Mork and Mindy
The undisputed star of Mork & Mindy was Robin Williams, who has since become a major motion-picture actor. Mork & Mindy was the perfect vehicle for Williams' madcap style of wildly spontaneous comedy, which he had developed as a stand-up comedian. Portraying an alien from the planet Ork who had been sent to Earth to study human life forms -- in large part by "studying" TV shows -- Williams created a blizzard of topical references and brilliant mimicry.
The show also starred Pam Dawber as Mindy, an attractive single woman who adopted and later fell in love with Mork. In addition to Williams and Dawber, the show featured the talents of Conrad Janis, Tom Poston, Jay Thomas, and--in the last season -- Williams' mentor Jonathan Winters as Mork's son, Mearth.
The character Mork, an alien explorer from the planet Ork, first appeared on a February 1978 episode of Happy Days. On September 14 of that year, Mork & Mindy debuted on ABC. The show's original run ended June 10, 1982.
MORK FROM ORK
Mork was born in a test tube on the planet Ork, where he attended Ork Prep School. A former lobster-tank dinner diver on Ork, Mork later became an intergalactic explorer. He charted sixteen galaxies before Orkan leader Orson assigned him to cover the planet Earth. Mork arrived on Earth complete with a warranty covering skin rust and ankle blowouts.
Communicating with Orson via his Scorpio reports, Mork bears the responsibility of informing Orkans of Earthlings' strange traits--most notably, the human demonstration of emotions. He marries an Earthling, Mindy McConnell, after living with her for several years. Astonishing Earthlings he meets through such feats as drinking water with his finger, Mork works as a counselor at the Pine Tree Daycare Center in Boulder, Colorado.
Occasionally, he travels through time in size-eight shoes designed specifically for that purpose.
Mork lives in Boulder, a suburb in western TV Land, with Mindy and their son, Mearth. Like any proper Orkan, he gave birth to the child himself--or rather to the man: Orkans start out as adults and become younger as they age. It's just another one of those cultural differences that make Orkans--and Mork--so unique.
The manic comic genius, Robin Williams, was born on July 21, 1952 in Chicago. He first ventured into TV Land in 1977 on "The Richard Pryor Show" and on Laugh-In.
In 1978, Williams made his first appearance as Mork from Ork on Happy Days. Mork & Mindy premiered the same year. It was a runaway hit. The show, which ran until 1982, introduced the world to the talents of Robin Williams and paved the way to his lucrative film career.
Early on, Williams applied his inexhaustible hyperactivity to many films, including The World According to Garp and Popeye. Few considered Popeye a cinematic masterpiece, but Garp seemed to have done the trick, landing him film roles ever since. His most acclaimed include Moscow on the Hudson in 1984, Good Morning, Vietnam in 1987, Dead Poets Society in 1989, and The Fisher King in 1991.
Lighter roles (but just as wild in performance) include 1992's Disney animated Aladdin feature, as well as the wildly successful Mrs. Doubtfire in 1993. More recently he was seen in the film Jumanji. Robin Williams recently won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Good Will Hunting
Williams hasn't entirely abandoned television. He has appeared on Saturday Night Live, Late Night With David Letterman, an episode of Homicide, Comic Relief and so many other places in TV Land that it is nearly impossible to keep up with him.
Not just anybody would allow some alien freak into her life.
Mindy McConnell is the quintessential girl next door: naive enough to befriend Mork from the planet Ork, kind enough to become his roomie, and sweet enough to marry him. It's almost inevitable that such a lovable, gullible character as Mindy would attract life from outer space. Fortunately for Mindy, Mork is the sweet, funny kind of weirdo who can give bold new meaning to an otherwise average life in Boulder, Colorado.
Mindy was the first girl in Boulder to play Little League baseball. She attended Boulder High. (Her locker combination was 33-17-2.) Her professional career began at her father's music store, and after majoring in journalism at the University of Colorado, Mindy landed a job as a newscaster at KTNS-TV. She later became the host of Wake Up Boulder.
Mindy was also the first human being to eat Fleck. Fleck is an Orkan food that brings out strange behavioral qualities on Ork where, like all earthlings, Mindy is considered a pet. Once, Captain Nirvana (Raquel Welch) kept her in a cage.
Mindy's affability is such that she enjoys Ork nonetheless. After she and Mork exchange wedding vows, the happy honeymoon couple celebrates on Ork, where Mindy wins 4th place in a pet show. Later, she becomes a mom when Mork gives birth to their child, Mearth (Jonathan Winters), who liked to call her "Shoe."
Mindy's relationships with non-Orkan friends and family are also very important to her. Her father, Fred McConnell, is a strong presence in her life. Since her mom, Beth, died before the series began, Fred keeps himself busy with his music store and conducting the Boulder City Orchestra. He finds happiness with Mindy's new step-mom, Cathy, a flutist (Shelley Fabares).
The rest of Mindy's family includes a colorful cast of characters like Grandmother Cora Hudson (Elizabeth Kerr), cousin Nelson Flavor, Uncle Dave McConnell (Jonathan Winters), and Aunt Caroline McConnell. Mindy is also quite friendly with her downstairs neighbor, greeting-card writer Frank Bickley, and his dog Bickley.
Mindy McConnell is the perfect specimen for an alien dispatched to study average life on earth. And in the process of being studied, she humanizes Mork.
Pam Dawber is widely recognized in television, film, and theatre. As the friendly Mindy McConnell in 1978's top-rated new show of the season, Mork & Mindy, Dawber was catapulted to instant stardom along with a young unknown comedian, Robin Williams. Dawber's performance earned two People's Choice Awards for Favorite Female Performer in a New Series.
A versatile actress, who moves effortlessly between the comedic and the dramatic, Dawber has had leading roles in numerous TV movies and mini-series. She starred in The Face of Fear, a movie of the week based on the best-selling thriller of the same name. She also starred in the Emmy-nominated Avnet Kerner production Oh Do You Know the Muffin Man?
Dawber's other television credits are equally impressive. She has appeared in Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story; American Geisha; Wild Horses; This Wife For Hire; Web of Deception; A Child's Cry For Help; Last of the Great Survivors; Through Naked Eyes; Remembrance of Love; and The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything. She played Sam "Samantha" Russell on the successful comedy series My Sister Sam and appeared on The Twilight Zone episode But Can She Type?
Dawber starred in the big-screen film Stay Tuned, a wry comedy-adventure that explores the power and effect of one of the most omnipotent media in the world--television. She also starred in the critically acclaimed Robert Altman film A Wedding.
In the theatre, Dawber received critical acclaim for her role as Mabel in both the Los Angeles and Broadway productions of Pirates of Penzance. She toured and starred in productions of My Fair Lady, The Music Man, She Loves Me, and Love Letters (which co-starred her real-life husband, actor Mark Harmon).
Paw Dawber continues to appear in TV Land in newer roles than Mindy, but none is quite as pure and wholesome.