‘NCIS’: Mark Harmon Made a ‘Few Bucks’ at a Surprising Job Before His Rise to Fame

by Jacklyn Krol

Did you know that NCIS star Mark Harmon had different jobs before getting into acting?

Harmon revealed to The Rich Eisen Show that he wanted to take pride in his work, he grew up looking up to him and his career path.

“I sold shoes, I was in law school for a little bit,” he said of his jobs. After being on the UCLA football team he turned to shoes.

“I worked for Adidas for about eight months,” he revealed. “And before that, I was in merchandising and radio here in Los Angeles.” All while doing the majority of his jobs, he was studying acting at night.

“For a few years after college other than being carpenter I was just trying to do whatever I could do to make a few bucks,” Mark Harmon concluded.

After being a quarterback for one of the major colleges in the United States, he didn’t attempt to go pro.

“I had a chance to go to camp,” he said of the NFL. “I had calls from New England I had AFL the CFL they were all in full swing at the time. But I just never,” he said before pausing. “It was never even something I thought about it was just it was time to move on to something else.”

When pressed further, he said that when you do something long enough like football, it’s hard to say goodbye. But at the end of the day, he never had aspirations to make it into a full-time career, although his former teammates and friends did.

Mark Harmon Almost Had Different Name on ‘NCIS’

Could you imagine Mark Harmon’s NCIS character with a different name? It almost happened.

“For a moment, when I started getting interested in doing it,” Harmon told Parade. “The name changed to Bob Nelson or something. And I said, ‘Eh…please, can you put the name back?’”

His fellow co-star Sean Murray sang his praises. Murray believes that the reason the show is so popular and has hung on for nineteen seasons is because of Mark Harmon.

“He’s a real actor,” Murray told Country Living. “He goes for the realness of it, the truth of it, you know? That’s what we all strive to do as actors. Boy, is he good at it.”

Surprisingly, the pair met on another project before NCIS.

“I actually worked with him when I was 15 on another show called Harts of the West,” he shared. Originally, Jeff Bridges was going to portray an alcoholic rodeo clown but had a scheduling issue. Mark Harmon filled his big shoes.

“And they got Harmon to come and do the part instead… which I’ll never forget. That’s where I first met Harmon. And he made an impression on me even back then,” Murray concluded.