick Nelson, and actress and model Kelly Harmon, formerly married to car magnate John DeLorean. His maternal grandparents were Austrian immigrants.
After his high school graduation from Harvard-Westlake School in 1970, Harmon completed a two-year associate degree at Pierce College in Los Angeles. After his second season at Pierce, 1971, Harmon received offers from major college football programs, ultimately choosing UCLA over Oklahoma, even though in the previous season, 1971, the Sooners finished second in the nation, while the Bruins had stumbled to a 2–7–1 record, placing last in the Pac-8.
After transferring to the University of California, Los Angeles, he started at quarterback for the 1972 and 1973 Bruins.
During his first game, his UCLA team produced a stunning upset of the two-time defending national champion Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Bruins were an eighteen-point home underdog to the top-ranked Huskers but won 20–17 on a late field goal by Efren Herrera under the lights of L.A. Coliseum.
In his senior year, 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.
He was inducted into the inaugural class of the Pierce College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.
After college, Harmon considered pursuing a career in advertising or law. Harmon started his career in business as a merchandising director, but soon decided to switch to acting. He 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 Kristin’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 mini-series, Centennial, as Captain John MacIntosh, an honorable Union cavalry officer.
During the mid- to late-1970s, Harmon made guest appearances on TV series, including Laverne & Shirley, Delvecchio, 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 series St. Elsewhere in