Mark Harmon has been a television legend for quite some time, even if his low-key marriage doesn’t reflect his status. Harmon’s most notable role is his portrayal of special agent Leroy Jethro Gibson on the procedural NCIS. The show has gone on to become one the longest-running scripted television shows on air.
Harmon’s character is now one of the most popular characters on primetime television. His performance as Gibbs has garnered praise and increased his popularity, and his future on the show is a hot topic for rumors. Although the actor has made no plans to step away from the show, Harmon most likely had no idea how long he’d be playing the lawman when he originally took the role.
When Mark Harmon met Leroy Gibbs
Harmon was never a stranger to primetime television, but he was interested in another career prior to becoming an actor. Harmon was the starting quarterback for UCLA and wanted to pursue a career in advertising or law after college. He did briefly pursue a career in business but soon switched to acting and began taking acting lessons. From there, Harmon would get small gigs on TV shows and films and worked with entertainment legends such as Michael Caine and Karl Malden.
“They were all humble; they all gave me valuable time and camaraderie and advice,” the actor recalled during an interview with Parade. Following this, Harmon played in a four-episode story arc on The West Wing as Secret Service Special Agent Simon Donovan. The actor received critical acclaim for his role.
Mark Harmon said that during this time, his work schedule began to pick up and caused some conflict in his family life. “I was directing a lot, I was doing a movie here or there and we had this young family that was growing up, and I was missing a lot of [family time], which just was not OK,” the actor said. Fortunately, the work would soon become a lot more steady.
Donald P. Bellisario, the future creator of NCIS, appreciated Harmon’s work on The West Wing, which led to Harmon’s soon-to-be-iconic character Gibbs first appearing on Bellisario’s show, JAG. Gibbs soon took the lead role on the spinoff NCIS. Taking on the role of Gibbs was not only a turning point in his career, but it also helped balance out his personal life as well. Since his time on NCIS, Harmon has also signed on to be one of the show’s executive producers and co-developed another spin-off show, NCIS: New Orleans.