Mark Harmon's Wife, Pam Dawber, Initially Hesitated to Join 'NCIS'

Mark Harmon's wife of 34 years, Pam Dawber, made her first appearance on 'NCIS' in early 2021. She was reluctant to join the cast at first — here's why.

Leila Kozma - Author

May 4 2021, Updated 1:14 p.m. ET

Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber
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Actor Mark Harmon skyrocketed to fame with appearances on The Love Boat and St. Elsewhere — but most viewers will undoubtedly recognize him as Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS

As Gibbs, Mark plays a demanding, albeit well-meaning boss who, as some fans will recall, has encountered many complications in his romantic relationships. At one point, his ex-wife, Diane, even scammed one of his colleagues. But what about Mark's love life off-screen? 

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Mark Harmon and his wife, Pam Dawber, have been together since the 1980s.

Mark met his wife, Pam Dawber, in 1986, the same year he was named the "sexiest man alive" by People. They got married in 1987, just as their acting careers took off. Mark received a Golden Globe nomination for his work on The Deliberate Stranger in 1987. Only a year later, another Golden Globe nomination followed for his portrayal of Elmer Jackson in After the Promise. 

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Born and raised in Michigan, Pam started out as a model before landing one of her first acting roles in Sister Terri in 1978That same year, Pam made her debut on Mork & Mindy, starring alongside Robin Williams. 

Juggling a successful career and a long-term relationship came with its own challenges, however. In a 2016 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Pam cautioned fellow actors to think twice before choosing the life of A-listers. 

"I don't think two people can work all the time in show business and stay married," Pam said. 

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Her marriage with Mark certainly defies that. The couple welcomed their first son, Sean, in 1988. He was followed by Ty Christian in 1992. But Pam never gave up on her career.

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"I wanted to drive my kids to school. I wanted to be there for their birthdays and bring cupcakes and donuts and do the school festivals and all that, and I did," Pam told Entertainment Tonight

In 1988, Pam was starring in the hit TV series My Sister Sam. Over the next ten or so years, she also landed roles in TV movies like Stay Tuned and Kevin's Kitchen. 

As Pam said to ET, having kids made her warier of tabloid culture — and she went the extra mile to protect her kids' privacy. 

"Notice you don't see us in the magazines," Pam told the outlet. "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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Pam Dawber made her debut on 'NCIS' only recently.

Pam signed on for four non-consecutive episodes with NCIS, per TVLine. She made her debut in Season 18 and immediately impressed fans with her impeccable portrayal of Marcie Warren, an investigative journalist determined to find out more about the circumstances surrounding Gibbs' indefinite suspension

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"The show has been on for a hundred years, and they have come at me a few times. Either I just didn't want to do it or I didn't appreciate what it was they wanted me to do. Or it was near Christmas and it was like, 'I can't do this. I've got my parents coming into town,'" Pam told Entertainment Weekly about her initial feelings of appearing on NCIS. 

As Pam told the outlet, she changed her mind after reading the script — Marcie's role was too good to pass on. 

Catch new episodes of NCIS every Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS. 

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