And did I mention that before the war he won a Heisman Trophy and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame? If there was ever a guy who embodied excellence, it was Tom Harmon.
Which made it even more shocking to hear what Mark had to say.
When we first met I guess he could tell something was bothering me, and I ended up telling him about the smear campaign that was dragging me down.
“Let me tell you something,” he said.
He told me that in the 1970s, when he (Mark, that is) was playing the UCLA quarterback, some guys came up to him and said, “Your dad is a fucking coward, man. “
His father. Tom Harmon. The guy I just described. And they said he was a coward… because they heard about how he jumped out of a plane and survived a crash while others were dead? Idiots.
Mark really admired his father and hearing that was difficult for him. And it wasn’t just these guys this time around; the same has happened to him several times over the years.
“Here’s the problem,” Mark said. “You’re always going to have people who are miserable in their own lives and go wild because of their own insecurities. And they always attack the brightest targets. It comes with the territory.
On some level, I already knew this, but at that point, it was incredibly useful to hear. Especially from someone like Mark, who is not only one of the most successful actors and TV producers, but also universally loved. Hollywood has its share of morons and prima donnas, of course. Then there are people like Tom Hanks and Ben Stiller, people who have a reputation for being incredibly nice among their peers. Mark is like this: just a great human being. Yet even this guy faces his fair share of haters. It was heartwarming to see him share this experience and realize that I just have to be the best I can be and ignore all the bullshit that comes with it. You never see happy people in their lives displaying this kind of behavior. Successful people don’t waste their time trying to demolish others, but they are often the target of those who do.