Mark Harmon's Mom Passes Away

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NCIS star Mark Harmon's mother, actress and fashion designer Elyse Knox Harmon, passed away on Wednesday at her Los Angeles home surrounded by family. She was 94.

A contract player who starred in close to 40 films for such studios and 20th Century Fox, Columbia and Universal, Knox played the lead opposite Lon Chaney Jr. in 1942's The Mummy's Tomb, worked with Abbott and Costello and in several Joe Palooka movies based on the famed comic strip. She was also a pin-up girl during World War II, appearing in Yank magazine.

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Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Knox studied fashion in Manhattan and pursued a career in fashion design, modeling some of her own creations in Vogue magazine before her good looks found Hollywood calling in the late '30s.

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Knox married football star Tom Harmon in 1944, and her wedding dress was made from the silk of the parachute that saved his life after his plane was shot down over China during WWII. The couple settled in Los Angeles and had three children: Mark and his older sisters Kristin and Kelly. Happily married for 46 years, Knox established herself as an accomplished impressionist painter.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent toThe Lange Foundation in honor of Knox's enduring love for animals.