Being a good dad and family man has always been a priority for Mark Harmon. Take his attitude toward weekend breakfasts at home, even when he was at the height of his NCIS success and working as many as 22 hours a day: “It was important to be able to make pancakes on Saturday morning,” he’s said. “There were some times where that meant not sleeping. You just came home and took a shower and came back down. … I was working, but I’ve been a part of their lives.”

Now Mark, 72, has what he’s longed for — more time to spend with his adored wife of 36 years, Pam Dawber, 72, and their grown sons, Sean, 35, and Ty, 31. Mark left NCIS in 2021 after starring in the hit TV series for 18 years, but “I’m not retired,” he insists. In fact, the actor is still working hard — but on his own terms. He’s cowritten a bestselling book, Ghosts of Honolulu, with NCIS technical adviser and former real-life agent Leon Carroll Jr., and Mark is also an executive producer (along with son Sean) of the upcoming fall spinoff series NCIS: Origins, which he will also narrate. “He never envisioned a retirement where he does nothing,” a friend says. “He enjoys the camaraderie of actors and the crew. He also enjoys his downtime. He’s trying to balance it all.”

So far, he’s succeeding. Mark and Pam are famously private and, perhaps because of that, they have one of the longest-lasting marriages in Hollywood. “We stay home a lot,” Mark admits. And he and Pam “laugh a lot,” he says of their bond. “You got to laugh, and you got to talk and communicate.”

Mark and Pam, the former Mork & Mindy star, have been “in sync,” notes the friend, since he first called her for a date and she said yes. “We went out that night and have been together ever since,” Mark recalls. But the couple don’t “pal around with many famous Hollywood stars,” says the friend, and they’ve been devoted to raising their sons, with Pam deciding to step back from acting to be a stay-at-home mom. “I’m proud of our boys,” Mark says of Sean, who’s also an actor and stuntman, and Ty, who’s a screenwriter. “They understand the work ethic, and they’re very different.”

Mark Harmon on retirement
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

A Family Affair

Now that he’s home more, Mark “loves tooling around his house, seeing his sons, walking his dog,” says the friend. But he doesn’t only want to relax. “I come from working stock,” he says. “You have to get up every day and just try hard.”

It’s what he did on NCIS and what he’ll do on the upcoming Origins. And since Sean — who appeared several times as a young Gibbs on the original — is also an executive producer, he’ll be seeing a lot of his dad. “We’ve had a great opportunity to grow as a family,” Mark says. “I just feel very fortunate.”

With better balance in his life and career, Mark is excited for what the future holds. As the friend tells In Touch: “He may even make pancakes on a weekday!”

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