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NCIS Star Mark Harmon's First Talk Show Interview Lasted 26 Secs (& He Never Said A Word)

Mark Harmon's filmography now encompasses nearly half a century of acting work, starting with a string of one-off TV roles in the 1970s and including appearances in iconic properties like "The West Wing" and "Freaky Friday." Of course, the franchise with which Harmon is most closely associated is CBS procedural "NCIS."

Between his childhood and his "NCIS" start, Harmon was destined for stardom, not originally as an actor, but as a football player, on track at one point for a spot in the NFL. However, Harmon pivoted to Hollywood instead, acting regularly for a few decades before his first appearance in the backdoor "NCIS" pilot episode of "JAG" in 2003. Fellow "NCIS" actor Rocky Carroll claims Harmon is key to the longevity of "NCIS," describing his coworker as a skilled leader. In fact, Harmon's net worth reflects his importance to one of network TV's longtime staples, totaling an estimated $100 million.

While Harmon may nowadays be an old hat TV veteran, like most actors, his early days in the business weren't always glamorous. In fact, during a televised interview promoting "NCIS," Harmon revealed that his very first talk show appearance totaled just under 30 seconds, during which he didn't even say a single word.

Mark Harmon remained silent for the entirety of his first talk show appearance

In December of 2019, Mark Harmon guested on his CBS compatriot Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" to promote "NCIS" Season 17 and shared stories from his early days in Hollywood. At one point, right around three minutes into their interview, Colbert asks Harmon to reveal the first talk on which he was a guest.

In response, Harmon can't precisely remember his first talk show, guessing that it might have been "The Merv Griffin Show." The particulars of his debut talk show appearance, however, remain vivid to Harmon, who explains that he was the last guest scheduled that day, and was only allotted roughly 26 seconds to discuss his role in the 1979 adventure film "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure." Griffin, or whomever the host might have been, opened by asking Harmon about his then-recent past as a football player. Before he could respond, fellow guest Peter Boyle instead began discussing his history with the sport, taking up most of the time slated for Harmon's segment.

Then, Harmon recounts how the also-present Michael Caine shifted the focus back toward him. Nevertheless, by the time Caine refocused the interview, the 26 seconds he was allotted had elapsed, and Harmon had yet to say a single word. Fortunately, what was then most likely a genuine embarrassment has now become a quaint and funny anecdote worthy of late night TV.