Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber were married on March 21, 1987 and this year they will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. That's pretty impressive by Hollywood standards, isn't it?
Mark and Pam are the parents of two sons, Sean Thomas and Ty Christian. Sean was born on April 25, 1988 and Ty was born on June 25, 1992. The couple met in March of 1986 at a party given by a mutual friend and were introduced to each other by actress Gina Hecht. They have always been a tad reclusive and they have guarded their privacy fiercely.
Pam Dawber was born in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, Michigan on October 18, 1951. She is the daughter of Eugene E. Dawber, a commercial artist and his wife Thelma (nee Fisher), a photo agency operator. Pam was raised in Farmington Hills where she attended North Farmington High School. Gifted with a beautiful soprano voice, she later prepared for a singing career at Oakland Community College in Oakland County, Michigan. While at the college, she did some modelling in Detroit.
At the age of 19, Pam Dawber moved to New York City and began a career as a fashion model, eventually signing a contract with the Wilhelmina Model Agency. She went on to study acting and was cast in her breakout role as Mindy McConnell.
From 1978 to 1982, Pam played Mindy in the hit television series Mork and Mindy. She and co-star Robin Williams shot to fame in this comedy about a wisecracking extraterrestrial, Mork from the planet "Ork," played by Williams.
In December of 1976, Pam suffered the devastating loss of her only sibling. Born with a congestive heart condition, Leslie Dawber, Pam's younger sister, was just 22 years old when she died during open-heart surgery.
After Leslie's death, Pam underwent therapy. "When a tragedy happens that big," she told People magazine in 1987, "you have to reassess your life." She said, "I believe my sister is out there somewhere, and that is a calming idea."
After the demise of Mork and Mindy, Pam Dawber, won the lead role in another situation comedy. From 1986 to 1988, she played freelance photographer Samantha Russell on My Sister Sam. Sam Russell shared a San Francisco apartment with her younger sister Patti, played by Rebecca Schaeffer.
Sadly, on July 18, 1989, an obsessed fan killed Rebecca in the doorway of her Los Angeles apartment building. The crazed gunman, John Bardo, had been stalking the 21-year-old actress for three years. Her tragic murder left Pam heartbroken at the death of her television sister.
Pam Dawber has not been active on screen for quite awhile. In a 2008 interview, she said she may return to acting at some point. She also revealed that she had not seen Robin Williams for about eight years. To watch the 2008 interview, click on the link below.
Mark Harmon is the son of American football hero Tom Harmon. Tom won the Heisman Trophy in 1940 and is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the Michigan Wolverines. After his retirement from football, he became a sports broadcaster. On March 15, 1990, Tom Harmon passed away in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack. He was 70 years old.
Mark's mother, Elyse Knox, died last week at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94 years old at the time of her death. Elyse was a model and fashion designer in Manhattan until Hollywood beckoned in the late 1930s. A contract player, she appeared in almost 40 films for major studios. When she married Tom Harmon in 1944, Elyse's wedding dress was made from the parachute that saved his life when his plane was shot down over China during World War II.
Tom and Elyse settled in Los Angeles and raised three children: Sharon Kristen (born June 25, 1945); Kelly Jean (born November 9, 1948) and Thomas Mark (born September 2, 1951). Mark and his older sisters all became actors. In 1963, Kristen married singer/actor Ricky Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet fame. She and Rick had four children and divorced acrimoniously.
In 1987, two years after Rick's death in a plane accident, Mark and Pam petitioned for custody of their nephew, Sam Hilliard Nelson (born August 29, 1974), Kristen and Rick's youngest child. They contended that Kristen was incapable of being a good parent due to drug use and mood swings.
Sam was 13 at the time and the custody battle was highly publicized. It tore the Harmon family apart. In the end, however, Mark and Pam dropped the petition and Kristen was given custody of Sam. Mark and his wife were granted visitation rights.
Following in his father's footsteps, Mark Harmon was a college football star during his days at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). In 1972, he appeared with his parents in a television commercial for Kellogg's Product 19.
Click on the link below to watch the Kellogg's Product 19 ad.
Mark Harmon launched his long and highly successful television career with an appearance on Ozzie's Girls, a 1973-74 syndicated series starring his sister Kristen's in-laws, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. Since 1973, Mark has been involved in series after series including St. Elsewhere, Moonlighting, Chicago Hope and The West Wing. He often plays the role of a doctor or a law enforcement officer.
On the medical drama St. Elsewhere, Mark portrayed Dr. Robert "Bobby" Caldwell, a philandering plastic surgeon. He played the role from 1983 until the final episode of the series in 1986. In that last episode, it was revealed that Dr. Caldwell was HIV postive.
Harmon, now 60 years old, currently plays the lead role in the No 1 series on American television. The series is called NCIS, which stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service. It's in its ninth season and recently celebrated its 200th episode.
NCIS is viewed in more than 200 countries around the world and is translated into more than 20 different languages. This forensic police show, originally a spinoff of the CBS drama JAG, made its debut in 2003. Mark Harmon plays the part of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a former sniper, who leads a fictional team of special agents headquartered in Washington, D.C. Their mission is to investigate crimes within the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
Mark and Pam's eldest son, 23-year-old Sean Harmon, is also an actor and has portrayed the young Gibbs on NCIS. Sean attended the Los Angeles Film School (LAFS) and has had small roles in independent productions. He has also taken classes in stunt coordination.
|Sean T. Harmon|
Mark Harmon is a master at evading unwanted questions. In matters regarding his family, he remains steadfastly and unfailingly discreet. For example, when asked about the possibility of his actress wife, Pam, appearing as a guest star on NCIS, Harmon replied, "You'll have to ask her."
Pam and Mark have worked together in the past. In the late 1990s, they performed in the play Love Letters. They also played husband and wife John and Barbara Cooper in the 1999 film I'll Remember April. The film tells the story of four young boys who discover a shipwrecked Japanese soldier during World War II and must decide whether to save him.
To watch a video about Mark, Pam and their children, click on the link below.
Editor's Note and Update (December 28, 2012)
A reader pointed out that I neglected to mention that Mark Harmon appeared in the prime time soap Flamingo Road. Mark played the role of Fielding Carlyle in all 38 episodes of the show from 1981 until 1982. Flamingo Road chronicled the lives of the citizens of a sleepy little fictional town called Truro, Florida.