Full name: Thomas Mark Harmon
Nicknames: Silver Fox, Quarterback, Papa Smurf, Gibbs
Date of birth: September 2, 1951
Hometown: Burbank, California
Education: Los Angeles Pierce College; University of California, Los Angeles
Son of University of Michigan’s Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon, Mark Harmon followed in his father’s athletic footsteps and played two seasons as starting quarterback for the UCLA Bruins. His 17-5 football career includes a memorable defeat of the defending-champion Cornhuskers and he also secured the 1973 NFF Award for All-Around Excellence. Harmon next pursued his maternal legacy, acting, landing some minor TV roles on series such as Police Woman, Emergency, and Adam-12, supplementing his income as a tennis-shoe salesman. In 1978 he claimed a starring role in the short-lived cop-and-dog series Sam.
In the early ‘80s, Harmon attained massive popularity, securing the female vote with his breakthrough role as sex-hungry plastic surgeon Bobby Caldwell on St. Elsewhere; he was just as popular with the guys for his outdoorsy manly-man appearances as a shill for Coors beer. Even two of his more controversial acting choices during this period failed to dent his bullet-proof appeal: his St. Elsewhere character contracted AIDS (in TV's first portrayal of a heterosexual with the disease) and left the show; shortly thereafter, he portrayed serial killer Ted Bundy in The Deliberate Stranger.
In 1986, People magazine nominated Harmon as "The Sexiest Man Alive" in an article that further cemented his reputation as an unimpeachable, do-it-yourself guy. Mark's response to the flattery: "When I look in the mirror, all I see is a bunch of fake teeth and football scars." The following year witnessed his marriage to actress Pam Dawber; the couple has two sons and one of those rare Hollywood credits: a genuinely solid marriage.
In the late ‘80s and throughout the ‘90s, Harmon racked up a succession of commanding roles in TV (Moonlighting, Reasonable Doubts, Charlie Grace, Chicago Hope) and film (Summer School, The Presidio, Wyatt Earp). In 2002, his guest-starring arc as CJ Craig's ill-fated love interest, secret service agent Simon Donovan, on The West Wing, netted him an Emmy Award. The following year, a two-episode stint on JAG blossomed into his starring role as Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the CBS ratings juggernaut NCIS.