Pam Dawber Sacrificed Fame to be Mom to Mark Harmon's Kids - Her Son is Married & Follows his Father's Footsteps
Mark Harmon celebrated his 36th anniversary with his wife, Pam Dawber. The couple met through a mutual friend, dated, got engaged secretly, and married privately. They became the 80s "it" couple before Dawber quit her career to care for their kids. Today, they are proud parents of grown-up "handsome" sons, one of whom is a carbon copy of his dad, and the other recently married.
One of Hollywood's longest-running couples, Pam Dawber and Mark Harmon, celebrated their 36th anniversary this year. Their relationship has only gotten stronger over the years, and their bond is truly unique.
Before their paths crossed, Harmon had dated his "Road" costar Cristina Raines for four years. However, the relationship hit a dead end in 1984. Even though Harmon says Raines will always remain a special lady to him, at the time, he was looking for true love.
At the same time, Dawber had a list of qualities she wanted in a future partner. He needed to have a sense of humor and be warm, sensual, sensitive, independent, intelligent, and strong. It seemed like a long shot, but when she met Harmon, he met all of her requirements.
The pair first met when they were introduced at a mutual friend's party and quickly realized they had a lot in common. They hit it off and got married in 1987 in a private ceremony attended only by those closest to them.
Harmon had only been named Sexiest Man Alive in 1986 and nailed his roles in "Moonlighting" and "St. Elsewhere". On the other hand, Dawber was at the top of her game, playing the female lead on "Mork & Mindy" and then her sitcom "My Sister Sam."
They quickly became known as the "it" couple of the 80s, and they truly deserved it. Surprisingly, they preferred a quieter and more private relationship. For Dawber, meeting Harmon was not just about the right timing but also about meeting her perfect match. He was an old-fashioned gentleman, just what she sought in a spouse. In addition to stealing her heart, Harmon was also a real-life hero.
The actor, who plays the lead role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs in "NCIS," recounted how he saved a teenager from a burning car crash in 1996 near his home in Los Angeles. He recounted how he had broken the windshield with a sledgehammer, rescuing the young man right before the vehicle was engulfed in flames.
The "After The Promise" star and the survivor, Collins Beck, remained friends after the ordeal and later met up at Harmon's home, where they enjoyed dinner. Beck would later say that "he owes everything to him and has no doubt he wouldn't be alive without him."
Harmon has consistently given credit to his wife for his heroic actions that saved Beck. Despite his heroic act, Harmon says most of the credit should go to his wife, who was the first to arrive and suggested the right tool that made it possible for him to break the windshield and rescue the young man:
"She's the one that said get a sledgehammer. She called for the right tool. A regular hammer wouldn't have done it, and a golf club wouldn't have done it. She said a sledgehammer."
Their marriage is a trendsetter for many, with talk show host Larry King referring to it as an "amazing stable marriage in a hectic world." Harmon says that while everyone hopes to find a compatible partner, the search for a soulmate does not always turn out as planned, and he had to kiss many frogs to find his one true love.
He is grateful that he made the choice to stay married to Dawber, despite the typical challenges that couples face. He appreciates his wife's many sacrifices over the years to make a stable family for them, and he also credits his stable marriage to his own good choices.
Dawber Sacrificed Her Career for Her Family — She Has No Regrets
Dawber began her stints in entertainment during her college years, deferring her studies at Oakland Community College to do modeling work. She eventually dropped off her studies altogether to pursue modeling full-time. She relocated to New York City where she planned on becoming a fashion model, but later switched to acting.
She became well-known for her roles in commercials for Underalls, Neet, Noxzema, and Fotomat in the 1970s, before landing her breakthrough role in the ABC sitcom "Mork & Mindy," as Mindy McConnell.
In 1986, Dawber landed the role of Samantha Russell on the CBS sitcom "My Sister Sam." The show was canceled in 1988, but she continued to work in other roles. A woman of many trades, she had a role in a number one show, did Broadway, went to musical theater, and did cartoon voices, but after she and Harmon had their children, she put her thriving career on hold to become a full-time mom.
She was proud of the fact that she drove her children to school, was present for their birthdays, and taught in their art classes, but she also decided to stay away from show business because there are so many other important things in life.
The "Remembrance of Love" actress knows that if she continues her celebrity life, her family will likely be a regular presence in the tabloids. Instead, she chose to stay away to protect them from the constant prying eyes of the Hollywood paparazzi. She later revealed:
"Notice you don't see us in the magazines. When you're married, that's real life. And to go plaster your kids…I'm sorry. I'm not for that."
After having her children, she continued to act sporadically through the 1990s, with appearances in 1992's "Stay Tuned", 1997's "Life… and Stuff", and the 1999 period film "I'll Remember April".
"The Face of Fear" actress adores her sons and said in an interview with Craig Ferguson that she is much more at ease when they leave home than when they live there and come in late, and she has no idea what they are doing.
She also shared how private her husband really is and how he loves his life just the way it is - even though he's a star on the No. 1 TV drama. He joked that he doesn't want her talking too much about him on talk shows, and he and his family really enjoy a quieter life away from the cameras.
"We stay home. A lot. I'm not a Twitter guy or a Facebook guy. Our sons aren't into that, either."
Many of Harmon's interviews are a window into his value of family and home life. He keeps his private life separate from his work, and as his costar Sean Murray says, he is incredibly grounded and knows that family is most important.
Regarding Gibbs, Harmon opened up about his character leaving the show in Season 19. He said he likes that his character keeps things fresh and challenging, but hinted at the possibility of his character exiting the show. However, he assured his fans that Gibbs is not retired and is living in Alaska.
Since leaving his role on the show, the actor has been spotted around his house in Los Angeles, including walking his dogs and wheeling a large box delivered to his home. In the first sighting since leaving the show, the actor was seen bringing his trolley and licking his fingers before wheeling the massive box into the house.
Continue reading: Harmon and Dawber’s Close Knit Family — A Peek into Their Son’s Lives