The Show “Mork & Mindy”, Cast, Pictures, and Trivia!
This series is about a loveable alien named Mork, (Robin Williams) who comes to Earth from the planet Ork, in a small egg-shaped, one-man spaceship.
He has been sent here by Orson, (Ralph James) his superior on Ork, to observe human behavior, although the true reason for his “assignment” is actually a ruse in order to get him off of his home planet. On Ork, humor is not allowed and Mork is an alien who is absolutely filled with it. Soon after landing on Earth, Mork runs into Mindy, (Pam Dawber) a woman who has just had a fight with her boyfriend and is distraught but feels better after talking to Mork for a while. After a brief time, Mindy realizes there is something unusual about him and asks him who he really is. Mork, having no reason not to trust her, innocently tells her the truth. She in return tells him that she will not only keep his secret, but that he can also move into her attic.
Mork (Robin Williams)-Mork is an alien from the planet Ork. Sweet, gentle and funny, he repeatedly lets it be known that he was grown in a test-tube by Orkan scientists and used to have the job of a lobster diver while living there. Shortly after he lands on Earth in the Colorado area, he runs into the human woman, Mindy, and proceeds to forge a friendship with her. After moving into her attic, Mork makes every attempt at understanding human behavior, which is often frustrating to Mindy, as he can only do things according to Ork customs. Things like not telling someone if it will soon rain or lying to people, both of which are considered to be practical jokes on the planet of Ork. His standard greeting is a hand gesture (similar to Mr. Spock’s Vulcan salute from “Star Trek) combined with a handshake and the words, “Na-Nu Na-Nu”. He reports back to his supervisor, Orson, on a regular basis about all of the things that he learns via his Scorpio reports, although the bulk of them seem to be about the vast demonstrations of emotions by the human race. And on occasion, he leisurely travels through time in a pair of size-eight shoes that he has, specifically designed for that very purpose.
Mindy McConnell (Pam Dawber)-Mindy is an average 21-year old woman who has all the normal problems that go along with that age. She is kind and caring, very sweet, attractive and has a beautiful smile. After meeting Mork and first mistaking him for a priest, (as he was wearing a suit backwards) she soon finds out his true identity and offers him a place to live, unwittingly changing her life forever. Mindy sometimes has a tendency to become nervous but is very intelligent and tries to help teach and guide Mork so that he is better able to live in his new environment. At first she is a clerk in her father, Fred McConnell’s (Conrad Janis) music store but majors in journalism and ends up working as a newscaster at a local television station. She has the distinction of being the first girl in Boulder, Colorado to play Little League baseball, as well as being the first human being to eat the Orkan food, “Fleck”.
Fred McConnell (Conrad Janis)-Fred is Mindy’s father and is an extremely conservative man who owns a music store with his former mother-in-law, Cora. After he finds out about Mork living with his daughter, he is less than pleased but can do nothing to change it, despite his closeness to her. A widower, having lost Mindy’s mother years before, he spends most of his time running the music store and later on becomes the conductor of the Boulder Symphony Orchestra. He eventually remarries a younger woman named Cathy (Shelley Fabares).
Grandma Cora Hudson (Elizabeth Kerr)-Grandma Cora is Mindy’s maternal grandmother and much more progressive than Mindy’s father, she is actually approving of the living situation between her granddaughter and the friendly alien. She works in the music store also and gives lessons to a child named, Eugene, (Jeffrey Jacquet) who later becomes a friend of Mork’s.
Franklin Bickley (Tom Poston)-Mr. Bickley is Mindy’s grouchy downstairs neighbor who is not fond of other people in general. Ironically enough, however, his job is as a verse writer for a greeting card company.
Remo DaVinci (Jay Thomas)-Remo is the co-owner of The New York Delicatessen where Mork and Mindy hang out and spend a good portion of their time.
Jean DaVinci (Gina Hecht)-Jean is Remo’s sister and the other co-owner of The New York Delicatessen.
Nelson Flavor (Jim Staahl)-Nelson is the snobbish cousin of Mindy, who has political aspirations and runs for city council.
Orson (Ralph James)-Orson is the heard but mostly unseen superior of Mork, who has sent Mork to Earth as a way to get him off of Ork, as humor is not allowed there and Mork seems unable to keep from showing his.
Mearth (Jonathan Winters)-Mearth is the child of Mork and Mindy but given birth to by Mork, as that is the Orkan way. And due to Orkan physiology, the children start out with adult bodies but the mind of a child, eventually degenerating to frail old “kids”. He liked to call his mother, “Shoe”.
This series did not last very long and was somewhat simple but also quite funny. Robin Williams was (as he always is) hysterical and Pam Dawber along with the rest of the cast, were comical and a good match for Williams’ brand of humor. I give this series 6 out of 10.
Mindy McConnell-Pam Dawber
Fred McConnell-Conrad Janis
Grandma Cora Hudson-Elizabeth Kerr
Franklin Bickley-Tom Poston
Remo DaVinci-Jay Thomas
Jean DaVinci-Gina Hecht
Nelson Flavor-Jim Staahl
Cathy McConnell-Shelley Fabares
Glenda Faye Comstock-Crissy Wilzak Comstock
Jake Loomis-Patrick Cranshaw
Susan Taylor-Morgan Fairchild
Dr. Litney-Dick Yarmey
The Elder-Vidal Peterson
Miles Sternhagen-Foster Brooks
Billy Vincent-Stephen Stucker
John Taylor-Michael Prince
Robin Williams has performed with the USO consistently to help entertain troops that are stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tom Poston joined the United States Army Air Force in 1941. After graduating from flight training and being accepted to officer candidate school, he then served in World War II as a pilot in the European Theater. His aircraft was also one that dropped paratroopers for the Normandy Invasion in 1944.
The Mork & Mindy episode called, “Mork’s Mixed Emotions”, was ranked on TV Guide’s list of “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time” at #94 in 1997.
Jonathan Winters made television history when RCA broadcast the first color videotape on the “Jonathan Winters Show” in 1956.
Pam Dawber (Mindy McConnell) briefly had another television series called, “My Sister Sam” in the late 80’s, but the show was cancelled after a ratings drop due to the show being switched to a different day. Dawber’s co-star on the show, Rebecca Schaeffer, was later shot and killed in front of her apartment building by an obsessed fan. This horrible act was devastating to Dawber and she and several others from the series’ got together and filmed a public announcement about violence prevention.
Jay Thomas fathered a child in an out-of-wedlock relationship when he was just a young man and he and the mother of the boy made the difficult decision to give him up for adoption. More than 40 years later, Thomas’ son, J.T. Harding of the band “JTX”, found his birth father and they were reunited. They remain close to this day. Thomas even spoke at the funeral of Harding’s adopted father several years ago.
Robin Williams’ (Mork) maternal great-great-grandfather was Mississippi governor and senator, Anselm J. McLaurin.
Pam Dawber has been married to actor Mark Harmon for nearly thirty years. They have two sons and are incredibly private about their family life. They also appear very rarely in the public eye with their children.
Conrad Janis (Fred McConnell) is a renowned jazz musician on the trombone.
Elizabeth Kerr, (Cora Hudson) sadly, died in January of 2000 at the age of 87.
Gina Hecht (Jean DaVinci) is friends with actor Jason Alexander. She played the role of George Costanza’s (Alexander) therapist on the wildly popular show, “Seinfeld“.
Ralph James (Orson) was mostly known as a voice actor. Other than being the voice of Orson on Mork & Mindy, James was probably best known for his performance as the voice of “Mr. Turtle” in the classic Tootsie Pop commercials that ran throughout the 70’s.
Jim Staahl (Nelson Flavor) co-created the animated series, “Bobby’s World” with comedian Howie Mandel. He also wrote for the show as well as co-produced it for eight years.
Robin Williams, then unknown, was the only actor to audition for the role of Mork. The reason for this was when Garry Marshall met Williams for the first time, he was impressed with his quirky comedic ability at once, because when he asked Williams to sit down, instead of sitting in the chair in the traditional way, he sat on his head on the chair instead. Marshall hired him right there on the spot.
Tom Poston (Mr. Bickley) according to USA Today Life editor, Dennis Moore, appeared in more television sitcoms than any other actor. Some of these include, “Murphy Brown“, “E.R.”, “Home Improvement“, “Coach” and “Family Matters“.
Jonathan Winters (Mearth) quit high school in his senior year and joined the United States Marine Corps, serving for more than two years in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Pam Dawber is a national spokeswoman for the non-profit organization, “Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.”
Robin Williams was one of only twenty students in 1973, to be accepted into the freshman class at the Juilliard School. And in that same year at the school, he was one of only two students to be accepted by the legendary John Houseman into the Advanced Program. The other person was beloved actor, Christopher Reeve. Reeves and Williams’ became good friends and remained so until the sad and unfortunate death of Reeve’s.
Gina Hecht has been married to her husband, writer/producer Brian Herskowitz, for almost thirty years.
Mork & Mindy was a spin-off from the “Happy Days” series.
Jay Thomas (Remo DaVinci) had a recurring role on the series “Cheers” as Carla Tortelli’s husband, Eddie LeBec.
Pam Dawber reunited briefly with her former co-star Robin Williams in 2014, on his television show, “The Crazy Ones”, as a love interest to his character. The show was cancelled after only one season.
Jonathan Winters career as an entertainer actually started as a result of a lost wristwatch. He and his wife, Eileen, had only been married for a few months and could not afford to purchase a new one but his wife read about a talent contest where the winner would receive a brand new watch. She told her husband to “go down and win it” and was positive that he could. Not only did he win but it also led to a job as a disc jockey where his ad libs and antics took over the show. And from then on there was no turning back.
Robin Williams co-owns the “Rubicon”, a restaurant that is located in San Francisco. The other owners are Robert DeNiro and Francis Ford Coppola.
Tom Poston won an Emmy Award for his performances on the “The Steve Allen Show” during the 1950’s.
Robin Williams has been a stand-up comedian since the beginning of his career. In 2004, he was voted 13th on Comedy Central’s list of “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time”.
Mork & Mindy was so popular in its first season that it even beat out Happy Days, (the series from which it had originated) in the Nielsen ratings. With Happy Days coming in at #4 but Mork & Mindy reaching #3.
Jim Staahl was the star as well as a co-head writer on the series, “Laugh Trax”.
Robin Williams along with comedian/actor Billy Crystal made a cameo appearance on the amazingly popular sitcom “Friends” during its third season. They were not originally supposed to be in the episode but apparently were in the building where the show was being shot that day and were asked to make up some lines.
Pam Dawber did not actually audition for the role of Mindy McConnell but found out that she had been chosen for the part from the industry trade paper, “Variety”. This was because Garry Marshall had taken clips of Dawber from another television show she had been on and clips from when Williams had been on Happy Days as Mork and edited them together, showed the network and managed to get ABC on board with the idea.
Jonathan Winters spent time in a psychiatric hospital in 1959 and 1961. He suffered from nervous breakdowns and bipolar disorder. He made many references to his hospitalization in his stand-up routines and was able to make light of it.
Conrad Janis has been married three times and has two children.
Sadly, Tom Poston died of respiratory failure in April of 2007, at the age of 85.
Robin Williams agreed to do the voice of the Genie in the Disney film “Aladdin” for SAG scale pay ($75,000) due to his appreciation for the success he had experienced with the Disney-produced Touchstone film, “Good Morning, Vietnam”. He had just two conditions. One that his name or image not be used for marketing purposes. And two that his character not take up any more than 25% of the space on any advertising artwork. Also, Williams believed that the voice of the character was his property and did not want it to be imitated. Unfortunately, Disney did not keep their part of the bargain. Because of this, Williams and Disney had a severe falling-out and Dan Castellaneta replaced Williams as the voice of the Genie in “The Return of Jafar” as well as the animated Aladdin television series. Later, the chairman of Disney at that time, Jeffrey Katzenberg, was fired and replaced with former 20th Century Fox production head, Joe Roth. Roth arranged for a public apology to be made to Williams by Disney, putting the two back on somewhat friendly terms. Williams then agreed to make the Hollywood Pictures’ film “Jack“, which was being made by a division of the Walt Disney Company, as well as voice the Genie in the “King of Thieves” sequel. (Although this time it was for much larger than scale.) In 1999, he again fell out with Disney after they cut the budget to his film, “Bicentennial Man” by around $20 million and causing, in Williams’ opinion, the film to flop. It was 2009 before they made peace again and Williams agreed to be inducted into the Disney Hall of Fame and designated as a “Disney Legend”.
Jay Thomas had two television shows of his own, “Love and War” and “Married People”.
Before she became an actress, Pam Dawber was a model who was signed with one of the top modeling agencies in New York. However, she wanted more and began studying acting and voice. Just a few short years later she had one of the main roles on Mork & Mindy.
A large number of the gags seen on the series were not things that were initially in the scripts but on-the-spot improvisations by the talented Robin Williams. The improvisations worked so well that the writers actually included specific sections where Williams could just perform freely with no specific lines, marked as “Robin goes off here.”
Robin Williams has been married three times. The first was to Valerie Velardi with whom he has one child, a son named Zak. His second marriage was to his son’s nanny, Marsha Garces, with whom he has two children. His third and current marriage is to graphic designer, Susan Schneider.
Jonathan Winters was married to the same woman for all of his life. They married one month after meeting and spent more than 60 years together. She died at the age of 84, having battled breast cancer for twenty years.
The house used for the outside shots of Mork and Mindy’s residence is the most popular landmark in Boulder, Colorado as of 2004.
Tom Poston was married four times and had three children. His second wife, Wilma Kay Hudson, was actually his second and third wife, as they divorced after several years of marriage but remarried after less than five years apart and stayed together until her death in 1998. He married his last wife, actress Suzanne Pleshette in 2001. She died of respiratory failure also (Poston died from the same cause) less than a year after Poston, after a bout with lung cancer and pneumonia. Poston and Pleshette actually had an affair back in the 1950’s, but did not marry until decades later.
Pam Dawber is the aunt (by marriage) of actress Tracy Nelson, who has made appearances on shows such as “St. Elsewhere” and “Melrose Place”.
During Robin Williams’ first marriage, he had an extramarital affair with a cocktail waitress, Michelle Tish Carter. She later sued him for supposedly not informing her of his infection with the herpes simplex virus before they engaged in a sexual relationship. She claimed that he had transmitted the disease to her and they settled out of court.
Pam Dawber had one sibling, a younger sister named, Leslie, who was born with a congestive heart condition. Sadly, she died in December of 1976.
Jonathan Winters died of natural causes in April of 2013 surrounded by both family and friends. He was 87.
Tom Poston is the ex-father-in-law of singer/songwriter, George S. Clinton.
Robin Williams was a close friend of John Belushi and they frequently “partied” together. During the late 70’s and early 80’s Williams’ had a strong addiction to cocaine. He ended up quitting drugs, according to him, because of the death of Belushi and the birth of his son. In his words: “Was it a wake-up call? Oh yeah, on a huge level. The grand jury helped too.” In 2006, Williams checked himself in to a substance-abuse rehabilitation center, and later admitted to being an alcoholic. This announcement was made by Williams’ publicist: After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams found himself drinking again and has decided to take protective measures to deal with this for his own well-being and the well-being of his family.
Pam Dawber was introduced to her husband, Mark Harmon, by Gina Hecht, a fellow co-star on Mork & Mindy.
Since 1998, Jay Thomas has been appearing on the “Late Show With David Letterman” at the Christmas holidays to celebrate one of the show’s favorite Christmas rituals…throwing a football at a meatball on top of the tree. It started in 1998, with Thomas waiting in the wings to come on after Dave’s first guest that night, New York Jets quarterback, Vinny Testaverde. Letterman and Testaverde had picked up some footballs and started tossing them at the tree but always missing the meatball at the top. Finally Thomas, who was a quarterback in college, dashed on stage, picked up a ball and knocked the meatball off in one throw! Since then, Thomas has returned every year to complete the ritual, with the exception of 2013, as he had just had some minor surgery and was recuperating. In his words, “Throwing a football at a meatball on top of a tree in front of a national broadcast audience is the greatest Christmas tradition there is, but it requires me to be 100 percent healthy. Anything less would dishonor the ritual. I’ll be back in action next year for sure.”
In March of 2009, Robin Williams was hospitalized with heart problems. He had surgery to replace his aortic valve. The surgery was a complete success.
Robin Williams and his second wife, Marsha, started the “Windfall Foundation”, a philanthropic organization that raises money for a wide variety of charities. Additionally, Williams also devotes quite a bit of his personal time and energy into different forms of charity work as well.
Pam Dawber has received critical acclaim for her performance in the Broadway production of “Pirates of Penzance”.
Tom Poston was a former acrobat with the Flying Zepleys.
Jonathan Winters was longtime friends with actor Harry Morgan of “M*A*S*H” fame.
Robin Williams won the Academy Award for his performance in the movie, “Good Will Hunting”. After the win, Williams had a small Oscar replica sent to his standard German dubbing voice, Peer Augustinski, along with a note that said: “Thank you for making me famous in Germany.”
Elizabeth Kerr had a small role in the movie, “Frankie and Johnny” with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino.
Robin Williams enjoys the sport of cycling and often trains with Tour De France winner, Lance Armstrong.
Jim Staahl has written many television pilots for networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX.
Ralph James died at the age of 67 in Beverly Hills, California.
During the filming of “Schindler’s List”, Steven Spielberg would repeatedly call Robin Williams and put him on speaker phone so that he could cheer the cast and crew up by telling them jokes.