Did ‘NCIS’ Star Mark Harmon Date Karen Carpenter?

NCIS star Mark Harmon — known for playing Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the hit primetime procedural for seventeen seasons and counting — has been married to Pam Dawber since 1987. The two remain one of Hollywood’s most enviable couples, as a long-lasting marriage isn’t all too common in Tinseltown. 

NCIS star Mark Harmon
Actor/producer Mark Harmon speaks onstage at the ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ panel | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The two met in the mid-’80s when Dawber was best known for starring in Mork and Mindy across from Robin Williams. However, Mark Harmon was linked to a few other notable A-listers before settling down with Dawber and raising two sons. As for one of his most famous rumored romances – he reportedly dated the one and only Karen Carpenter (one of the best vocalists to ever grace radios). 

Inside ‘NCIS’ star Mark Harmon’s dating history 

As Fame10, WhosDatedWho, MarriedBiography, and more all noted, Mark Harmon was linked briefly to Karen Carpenter in the late ’70s / early ’80s before he went on to date Melrose Place star Heather Locklear in 1986 (from about Christmas to New Year’ s Eve). 

While not much is known about Karen Carpenter and Mark Harmon’s romantic past, the two were once linked, and it should come as no surprise that Harmon may have found his way to such a major A-lister, as Mark Harmon was on the up and up in the ’80s. Harmon was People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1986, and he starred in a few major blockbusters across from actors including Sean Connery and Elizabeth Taylor!

As for Karen Carpenter — though she needs no introduction — she is best known for all the albums released as part of The Carpenters. Major hits include, but are not limited to, “Top of the World,” “Yesterday Once More,” “For All We Know,” and “We’ve Only Just Begun.”

The Carpenters recorded most of their major hits throughout the 1970s. Mark Harmon was also linked to Terri Garber, Sheree J. Wilson, Christina Raines, and Morgan Fairchild before marrying Dawber. But, what about Carpenter? Who did she wind up wed to? 

Karen Carpenter and Thomas James Burris 

Karen Carpenter was married to Thomas James Burris from 1980 until 1983. Burris was a real estate surveyor who gained popularity after marrying the famous singer. Unfortunately, Karen Carpenter’s life was cut way too short, and she died of congestive heart failure on February 4, 1983. 

Carpenter struggled with anorexia nervosa, which was not entirely known at the time of her death, and her death from heart failure was likely related to complications from the illness. After Karen Carpenter died, awareness surrounding eating disorders improved. 

Today, Carpenter remains one of the world’s most beloved musicians with the voice of an angel and several melodies designed to put the mind at ease and lift your spirits. Mark Harmon is happily married to Dawber, and he has not revealed much information concerning his rumored relationship with Karen Carpenter (he and his character in NCIS aren’t exactly the talking type). Maybe one day, Harmon will tell the fans a bit more about Carpenter, and what it was like knowing her personally (if, in fact, he did).