Mailbag: Mark Harmon’s character found in 'NCIS' and 'JAG'

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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In this 2003 photo, Mark Harmon stars in NAVY NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) an action drama, inspired by the hit-series JAG, about a team of special agents led by NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.(CBS Worldwide Inc)

You have questions. I try to have answers.

Q: During a family discussion, we wondered if Mark Harmon from “NCIS” was ever on the show “JAG” and did he play a doctor?

A: Characters from NCIS were introduced to viewers in episodes of JAG, so Harmon did indeed appear on that series as Leroy Jethro Gibbs. As far as I can tell, those were his only appearances on the series. He did play doctors several times on television, including as a regular on the series St. Elsewhere and Chicago Hope.

Q: I enjoy watching reruns of “Emergency!” Could you tell me what became of Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe? Do they still act?

A: Mantooth and Tighe played paramedics Gage and DeSoto in the ’70s drama, which also featured Robert Fuller, Julie London and Bobby Troup. Both men continue to act to this day. Mantooth’s resume includes daytime dramas One Life to Live and As the World Turns; he also does a lot of speaking to firefighter groups and other organizations. You can find out more about him at www.route51.com.

Tighe has become known as a formidable character actor, whether working with independent filmmaker John Sayles, taking a recurring role on Lost or appearing onstage. But the Los Angeles Times in 2010 asked Tighe why he no longer listed Emergency! among his credits in the program for a play he was doing.

“I feel a great deal of pride that I was able to be a paramedic,” he said. “Randolph and I have stayed good friends. I was the best man at his wedding. I didn’t want to scurry away from it. But it was something I did in my 20s. It didn’t require a lot of acting. It didn’t require a lot of great dialogue. … I don’t list it in the program because it doesn’t really link with what I am doing now.”

Q: There were two movies about alcoholics I want to find. One starred Andy Griffith and his son was Keanu Reeves. The other was with Ed Asner and his son played by Gary Cole. Any chance they are out on DVD or VHS?

A: The Griffith movie was called Under the Influence and first aired in 1986. The Asner movie, from about the same time, was called Vital Signs. Unfortunately, I have not found authorized releases of either film on DVD or VHS.

Q: When is Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) returning to “The Young and the Restless”? If not, can you tell me why?

A: When Stafford’s character, Phyllis Summers, went into a coma, the actress was making ready to leave the series — and did so last August.

“A primary reason I have left Y&R is that I want to do comedy,” she said. “I decided I needed to create something for myself,” The something is a humorous web series called The Stafford Project, which you can find on YouTube. While actors have been known to do outside projects while staying on soaps, Stafford told Soap Opera Digest that “the way that the show runs right now, the climate of daytime, the producers, the company, isn’t so apt to be as accommodating with other projects. I don’t say that as a criticism; as a producer, I’d do the same.” In any case, you can keep up with Stafford’s doings at www.michellestafford.com.

Q: Is “Army Wives” done?

A: Yes and no. It completed its run as a series in 2013 after seven seasons. But fans will get one more taste of the show when a reunion special airs in March.

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


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