Numerous celebrities have stood up for a certain cause, and Mark Harmon intends to be among them again.
The star of CBS' typically top-rated drama "NCIS" again will be involved in "Stand Up to Cancer." The initiative runs year-round, but after its televised fundraisers in 2010 and 2012, an hourlong special again will be simulcast by ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5. (A Canadian version will be staged at the same time in that country.)
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"I think it's a solid organization," the straightforward Harmon says. "I really don't know anybody who hasn't been affected by cancer one way or another, and this is a group that has worked really hard to accelerate research and awareness.
"You get asked a lot to be a part of different things," adds Harmon, "and I'm sure all of them are worthwhile, but I've always tried to pick carefully, based on what it is and who's involved. And I certainly wouldn't be doing this again now unless I was happy with where I thought they were headed."
Gwyneth Paltrow is an executive producer of the "Stand Up to Cancer" special, as she was two years ago. Two of the movement's biggest original proponents were Katie Couric -- who remains strongly committed to it -- and the late movie producer Laura Ziskin ("Spider-Man"), who succumbed to breast cancer herself.
"Laura was special in a lot of ways," Harmon recalls, "and I've known Gwyneth since she was a little girl. I'm happy with the process since first being involved, and when they asked me to continue to be, I thought, 'This is a good thing.' Last time, I worked the phone banks; this time, I'm going to do something a little different."
Last year, Harmon also was the face of a "Stand Up to Cancer" print ad about putting the body's immune system to work against the disease ... thus making the ad's headline, "I Am My Own Secret Weapon," highly appropriate.
Making the time to participate in "Stand Up to Cancer" isn't simple for Harmon, who's well into filming Season 12 of "NCIS" and also serving as an executive producer of the new spinoff "NCIS: New Orleans" -- both of which start Tuesday, Sept. 23, on CBS. Still, he made it known early to his colleagues how much he wanted to be available for the event.
"With this notoriety or 'celebrity' thing or whatever you want to call it, it's important to pay attention to how that's used, if it is used. It seems reasonable to me that cancer research, done this way, is as good a way as any to lay your support behind."