Actor Mark Harmon is the son of football great Tom Harmon and 1940s film star Elyse Knox; he is the brother of Kris Harmon -- ex-wife of Ricky Nelson -- and uncle of Kris and Ricky's actress daughter Tracy Nelson; and finally, Harmon is the husband of Mork and Mindy star Pam Dawber. Harmon emulated his dad by playing football at UCLA, then followed in mom's footsteps by turning to acting; his first movie was 1978's Comes a Horseman. Most of Harmon's starring film appearances are easy to take but unmemorable, such as his lackadaisical high-school teacher in Summer School (1988). A baseball fan, Harmon was once part-owner of the minor-league San Bernardino Spirit, a team which figured prominently in his 1988 film vehicle Stealing Home. Harmon is best known for his work on 1980s series TV: he has co-starred in Flamingo Road and Moonlighting, and played the lead role of AIDs-stricken Dr. Bob Calswell on St. Elsewhere. TV would prove to be a source of success for the actor, and he would go on to star on such popular shows as Chicago Hope and NCIS.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- The son of Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon, he quarterbacked the UCLA Bruins during the 1972 and '73 seasons and received the National Collegiate Football Foundation Award for All Around Excellence.
- Worked briefly as a salesman for a tennis-shoe company and as a carpenter.
- Got an early acting break when Jack Webb offered him a part on Adam-12 after first suggesting that the long-haired, mustachioed Harmon adopt a more clean-cut appearance.
- Is the brother of actress Kristin Nelson, who is the mother of actress Tracy Nelson and of twins Gunnar and Matthew of the singing duo Nelson.
- Was named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive in 1996.
- Saved the lives of two teens in 1996, using a sledgehammer to break into a burning car in which the victims were trapped.