‘NCIS’: Mark Harmon Opens Up on Why His Marriage Has Stood the Test of Time

by Joe Rutland

Having a long-term marriage in show business takes work. “NCIS” star Mark Harmon knows it does with his wife, actress Pam Dawber.

In 2014, late talk-show host Larry King interviewed Harmon. He asked how long Harmon and Dawber have been married. The answer was 27 years at that time. In 2021, it’s now 34 years.

When asked if he has a philosophy on how Harmon has made his marriage last, he’s quick to say “no.”

“I would have told you if I had one,” Harmon said. “No, you know what Larry, you hope to be smart enough to choose right, you know? And like you, at different times, I had to kiss a lot of frogs to get there. So my point being, I’m not throwing dirt on any of that, is you learn, you grow, [and] you change. You try not to make choices that you regret.”

Harmon, who plays Jethro Gibbs on “NCIS,” and Dawber have two children from their marriage. For context, King, who died on Jan. 23, 2021, at 87 years old, was married seven times and had five children.

Dawber is best known to classic TV fans for playing Mindy McConnell in “Mork and Mindy,” which also starred the late Robin Williams. Earlier this year, she appeared on “NCIS” for a four-episode arc as investigative journalist Marcie Warren. It’s not clear if she will return to the hit CBS drama this fall in that role.

‘NCIS’ Star Mark Harmon’s Rift with Pauley Perrette

From its first season on CBS in 2003, “NCIS” had a pretty tight four-member cast. Obviously, Harmon was the main star. David McCallum, who plays Donald “Duckey” Mallard, and Sean Murray, who plays Timothy McGee, are still on the show.

But the fourth member of that cast, Pauley Perrette, left after 15 seasons in 2018. Why?

First and foremost, Perrette claimed Mark Harmon committed “multiple physical assaults” on set, according to Newsweek. However, another major issue came through Mark Harmon’s dogs.

See, Dave reportedly took a bite at one of the show’s crew on the set. Paulette was upset about this, making it clear that having the dog on the set wasn’t providing a safe place to work.

Harmon did hear her complaints but chose to keep bringing Dave around. Paulette didn’t like this and, eventually, left her role as Abby on “NCIS” because of it.

Fans didn’t like seeing Paulette leave yet the show will be entering its 19th season on CBS. She kept working, though, appearing in the now-canceled “Broke.” In May 2020, Paulette said on Twitter that she’s retired from acting so we won’t be seeing her in any new roles anytime soon.