Mark Harmon’s big decision that impacted his career as an actor

Mark Harmon is a much-loved actor most popular for his role as Leroy Gibbs in NCIS.



But before he became an actor, the dad-of-two had a very different career, until one day he realised that he needed to change the path of his life.

Mark worked as a shoe salesman until a chance encounter with a stranger at a bar made him realise that he should pursue his dream career as an actor.

He recalled the story to Men’s Journal, saying: “When I was doing that shoe salesman job. I was coming back from Boston and I was sitting next to a 33-year-old who was talking about trying to make pension at 65.


“He was drinking his second martini by the time we were wheels up. He was miserable in his job and he was trying to maintain the job for another [32] years. I went home, got in my car, drove out to the place where I worked, and gave my notice.”

Mark went on to star in NCIS for nearly two decades before leaving the show in 2021.

ncis star mark harmon on hollywood walk of fame
Mark Harmon quit his job to pursue an acting career after a life-changing moment

The actor left in season 19 of the popular show, and opened up about his decision to leave the program for a special featurette on the show’s season 19 DVD release.


He sat down to discuss the legacy of his character, as well as his thoughts on how the show wrapped up his storyline, and admitted that the opportunity to tackle “fresh” and “challenging” material is what kept him returning to the drama every season, alluding to the possibility that he felt that after almost two decades on the show, he no longer felt that was the case.

Following Mark’s onscreen departure, Showrunner Steve Binder released a statement that heavily suggested Gibbs could make a comeback in future seasons.

fmark harmon with wife pam dawber

NCIS star Mark Harmon is married to actress Pam Dawber

It read: “As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show. Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go.


“So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years… never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”

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