‘NCIS’ Star Mark Harmon’s Incredible Story of How He Spontaneously Quit His Job to Pursue Acting

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

At this point, the “NCIS” set must feel like a second home to Mark Harmon.

Harmon plays Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the crime drama “NCIS.” However, it isn’t just a casual every day acting gig for the Gibbs actor. He has been on the show since it first premiered back in 2003.

He has spent about 18 years playing his character. In fact, the show was renewed for a season 19 with Mark Harmon still playing his beloved character. Despite having a number of other TV and movie roles before “NCIS,” Harmon will always be the grey-haired, serious leader of the crime unit.

Mark Harmon Quit His Day Job

Mark Harmon just might be the kind of person to tell you that you should in fact quit your day job.

For Harmon, this job is something he’s always wanted to pursue. In an interview with Men’s Journal, Harmon opened up about his ongoing professional career. At one point he realized he just needed to quit his 9-to-5 and give his dreams a chance to come true.

“When I was doing that shoe salesman job. I was coming back from Boston and I was sitting next to a 33-year-old who was talking about trying to make pension at 65. He was drinking his second martini by the time we were wheels up. He was miserable in his job and he was trying to maintain the job for another [32] years. I went home, got in my car, drove out to the place where I worked, and gave my notice,” Harmon said.

While acting has been fulfilling for Harmon, he also revealed if he had to do anything else it would be carpentry. He said he liked getting out of bed each day to do that. He revealed he still enjoys carpentry, but acting is what stole his heart.

Before acting, Harmon spent about four years working at an ad firm. Eventually, he got a promotion and became a national sales representative at a shoe company. To put it simply, he sold shoes for about seven months before moving on to Hollywood. Mark Harmon’s story is a testament to pursue your dreams, especially if your current career makes you miserable.

His very first job as an actor was in an episode of “Ozzie’s Girl.” He would go on to have small roles in a variety of TV shows before eventually gaining popularity. He would soon receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for playing Robert Dunlap in “Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.”

‘NCIS’ Star’s Potential Retirement

As of mid-April, news broke that “NCIS” would return for a 19th season.

The popular show, which still has high ratings and viewers, is close to matching other longtime television programs. For example, “Law & Order: SVU” has been on for 22 seasons and counting. The old popular Western “Gunsmoke” was on for 20 seasons before its cancellation. “NCIS” could be on its way to either matching or eventually beating these records.

Before the renewal, the future of “NCIS” was very much in the air.

Although he has enjoyed his time on “NCIS” and his overall job as an actor, Mark Harmon seemed ready to retire from the role. Since 2008, Harmon has been a producer and executive producer of the show.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Harmon is the reason the show is getting another season. Harmon was ready to move on from the CBS drama. However, he was notified that if he did so “NCIS” would come to an end. Harmon wasn’t ready for that, hence his role in the upcoming series.

He agreed to be on the show again, but it is unclear if that will be full-time or not. He could appear in a limited number of episodes instead.

Although Harmon was able to land his dream job and quit his salesman job, everyone needs to retire at some point.