“NCIS” fans know frontman Mark Harmon is famously private. Although he’s been on the popular CBS crime drama for decades, the 66-year-old has maintained a low profile and keeps his online presence to a minimum.
“It’s not even a choice. It’s who we are,” he said during an interview from 2018. “We stay home. A lot. I’m not a Twitter guy or a Facebook guy. Our sons aren’t into that, either.”
He raised his two sons, 30-year-old Sean and 25-year-old Ty, with his wife, actress Pam Dawber, away from the spotlight. As the son of a sportscaster and an actress, Harmon now knows a thing or two about fame.
“My parents kept things real — I had no idea they were famous,” he said. “In fact, it didn’t hit me until one day when I was riding in the car with my father in Ann Arbor, Mich. – I was maybe eight and could barely see above the dashboard – and we stopped at a crosswalk.
He continued: “Suddenly, we were surrounded by people who recognized my dad and were really thrilled to see him. I remember looking at this man I thought I knew so well and thinking, ‘Who are you?'”
Long before he was one of Hollywood’s most notable stars, he was a football star at UCLA. After school, he later worked as a roofer, carpenter, and shoe salesman. He later got into acting thanks to his sister’s father-in-law Ozzie Nelson of “Ozzie & Harriet.”
“I’d never been on a set before,” recalled Harmon about his acting debut in 1973 on “Ozzie’s Girls.” He later found love when he met Pam Dawber at a party. They tied the knot in 1987.
Mark Harmon’s Custody Battle off-Screen
Additionally, Dawber saw success herself as an actor. She had roles in “Mork & Mindy” and “My Sister Sam.” She later put her acting career aside when the two had children.
As for Harmon, life off-camera wasn’t so dreamy. His sister had gotten involved with drugs, and as a result, Harmon had to step in to gain custody of her 12-year-old son, Sam.
Harmon ultimately ended his fight to get custody and was instead given visitation rights. Nevertheless, Sam remained close to his mother until she died at 72. As for Harmon, he’s always put his family first and his career second. But, as he describes, he didn’t come to learn that until 1991.
“I was in the jungles of New Guinea making a not very good movie when my firstborn took his first steps,” he said. “No job is worth missing life’s most important moments.”Harmon may enjoy being a family man when he’s not working, but he’s still humble that his fans love seeing him weekly on “NCIS.” Harmon is set to appear in the 19th season of “NCIS.”