‘NCIS’ Star Mark Harmon Found Out He Was the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ While Playing Basketball

by Jacklyn Krol

NCIS lead Mark Harmon discovered that he was People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” through a poster.

Harmon was given the title back in 1986 and at first, felt “silly” receiving the honor. He found out about the award in an unexpected way. He did a photoshoot in a tropical button-up, not realizing what was happening in the moment.

“I’d done an interview with People about leaving St. Elsewhere and I went up to play basketball and both backboards on either side of the court were plastered with the [Sexiest Man Alive] cover,” he told the outlet. “So that’s how I found out.”

“There are people who take it certainly much more seriously than I do,” he said before revealing advice to future winners. “Have a sense of humor.” His pick for the next winner? The Pope.

What Followed the ‘NCIS’ Star’s Award

After receiving the title, it both helped and hurt Mark Harmon’s future roles. Although he is good looking and who could forget his piercing blue eyes and signature hairstyle? This look and previous roles both benefited and almost derailed his future by not starring in NCIS.

He used the title for his opening monologue when he hosted Saturday Night Live on May 9, 1987. He gave the opening monologue shirtless, wearing nothing but a bath towel.

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

On the flip side, Harmon was almost passed on for his iconic role in NCIS. This was partially due to the award and his previous work in television and film acting as a sex symbol. Writer and showrunner Don Bellisario viewed him as a “pretty boy,” Entertainment Weekly. The creator believed Gibbs should have been more grizzly. However, things changed once he saw Harmon on the four-episode arc of The West Wing. He landed the job after that.

Surprisingly, the NCIS cast often gives him grief for his legendary status. Wilmer Valderrama joked that you can’t look into his eyes for too long or you’ll drown in them. He enjoys giving his co-star grief and poke fun whenever he can.

“We’ll be talking about vintage cars and then I would segue into, like ‘Well, you would know because you’re the sexiest man alive.’ We always bring it up. . . . He was very sexy,” Valderrama told Cinema Blend.