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Mark Harmon Left 'NCIS' after Nearly 2 Decades — His Wife of 35 Years Gave up Her Career for Their Children

Oyin Balogun
Aug 28, 2022
03:55 P.M.
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Mark Harmon and his wife understand what it means to make sacrifices, which has helped keep their long-term marriage. The "NCIS" beloved actor left the show after nearly twenty years for his wife, who took to the back burner of fame for their family.

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Since the early 2000s, CBS's "NCIS" has treated fans to a thrilling and suspense-filled experience encapsulated in the crime/action series. They have also introduced the likes of Mark Harmon, an all-time favorite actor on the show.

Harmon, who played Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs since 2003, decided to exit the show in the early scenes of the 19th season. Following his departure, the actor remained silent, but recently, Harmon opened up to ET in an exclusive interview.

Pam Dawber and Mark Harmon at the Premiere of "Dr. Dolittle" in New York City, New York, United States. | Source: Getty Images

Pam Dawber and Mark Harmon at the Premiere of "Dr. Dolittle" in New York City, New York, United States. | Source: Getty Images

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The on-screen legend confessed that he had always been intrigued by his character but also agreed that every good thing must come to an end—and plot-wise, it was time for Gibbs to retire.

However, he convinced fans that Gibbs is not saddled with a sad life because of retirement. Instead, the agent is still enjoying his life while "living in Alaska."

Mark Harmon and his wife Pam Dawber. | Source: Getty Images

Mark Harmon and his wife Pam Dawber. | Source: Getty Images

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Although Harmon's exit was a shock to fans in October 2021, during his final days on the show, his character made it clear that he would be stepping aside from his special agent duty.

Gibbs did not specify how long he would be away, but he entrusted his responsibility to his protege and friend, McGee. The agent talked about holding onto the peace he recently found, adding that it eluded him when he lost his family.

Mark Harmon and his wife, Pam Dawber, attend the Golden Boot Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 13, 2005, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Mark Harmon and his wife, Pam Dawber, attend the Golden Boot Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 13, 2005, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Steven D. Binder, the executive producer on "NCIS" who, over the years, has bonded with Harmon, made fans hopeful of seeing Gibbs again. According to Binder:

"Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show… So regarding the future of Gibbs, as longtime fans of the show may have noticed over the years, never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out."

HARMON'S WIFE SACRIFICED FAME FOR FAMILY

Harmon and his wife, Paw Dawber, share one of the most beautiful love stories in the history of Hollywood. But how did this happen despite the pair being two famous stars on screen?

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Mark Harmon & Pam Dawber at The 18th Annual Cable ACE Awards at Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

Mark Harmon & Pam Dawber at The 18th Annual Cable ACE Awards at Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

Dawber was introduced to the world after working on "Mork & Mindy" with Robin Williams, and at the time she met Harmon via a mutual friend, she was a star in "My Sister Sam."

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On the other hand, Harmon was a hot cake, career-wise and in terms of his physical appearance. In 1986, he was dubbed the sexiest man alive by People Magazine and had bagged roles in "St. Elsewhere" and "Moonlighting."

Mark Harmon and his wife Pam Dawber. | Source: Getty Images

Mark Harmon and his wife Pam Dawber. | Source: Getty Images

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The couple carried on with a secret romance, away from the eagle-eyed public to protect it. The press barely knew when they got engaged, and according to Dawber, they were not trying to be secretive. However, she added:

"But if you don't want it exploited by the press, you have to."

In 1987, Harmon and Dawber officially became a couple. Their wedding was a small, intimate ceremony with only a few friends and family in attendance. Somehow, their formula for keeping things low-key has worked brilliantly.

Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber. | Source: Getty Images

Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber. | Source: Getty Images

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The couple has remained married for thirty-five years, without controversies or divorce rumors, and they are parents to two adult kids. Undoubtedly, they got the happy-ever-after they wished for, but shockingly, this came at a price they were willing to pay.

Dawber, a one-time prominent actress, decided to lay down her fame and career to build the family they wanted. So while Harmon's career grew more successful and made all the money, the "Mork & Mindy" star tended to their home front and kids.

Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber. | Source: Getty Images

Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber. | Source: Getty Images

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The former actress believed being a busy bee like her husband would have threatened their marriage. She was aware of her booming career, which included voice-over for cartoons, musical theater, Broadway, and a number one tv show, but then, she knew it was time to step aside. In her words:

"I had children, and it's like 'I'm not going to chase this fame thing." She added, "I don't think two people can work all the time in show business and stay married."

The last time she got involved with any TV production was in 1998 when she voiced Perdy on the "101 Dalmatians: The Series" show.

Pam Dawber and husband Mark Harmon at the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures 52nd Annual Awards Dinnerheld at the Hilton Universal City on September 14, 2013 in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Pam Dawber and husband Mark Harmon at the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures 52nd Annual Awards Dinnerheld at the Hilton Universal City on September 14, 2013 in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Apart from having a settled marriage, Dawber wanted to be involved with her kids. She loved the idea of bonding with her sons and loved to drive them to school, attend school activities and be around to make special events like birthdays.

The "Mork & Mindy" star was also ready to ensure that her family never appeared in the tabloids for anything controversial. The only way for this to happen was to rely on the first rule in her romance. So, confidently and reassuringly, she quipped:

"Notice you don't see us in the magazines. When you're married, that's real life. And to go and plaster your kids... I'm sorry. I'm not for that."

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Actor Mark Harmon and wife actress Pam Dawber during the Rolling Stones performance at Echoplex on April 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Mark Harmon and wife actress Pam Dawber during the Rolling Stones performance at Echoplex on April 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Having established the values she wanted for her family, Dawber agreed to return to TV for a few appearances. In 2014, she reunited with her former co-star, Williams, on "The Crazy Ones."

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She later made a guest appearance on "The Odd Couple" in an episode dedicated to Garry Marshall, who was responsible for her feature on "Mork & Mindy."

HARMON'S KIDS AND LIFE NOW

Harmon and his wife started a family a year after their marriage. The couple's first child is Sean, born in 1988. Four years later, he was joined by his brother, Ty.

Actress Pam Dawber and son Pam Dawber participate in the Mark Harmon star ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 1, 2012 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Pam Dawber and son Pam Dawber participate in the Mark Harmon star ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 1, 2012 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Since their parenting journey began, the couple has been hands-on and in sync with how they raise their kids. While Dawber sacrificed her career, Harmon remained dedicated to fatherhood, juggling career, and parenting.

The actor is confident they passed down their low-profile lifestyle to the boys. "We stay home—a lot. I'm not a Twitter guy or a Facebook guy. Our sons aren't into that either. Pam and I have made a living in this business, and still, there's a part that's just not natural." he once shared.

Actor Mark Harmon and wife Pam Dawber attend TV Guide magazine's Annual Hot List Party at Greystone Mansion Supperclub on November 7, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Mark Harmon and wife Pam Dawber attend TV Guide magazine's Annual Hot List Party at Greystone Mansion Supperclub on November 7, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Apart from inheriting the family's watchword, their kids inherited their careers. The eldest, Sean, has worked as a stuntman in many films; he is also an actor and director.

His acting/directing credits include "Major Crimes," "NCIS," alongside his dad, "NCIS: Los Angeles," "CSI: NY," "Thicker," and "Catholic Schoolgirl Chainsaw Showdown."

Sean's younger brother also has a career in Hollywood, but he prefers to stay away from the camera. Ty works as a screenwriter. In 2012, he teamed up with Sean on the "Catholic Schoolgirl Chainsaw Showdown."

Actor Mark Harmon and actress Pam Dawber during the 2011 TV Guide Magazine Hot List Party at Greystone Manor Supperclub on November 7, 2011 in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Mark Harmon and actress Pam Dawber during the 2011 TV Guide Magazine Hot List Party at Greystone Manor Supperclub on November 7, 2011 in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Certainly, Harmon's offspring are making him proud, and with his time away from the camera, he has settled just fine into a fulfilling family life.

Following his exit from "NCIS," DailyMail spotted the 70-year-old getting busy around his LA residence; he appeared to be in great shape as he moved briskly in jeans and an army green jacket.

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