WATCH: ‘NCIS’ Star Mark Harmon Delivers Hilarious Topless Opening Monologue on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1987

by Jacklyn Krol

Do you remember when NCIS star Mark Harmon delivered an epic Saturday Night Live monologue… topless?

On May 9, 1987, Mark Harmon hosted the iconic sketch comedy show. He appeared through the doors in nothing but a bath towel.

In January 1986 People Magazine named him “Sexiest Man Alive,” this was something he paid tribute to during his monologue and later in a skit.

Where was Harmon during that time? The year prior he finished the show St. Elsewhere, where he portrayed Dr. Robert Caldwell for three years.

“It’s been fun doing the show for the last week, except there’s been just one problem,” the NCIS actor said. “See, as the week went on, I noticed that in every sketch I was wearing less clothing than everyone else.”

Harmon explained that he felt like he was being used after being given People’s title. He even spoke to SNL‘s executive producer. Lorne Michaels told him that it was for Mother’s Day and all of the moms out there. They argued but Harmon won and let him wear the towel.

“There’s only one good thing I can say about being named People magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive,’” he added. “They do have a very nice pageant.” The monologue led into a pre-recorded skit that featured him accepting the honor and playing into the “silly award.”

From Sexiest Man to ‘NCIS’

Ironically, years later, he was almost passed up for his milestone NCIS role. It was showrunner and writer Don Bellisario that didn’t believe he would be right for the gritty role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs. According to Entertainment Weekly, he viewed him as a “pretty boy.” At that time he was a sex symbol and being named one of the sexiest men on earth made it harder to sell him.

Bellisario changed his mind after he saw his four-episode stint on The West Wing. On the show, he played the role of Secret Service agent Simon Donovan. He was assigned to protect press secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney). The two had feelings for one another and acted on them. Unfortunately, Donovan stopped a robbery at a convenience store that ended with him being shot and killed in the Season 3 finale.

The brief role not only landed him the role of Gibbs on NCIS, but also an Emmy nomination. Twenty-five years prior he received his first Emmy nomination. Before officially filming NCIS, he was given a role as a guest star on JAG. This led to the spin-off from the original 90s naval drama series.