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NCIS Star Mark Harmon Remembers Funny Interaction With Hollywood Legend John Wayne

Photo from NCIS on CBS’ Instagram

NCIS Star Mark Harmon Remembers Funny Interaction With Hollywood Legend John Wayne

By Movieguide® Contributor

Mark Harmon has made a name for himself as an actor, starring in NCIS and movies like FREAKY FRIDAY and CHASING LIBERTY. However, did you know Harmon was also an award-winning college football player?

In 1973, Harmon, who was a quarterback at UCLA, received an award from the National Football Foundation. At the awards ceremony, Harmon’s outfit choice led to a pretty funny interaction with another guest — actor John Wayne. 

While appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Harmon shared the story of his conversation with the legendary actor. 

The ceremony was in New York City, so Harmon flew in from California to attend, bringing a suit to wear to pick up his award. 

“I brought a suit,” Harmon explained. I got [to New York City] and they said, ‘You have to have a tux.’ Again, 1973. There was a tux store across the street.”

“I walked across the street,” the actor continued. “There was a dove-gray tuxedo in the front window with a frilly, puffy shirt and that was me. That’s all I can say.”

Harmon’s out-there outfit caught Wayne’s eye, who called him a “rebel” for the rest of the night. 

“He signed my program, ‘To the rebel, may the wind always be at your back, John Wayne,’” Harmon recalled.

Harmon went on to become a very successful actor, most notably in the crime drama NCIS. Movieguide® previously reported on his departure from the show, and if fans can expect to see his character on screen again:

NCIS fans were sad to hear Mark Harmon would be leaving the crime show after 19 seasons, but showrunner Steven D. Binder has given fans hope for Harmon’s return. 

While appearing at PaleyFest, Binder said, “Never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs [Harmon’s character] out. What the future will hold I can’t say, but I wouldn’t count anybody out, dead or alive, on the show.”

Sean Murray, who stars on NCIS as Special Agent Timothy McGee, has also mentioned the possibility of Harmon returning to the show. 

“He does pop in,” Murray said, referring to Harmon’s role as an executive producer on the show. “I saw him two weeks ago actually. So, he’s around. It’s not like he’s packed up and left town or anything. I’m not saying this just to say it for a tease and all that, I really, truly believe that the Gibbs could pop up somewhere. I really believe that there’s a possibility of that happening.”

Murray also teased the possible return of another actor: Michael Weatherly. The actor just ended his show, BULL, and Murray let fans know he might be coming back to NCIS. 

“I talk to Michael all the time, so we joke about that possibility sometimes,” Murray said.