Sunday, January 12, 2014

Television actress Pam Dawber

Pam Dawber was the star of the original Mindy project . . . specifically, the Mork and Mindy project.

She became a star on "Mork and Mindy," the ABC sitcom spun off a single "Happy Days" episode about Richie Cunningham's dream of encountering a zany space alien named Mork.  After that "Happy Days" episode aired, Mork - played by a young improvisational comic named Robin Williams - turned out to be so popular that "Happy Days" producer Garry Marshall built a whole TV show around that "dream episode" character.  For Pam Dawber, being cast in the female title role was a dream come true. 

She played Mindy McConnell, an aspiring journalist in Boulder, Colorado who met Mork, from the planet Ork, when his egg-like spaceship landed on the outskirts of town.  He came to observe Earth and didn't know anything about this planet; Mindy, as Mork's comedic foil, took him in as a roommate tried to explain life on the third rock from the sun to him . . . with hilarious results.  The show was a hit, lasting a respectable four seasons.

Pam Dawber also starred in a slightly less successful sitcom in the late eighties, "My Sister Sam," as Samantha Russell, a freelance photographer living with her kid sister Patti.  Rebecca Schaffer, who played Patti, became friends with Ms. Dawber, but she was later murdered by a deranged fan after the series ended.  The incident left Ms. Dawber devastated.

She continued to make TV movies into the nineties, eventually retiring to spend more time with her family.  She's married to "NCIS" star Mark Harmon; they've been together since 1987.   

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