Mark Harmon opens up about the ‘cold call’ that led to his 36 years marriage with Pam Dawber

Mark Harmon
Credit : CBS Archives

Mark Harmon recently revealed that a certain ‘cold call’ led to his 36-year-old marriage to actress Pam Dawber. Harmon, who is the author of a new historical non-fiction book, Ghosts of Honolulu: A Japanese Spy, a Japanese American Spy Hunter, and the Untold Story of Pearl Harbor, is out Nov. 14, told People that a mutual friend wanted to set him up with Dawber.

However, the now 72-year-old actor was not one for distant formal conventions and decided to take matters into his own hands, stating, “I said, ‘Can I just call? Can I get a number and just cold call?’ And so I did. I got the number, and I called, and I got an answering machine. And I started to leave a message that said, ‘We don’t have to (all) go out. We could get a cup of coffee or something.’ And then she was monitoring and she picked up. We went out that night and we’ve been together ever since,” adding, “The two married a year later “to the day.”

Harmon’s monogamous stature toward commitment was revealed by him after he was endowed as  PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1986, during an interview in which he stated, “I’m real monogamous by nature, and I’m fine being alone like I am now,” adding, “When I marry, I want it to be everything this town says it can’t be. I’m not into catting around.”

With 36 years of marriage and 37 years of togetherness up their sleeves, fans wonder about the secret to this longevity that lies underneath.

To this, in a statement acquired by People, Harmon said, “I have no secret,” adding to this saying, “We laugh. You got to laugh, and you got to talk and communicate. That’s the fun part. Do we sit and talk about it? No. Maybe you just get fortunate and find the right one. We share many things and yet we’re really different.”

Harmon’s decision to play a primary character in NCIS, which turned out to be a 19-year-long role, stemmed from his wish for a stable family life. He said, “It was important to be able to make pancakes on Saturday morning,” emphasizing that Dawber played the role of journalist Marcie Warren, where they got enough family time, adding, “And there were some times where that meant not sleeping. You just came home took a shower and came back down. And yet I look back at it and I don’t miss the sleep. I still missed things, I was working, but I’ve been part of [my sons’] lives. I’ve been able to spend more time with them. In many ways, we’ve had a great opportunity to kind of grow as a family.”

Expressing gratitude over how his life turned out, he said in a statement to People, “I’m so fortunate,” he added, “I don’t ever wake up not thinking that.”