Who Is Mark Harmon’s Wife Pam Dawber?

Mark Harmon has spent more than a decade playing Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the CBS drama NCIS. That’s a long time for an actor to spend with one role, but it’s not the longest-running part that Harmon has played. That goes to his role as husband to actress Pam Dawber, to whom he’s been married for more than three decades.

Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber in 2011 | Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

These days, Dawber might be best known as Harmon’s wife, but she’s a successful actress in her own right. Though she eventually decided to step away from the spotlight, Dawber starred in one of the most memorable shows on television and has a long list of credits to her name.

She was born in Detroit

Dawber was born in Detroit in 1951. In her teens, she relocated to New York for her modeling career, and then decided to try acting. In her mid-20s she landed the role that would make her famous: playing Mindy on the sitcom Mork & Mindy opposite the soon-to-be-legendary Robin Williams.

Mork & Mindy made her famous

Mork & Mindy
Robin Williams and Pam Dawber in Mork & Mindy. | Jim Britt/ABC via Getty Images

On the show, which premiered in 1978, Williams played Mork, an alien from the planet Ork, who travels to earth to study humans. Dawber was his roommate. It ran for four seasons before it was canceled in 1982.

After Williams died in 2014, Dawber reflected on working with the comedian. She recalled his on-set behavior, which included flashing her and grabbing her breasts. 

“If you put it on paper you would be appalled,” Dawber said in a biography of Williams published in 2018. “But somehow he had this guileless little thing that he would do — those sparkly eyes. He’d look at you, really playful, like a puppy, all of a sudden. And then he’d grab your tits and then run away. And somehow he could get away with it. It was the 70s, after all.”

“I really loved Robin and Robin really loved me,” she added. “We just clicked.”

Her later career

After Mork & Mindy ended, Dawber appeared in a string of TV movies like Remembrance of Love and Wild Horses. In 1986, she began starring in My Sister Samwith Rebecca Schaeffer, but the show was cancelled after just two seasons.

While working on My Sister Sam, Dawber started dating Harmon, who she met through a mutual friend. The couple married in 1987 and had two sons. Sean was born in 1988 and Ty in 1992.

Taking a break from acting

After getting married and starting a family, Dawber decided to put her career on hold. She said that it made more sense to her husband to pursue his work as an actor and her to focus on other things.

“I don’t think two people can work all the time in show business and stay married,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “I was in a number one show. I had my own deal. I got to do Broadway. I got to do musical theater. I got to do cartoon voices. I did everything you can do in this business, and then I had children and it’s like, ‘I’m not going to chase this fame thing.’”

Pam Dawber
Pam Dawber | Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

“I wanted to drive my kids to school,” she added. “I wanted to be there for their birthdays and bring cupcakes and donuts and do the school festivals and all that, and I did. I got to teach in their art class and so it was a different life then and I was very happy to do it.”

Though Dawber stepped away from the spotlight, she didn’t retire from acting completely. In the 1990s, she appeared occasionally on TV, including doing voice work on 101 Dalmatians: The Series from 1997 to 1998 and starring in TV movies like A Child’s Cry for Help and Don’t Look Behind You. She also starred in the 1992 feature film Stay Tuned and alongside her husband in 1999’s I’ll Remember April.

Since 2000, she’s worked sporadically, including a return to TV in an episode of Williams’ TV series The Crazy Ones.

Celebrating 32 years of marriage

Dawber and Harmon have been married for over three decades. They’ll be celebrating their 32nd anniversary soon, and Radar Online reports that they’ll mark the occasion with a trip to Europe.  

“A lot of people look up to Pam and Mark as the perfect couple, but Mark wants to put the spark back in the marriage with this trip,” the source told Radar. “They put family first and take time for themselves!”

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