Mark Harmon's Journey Transformation from Childhood to NCIS!
How NCIS Star Mark Harmon Evolved From His Childhood
Mark Harmon is well-known for his role as former Marine sniper turned special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on "NCIS." His career spans several decades. The characters of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are at the centre of this CBS police procedural drama, which is a spin-off of the legal drama JAGS.
Harmon was at the helm of the hit show for 18 seasons, during which time Gibbs' stoic dedication to his team, distinctive cold look, and dry sense of humour won over viewers. "I was attracted by (his) flaws," Harmon stated of his personality in 2005. He chooses the wrong types of women. Coffee is a need for him (via USA Today).
Harmon's adoration for his multifaceted part and iconic performance makes it easy to overlook the numerous other films and television shows in which he had previously appeared. With his departure from "NCIS" set for Season 19, it's time to reflect on the actor's life and work before he became known as "Gibbs."
Harmon's first career was as a professional athlete
Although acting was in his family's blood, Mark Harmon went at it in a nonstandard way. His mother, Elyse Knox, was an actress, and his father, Tom Harmon, played football before making the transition to acting and is now a sports presenter. Mark, Tom's son, is also a huge sports fan and admirer of his dad's career in broadcasting, saying that listening to him call games "had a certain magic."
Harmon accepted a scholarship offer to play football at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1971 after playing the sport from a young age through community college. He was the starting quarterback for the Bruins in two consecutive championship years (1972 and 1973). The National Football Foundation Gold Medal was given to him this year for his "exceptional accomplishments, unblemished reputation, and for reflecting the values of amateur football." NFF Awards Committee Chairman Jack Ford commended Harmon for his modesty and willingness to prioritise "hard work, perseverance, and teamwork" (via UCLA).
"His success on the gridiron as a student-athlete and his subsequent icon status in film and television make him exceptionally well-qualified as our 2019 Gold Medal recipient," Ford said. Even though Harmon is no longer participating in football, he still finds great delight in watching the game with his loved ones and cheering on his alma university.
In the 1970s, he established himself as a prolific character performer
Mark Harmon's early success in the acting world was built on a foundation of numerous guest-starring and recurring roles, many of which were on police procedurals.
After spending more time with pop artist Ricky Nelson, his brother-in-law, and his parents, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, he decided to try his hand at acting. The family of musicians starred in a 1950s television series called "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." Harmon told Parade that when Ozzie asked him to fill in for an actress on their spin-off series, "Ozzie's Girls," it "changed (his) course."
After that, he decided to pursue acting instead of professional football and went on to appear in episodes of shows including "Emergency!", "Police Woman," "Laverne & Shirley," and "The Hardy Boys." Moreover, he has landed reoccurring parts as Officer Mike Breen in "Sam," Captain John McIntosh in "Centennial," and Deputy Dwayne Thibideaux in "240-Robert" (via IMDb). Harmon had a busy 1970s thanks to a steady stream of bookings, but it wasn't until 1983 that he had his big role.
In St. Elsewhere, he gained notoriety as Dr. Robert Caldwell
As a result of his nomination for an Emmy for his role as Robert Dunlap in the 1977 miniseries "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years," Mark Harmon's career took off. His performance as serial killer Ted Bundy in the 1980s miniseries "The Deliberate Stranger" earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and he went on to star in other films and TV shows, including the Western "Wyatt Earp," the dark comedy "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and the soap opera "Flamingo Road" (via IMDb).
It wasn't until 1983, however, that he became widely known for his performance as Dr. Robert Caldwell on the hit NBC medical drama "St. Elsewhere." After three seasons as the promiscuous plastic surgeon, he was killed off-screen in a breakthrough moment for the show's genre. According to Variety, his death was the first time a primetime TV character had died from catching HIV through unprotected sex.
It was a huge gamble at the time, but it turned out to be a memorable event. Harmon told Variety that because to the stigma surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, "what they were saying about that character was simply not being done at that time." Harmon not only played a pivotal part in history, but he was also dubbed People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" that same year.
For his work on The West Wing, Mark Harmon was nominated for an Emmy
Mark Harmon played Detective Dicky Cobb on the police drama "Reasonable Doubts" from 1991 to 1993 and as Charlie Grace in the criminal drama "Reasonable Doubts" from 1995 to 1996. Then, from 1996 to 2000, he was a regular on the CBS medical drama "Chicago Hope," in which he played Dr. Jack McNeil. Two episodes of the medical drama were directed by him (via IMDb).
Perhaps the most well-known of Harmon's many guest starring and recurring parts is on "The West Wing." He played Secret Service agent Simon Donovan in four episodes of the critically acclaimed political drama, which starred Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg. When asked by the Chicago Tribune why he decided to take the role, Harmon credited the show's stellar cast and writers. On a late Wednesday afternoon, his agent faxed him a scene, and by Thursday morning, he was on set.
As a result of taking on this job, Harmon was noticed by his future boss and nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Star in a Drama Series.
In 2003, Mark Harmon became a regular on NCIS
Mark Harmon's guest performance on "The West Wing" was so well received that "JAG" producer Donald P. Bellisario recruited him in 2003 (via Entertainment Weekly) to play SSA Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Later that year, Harmon made his debut as Gibbs on the "JAG" spin-off series "NCIS," and the rest is history.
In 2008, Harmon took his role as lead on the show even further by being involved in the production process as a producer and executive producer (via Variety). He later went on to produce the spin-off series "NCIS: New Orleans."It's not shocking that the actor opted to retire after nearly two decades with the long-running show in Season 19 of "NCIS."
Showrunner Steven D. Binder has stated that despite Harmon's transition from series regular to guest star, he will still be "an integral part of the fabric of the show." A final note: "as longtime fans of the show may have noticed over the years… never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out," he remarked (via ET), suggesting that this isn't the end just yet.
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