The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 11, 1997 · Page 60
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 60

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 11, 1997
Page:
Page 60
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Straight Talk *t By Jeffrey Zaslow Mark Harmon "You make the effort. You get involved." That's what TV's Mark Harmon learned from saving a boy's life. S OMETIMES, WHEN ACTOR Mark Harmon hugs his two sons, he thinks of how he almost left them fatherless. He pictures his wife, actress Pam Dawber, raising them as a widow. "There's a fine line between heroic and stupid," he says. Last year, he chose to walk that line when he rescued a 16-year-old boy from a burning car. Harmon's sons, ages 9 and 5, learned something on that awful night: "You make the effort. You take part in life. You get involved," he says. Harmon, 45, is reticent about some aspects of his life and career. He politely answers questions about his days as a UCLA quarterback and his TV stints on St. Elsewhere and now Chicago Hope. But when asked about saving that teen, he speaks passionately and at great length. The boy's car had slammed into a wall near Harmon's home in L.A. Dawber ran out and found the car flipped, its tires ablaze. She yelled, "Mark, get a sledgehammer! Someone's inside!" A dozen people were at the scene but did nothing. As the flames grew and the gasoline flowed, the bloodied teen remained stuck in his seat belt, upside down. Yet Harmon "never felt more relaxed, more looked after." He believes a higher power guarded him as he freed the boy. "He came out the window like a baby out of the womb." As Harmon used his body to smother the flames on the boy's clothes, the car exploded in a fireball. If Harmon had taken seconds longer, both he and the boy likely would have died. "It didn't have to be as close as it was. People there could have done it sooner," Harmon says. He pauses. "It's not my place to judge." The boy has scars, but has recovered. His parents, who had been separated, reunited after the accident. "The experience changed all of us," Harmon says. Does he feel proud? Lucky? "I feel fortunate to have had the chance to help." That's another lesson he hopes this incident instills in his kids, d ftl OHO* M»* Plays a doctor whose Vfe changed after he treated Oklahoma City bombing victims. IMT «MhMMK His 23 Coors commercials in the late '80s were classics. Does he still drink it? "Not unless they're paying me." AMly: Married to actress Pam Dawber. They have two sons, ages 9 and 5. ADVICE FROM HARMON • Give your all: Harmon's dad, football legend Tom Harmon (who died In 1990), had high expectations. If they played catch and Mark dropped the ball, his dad often would end the game. "He felt that if you went into something with less than total effort, it was disgraceful. He was tough, but I appreciate those values." • Stick It out: "It doesn't matter that you'd rather not do something, or that you got the material only the night before, or that there's pressure. That's life. It only matters that you get it done." • "Quitting Is not an option": "In the world today, it's easy to quit. I believe in putting up the fight." • Relax when raising your kids: "Our doctor told us, with our first child, Try to do your best. If you mess up, the child doesn't know you messed up.'" • If you're named the sexiest man alive: "Hang on to your sense of humor," says Harmon, who received that label from People magazine in 1986. He pictures his obituary: "The sexiest man alive is now dead." ASK HAKMUN I UK AUVHt Harmon will write or call one reader who seeks advice. By May 18 write to "Straight Talk," Box 3455, Chicago, III. 60654 (fax: 312-661-0375; e-mail: talk@usaweekend.com). Zaslow is an advice columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times Features Syndicate. EDITOR, PRESIDENT * CEO: Marcla Bullard • PUBLISHER: CharUt GibrMton • VICE PRESIDENTS: Dm tutor, BIU Coaklay, Carol Karnar-Odtfs, Bath Uwiauca, Thowas Malaal Mj.iiMtiMB Executive Editor Amy Eisman Senior Editor: Dan Olmsted Sank* AuodaU Editor: Brenda Turner Associate Editors: Gayle Jo Carter, Carol Clurman, Patricia Edmonds, Constance Kuiz, Lome Lynch, Kathleen McCleary Copy CM* Tom Lent Copy Editor: Terry Davidson Byrne Make A Difference Day Editor: Pamela Brown Raportar/llasearcher: Myron B. Pitts Rasearchar: M. Franco Salvoza Editorial Assistant: Cesar Soriano HjQQianBaianaaB Fred Barnes, Ken Burns, Jean Carper, Roger Cossack, George Foreman, Monika Guttman, Florence Griffith Joyner, Stephanie Mansfield, Tom McNichol, Jill Nelson, Cokie Roberts, Steve Roberts, Tabitha Soren, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Greta Van Susteren, Jeffrey Zaslow •ED Art Director: Pamela Smith Assistant Art Directors: Clay Auch, Abigail McConnell Technology Manager: Treva Stose Office Staff: Kate Bond, Brenda Nelson Gam Director: Dlerck Casselman Editorial: Vln Narayanan, Amelia Stephenson Advertising: Casey Shaw SUSA WEEKEND M'rilillHIiM'lliltlil 535 Madison Ave., New York. N.Y. 10022 "aiMm.i».mi.iM 1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22229-0012 UHOU 1-ttXMW-MM 33 USA WEEKEND • May 8-11,1887

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