Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Who is Mark Harmon’s Wife? All About Pam Dawber

Who is Mark Harmon’s Wife? All About Pam Dawber

Television fans know about Mark Harmon and his association with NCIS, but the actor has had a longer one with his wife, Pam Dawber. Would you believe Harmon and Dawber have been married for 36 years? It’s true. But these two have been in the public eye for a long time.

Of course, Harmon played Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS. He’s no longer involved with the NCIS team. Harmon, though, is an executive producer so he’s involved in some way. Dawber’s name probably is familiar in one generation, maybe two. Mark Harmon’s wife starred as Mindy McConnell opposite Robin Williams in the ABC sitcom Mork & Mindy. Dawber also starred in My Sister Sam as Samantha Russell.

In her early career, Dawber spent time as a model. Yet she shifted her attention to acting, which Dawber pursued with great interest. She moved from New York City to Los Angeles.

Pam Dawber Tries Out For ‘Tabitha’

Once there, she reportedly screen-tested for the lead role in Tabitha. That was the mid-1970s spinoff from Bewitched, yet in this show, Tabitha was already grown up. Dawber didn’t get the role as it went to Lisa Hartman instead. ABC, the network that showed Tabitha, kept Dawber around for a bit.

Mind you, at this time, Dawber didn’t have a lot of formal acting work. ABC reportedly put her in a type of talent program, thinking it would do Mark Harmon’s wife good. As it turns out, Dawber was in the right place at the right time. Garry Marshall, best known at that time for producing hit shows like The Odd Couple and Happy Days, took note of Dawber.

When Marshall saw her, he put her into Mork & Mindy. Her lack of experience didn’t seem to bother Marshall. People need to remember that this guy had a Midas touch when came to putting television shows together. He also had a hand in another Happy Days spinoff, Laverne & Shirley.

She Teams Up With Robin Williams for Sitcom

In 1978, Dawber started working with Williams. Their chemistry, along with Williams’ off-the-wall comedy, were gold for Mork & Mindy in its first season. But there were little signs that the sitcom might be slipping. Its ratings couldn’t keep up with its first-season numbers. Network executives wanted Dawber to “sex up” her character, something she and Marshall did not want to do. A second-season focus turned toward Mork and Mindy’s relationship, shifting away from the slapstick humor of Season One.

The sitcom developed some regular guest stars, the most notable of which was Exidor, played by Robert Donner. Still, the show kept on sliding in the ratings. Season Four saw Williams’ comedy mentor Jonathan Winters join as Mearth, Mork and Mindy’s baby. They were married by now, too. Well, it didn’t help and Mork & Mindy was canceled.

The wife of Mark Harmon then went on to star in My Sister Sam on CBS for two seasons. Rebecca Schaeffer co-starred alongside Dawber. Its first season was a success, but the show was moved to Saturday night. Ratings slipped and the show was canceled without all of its episodes airing. In reruns, USA Network put on the unaired episodes.

Tragedy Strikes One of Her Costars

But Dawber and the show’s cast suffered a brutal loss. Schaeffer was shot and killed by a crazed fan a year after the show was canceled. This incident reportedly turned Dawber into a gun control advocate.

In 2014, Dawber guest-starred alongside Williams in his CBS series The Crazy Ones. While classic TV fans were happy to see them together again, it couldn’t help to save the show. The network canceled it. Williams, sadly, committed suicide later that year after suffering from Lewy body disease.

She has pretty much stayed focused on her family in recent years. Dawber and Harmon were married in 1987 and have two children, Shawn and Ty. The couple worked together on a number of NCIS episodes back in 2021. It marked the first time they ever appeared on screen in a show together.