NCIS star Mark Harmon details twist of fate that led him to wife of 36 years

Goliath Awaits trailer from 1981 starring Mark Harmon

Actor Mark Harmon revealed that a simple cold call to Pam Dawber led to their first date and subsequent 37-year marriage.

The NCIS alum recounted to PEOPLE how he bypassed a planned group date and instead directly phoned Dawber, a star known for Mork & Mindy.

Their immediate connection resulted in a date the same night and a wedding one year to the day later.

Harmon, 72, shared the story while discussing his upcoming book, Ghosts of Honolulu, due out November 14.

The couple’s relationship began shortly after Harmon was named PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1986, a time when he expressed a desire for a lasting marriage over casual relationships.

Now parents to two sons in their thirties, Sean, an actor, and Ty, a screenwriter, Harmon reflects on a shared understanding of work ethic and the importance of laughter and communication in his long-standing marriage with Dawber.

Family time was a key factor in Harmon’s decision to take on the role of Special Agent Gibbs on NCIS, which allowed him to maintain an active presence in his sons’ lives despite a demanding work schedule.

Harmon, who had the opportunity to work alongside Dawber during her guest role on “NCIS,” expresses deep gratitude for his family and career, emphasizing the value of time spent with loved ones over anything else.

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Former NCIS star Mark Harmon made it clear that his departure from the popular CBS series was not a retirement.

Harmon, 72, has shifted his focus from acting to writing, with his first historical nonfiction book set to release next month.

After 19 seasons portraying Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Harmon has been immersed in researching for his upcoming book, Ghosts of Honolulu: A Japanese Spy, a Japanese American Spy Hunter, and the Untold Story of Pearl Harbor.

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