Mark Harmon's family mourns the tragic sudden death of a beloved family member

Junie Sihlangu
May 11, 2018
10:32 A.M.
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Not that many people know that Mark Harmon had an older sister. Only die-hard fans are aware of Kristin Harmon who unfortunately passed away this year.


She died on April 27, 2018. Her daughter, Tracy Kristine Nelson shared on Facebook that her mother had died from a heart attack. 

Kristin Harmon died at the age of 72. Her life started off well until she found fame and then things spiraled out of control.

Kristin was an actress and painter. Her daughter Tracy confirmed her passing on May 1, 2018, saying that her mother had died unexpectedly.


Kristin was born to football star and Heisman trophy winner Tom Harmon and actress Elyse Knox Harmon. She was the older sister of Mark, 66, and former model Kelly Harmon, 69.

At the age of 12, she met Ricky Nelson, who was the son of ’50s superstars, Ozzie and Harriet. She starred alongside his family on their sitcom and radio show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Kristin later fell in love with Ricky and they married in 1963 when she was 18 years old. She found fame when she appeared on the family’s show as Ozzie and Harriet’s real-life and TV daughter-in-law

“We were hippie rock ‘n’ rollers. We did what everyone else was doing all those years.”


Kristin Harmon, People, September 7, 1987

After six months of marriage, Tracy was born. In 1967, the Nelson’s twin sons, Gunnar and Matthew, were born and would eventually form their rock band, Nelson.

Their fourth child, Sam, was born in 1974. Things seemed great for the two until they started living the Hollywood lifestyle and using drugs.

They ended up going to therapy until Ricky stopped. Eventually, in 1980, Kristin filed for divorce and was temporarily granted custody of the children and spousal support.


Their divorce was finalized in 1982. During this time, Kristin had continued to use drugs and to drink “quite heavily.”

Two years before Kristin’s divorce, Kelly took care of Sam every afternoon and all day on Saturday for the next 18 months. Sam lived with Kristin’s parents before moving into Mark’s home with his wife Pam Dawber.


In 1985, Ricky died along with his fiancée Helen Blair and five members of his road company in a plane crash while traveling to Texas. Mark urged Kristin to sign herself into rehab as she continued to spiral out of control.

After rehab in 1987, Kristin was informed that her brother had filed for custody of her son Sam. When the case started getting ugly with accusations from both camps, Mark chose to stop the proceedings.


The family eventually worked out an agreement in which Kristin retained custody and Mark was granted visiting rights. The brother and sister agreed to enter family therapy along with Sam.

Sam went on to graduate from Boston College and formed his band H Is Orange. According to Medium in 2016, he shared that he and his mother were “absolutely close” and that she was living in New Mexico.