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Pam Dawber’s Frustrated Experience With ‘Mork & Mindy’ Drove Her Away From Television

Pam Dawber playing Mindy and Robin Williams playing Mork on the show 'Mork and Mindy.

TV

Pam Dawber discussed how the downfall of ‘Mork and Mindy’ affected her approach to the world of television.

Actor Pam Dawber starred alongside Robin Williams in the popular 1970s television series Mork & Mindy. Although the show thrived in the beginning, Dawber felt preventable mistakes were made in the series that caused it to lose quality.

Pam Dawber didn’t like the direction ‘Mork & Mindy’ was headed in

Pam Dawber sitting next to Robin Williams on the set of 'The Crazy Ones'.
Robin Williams and Pam Dawber | CBS/Getty Images

Dawber and Williams were once famously known for the hit show Mork & Mindy. The classic sitcom followed an alien by the name of Mork navigating his way through Earth. Through circumstances, he becomes close with the human character Mindy portrayed by Dawber. The series may have had a big impact, expanding both Dawber’s and Williams’ careers, but it only ran for four seasons.

The show experienced a steep ratings decline at the end of its run, which contributed to its cancellation. Fans have speculated that its increasingly bizarre storylines began to turn off viewers. But it would seem that the show’s own star, Dawber herself, also wasn’t a fan of the show’s direction. In an interview with The Morning Call, she voiced her displeasure with what happened to the hit show. Which included the firing of certain cast members and a change in schedule.

“There’s nothing more frustrating than to watch what they did to Mork and Mindy and not have anything to say about it,” Dawber said. “It’s like ‘Come on, you don’t fire your dad and your grandma.’ I don’t care if they don’t test as well as Mork or Mindy. You don’t do that. You don’t change a time slot. You don’t put Raquel Welch on in a Bob Mackie outfit. That’s when our ratings really went down. They made it a little too sexy and that’s when we really lost it.”

The experience left such a bad taste in Dawber’s mouth that it briefly drove her away from the entertainment industry.

“[I] really took myself off the market for 3 1/2 years. I could have been in another show, but I wanted some say in whatever I did,” she said.

Pam Dawber felt she owed a lot to her ‘Mork & Mindy’ co-star Robin Williams

Dawber shared that she had very few acting credits to her name before Mork & Mindy. She was initially noticed by the show’s creator Gary Marshall thanks to a talent development program she was a part of. With only a few auditions and some commercials under her belt, Marshall gave Dawber the opportunity to screentest for Mork & Mindy. When she won the role, Williams was already cast. Dawber considered Williams instrumental in helping her develop her acting abilities.

“When I came into Mork and Mindy I’d done some commercials and a pilot but I had no comedy experience,” she said. “I learned everything from Robin and the guest stars. Going to work everyday and working with those people was just invaluable. And it’s funny, when you are around funny people all the time, you just start to think funny. I found by the end of the four years, I was coming up with jokes as well. I’m not an overt comedienne. You’d never see me on the stage of the Comedy Store. But it’s so inspiring to have that sort of insane energy around you that it makes you think funny. I miss that kind of energy so much.”

Apart from how educational it was being around Williams, the late comedian was also just fun to be around for Dawber.

“When Robin comes over to visit, he walks in the room and I’m hysterical from the moment he gets there till he leaves. I used to go to work every single day and laugh all day long. It was the best learning experience I ever had. You don’t learn in acting class what you learn when you’re really working with top people,” she said.



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