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Mork & Mindy aired from September 1978 until June 1982 on ABC.
For more on Mork & Mindy go to Mork & Mindy Online right here at Sitcoms Online.
An Article From Time Magazine
The Robin Williams Show
Monday, Oct. 02, 1978 Article
A lanky, sandy-haired kid in baggy pants and suspenders wanders around the set. Spotting a stack of bologna sandwiches, he grabs one, tries to feed it to a nearby coleus and expresses his fond hope that the food will help the plant "grow up strong and have hairy pistils like its father." Next he picks up a small statue and, holding it like a microphone, intones, "Allo, allo, zis eez Jacques Cousteau for Union Oil." He then breaks into the Beverly Hills Blues: "Woke up the other day/ Ran out of Perrier/ I've really paid my dues/ Had to sell my Gucci shoes." The Robin Williams show has begun. Except that the show takes place off-camera between takes on Mork & Mindy the sleeper comedy sitcom of the young TV season.
Like Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall before him, Robin Williams, 26, did one guest spot on Happy Days and wound up on a spin-off series of his own. As the affable Mork from the planet Ork, Williams has limitless opportunities to display his manic talent. Unaccustomed to the ways of Earth, the alien sits on his head, drinks with his fingers and holds philosophical discussions with eggs.
Placing someone with paranormal powers among ordinary people is a classic conceit used by many television shows, including Bewitched, My Favorite Martian and I Dream of Jeannie. But Williams' pastiche of mime, light-speed improvisation and complex clowning is giving that one-joke vehicle a new velocity. Delivered with his engagingly boyish grin and calculated inflections, such gibberish as "nano, nano" (meaning hello) and "nimnul" (meaning jerk) can send audiences and producers into paroxysms of delight: last week the show shot up to seventh place in the Nielsens. "This guy is going to be a superstar with or without this series," observes Dale McCraven, the co-creator of Mork & Mindy. "He's such an overwhelming personality that he could never play a regular sitcom husband with a wife and kids. It would be a waste of his talent, a waste of his craziness."
That craziness is the best part of Williams' frequent weekend gigs at such Los Angeles clubs as the Comedy Store and the Improvisation. His act has few props, no sight gags, no patented one-liners; for Williams, the delivery is everything.
Equipped with a kaleidoscopic face, a pliant body and Umber vocal cords, Williams simply runs through a cast of character sketches unseen since the early days of Jonathan Winters. "Earthquake!" he will yell, jumping up and down, before he rushes out to the audience to heckle himself. Within seconds, he is back onstage, giving a beautiful basso profundo rendition of Shakespeare, followed by rapid-fire impressions of a go-go boy, Long John Silver and characters from a Japanese science-fiction movie. "It's madness all around," he explains. "But the center is very calm, like the center of a hurricane."
Williams follows his free-form chatter with enough wacked-out characters to people a spin-off of his spinoff. There is the French waiter at Chez Chuck, moving like a spastic Keystone Kop and offering customers such delicacies as "chicken lips with rice." Mr. Rogers, a takeoff on the dim-but-lovable kiddie show host, says: "Welcome to my neighborhood. Let's put Mr. Hamster in the microwave oven. O.K.? Pop goes the weasel!" Other bit players include Ernest Sincere, a redneck used-car dealer; Joey Stalin, a Russian stand-up comic; Little Sherman, a perverse little boy; and Walt Buzzy, a gay director. Grandpa Funk, based on an old wino Williams once saw in San Francisco, always appears at the end of the show. Clicking his gums and speaking in a raspy high-pitched voice, the old codger explains he used to be a stand-up comedian with a television series about an alien "of course that was before the real aliens landed." Now he wonders if anyone in the audience remembers World War III "all 45 minutes of it."
Most of Williams' characters are children of his imagination an imagination nurtured during the requisite lonely childhood. The last child of a vice president of the Ford Motor Co., Robin was born in Chicago and grew up in the posh Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. His two half brothers were already grown when he was born, and Robin spent hours alone in the family's immense house, tape-recording television routines of comics and sneaking up to the attic to practice his imitations. "My imagination was my friend, my companion," he recalls.
After brief stints at Claremont Men's College and the College of Marin, he and his companion decided to become performers. Although his indignant father advised him to study welding so he would at least have a marketable skill, Robin won an acting scholarship to the Juilliard School in New York, where he earned money performing mime in whiteface in front of the Metropolitan Museum. In 1976 he returned to San Francisco and met Valerie Velardi, a dancer whom he married last June. Valerie organized and catalogued his routines, and persuaded him to try his act in Los Angeles. With no portfolio, no resume, no connections, Robin headed for open-minded improvisational clubs. Within a year he had landed stints with the now defunct Laugh-In and Richard Pryor shows, which led to his celebrated guest shot on Happy Days.
Today Valerie no longer has to feed Robin information on audience response or coach him on delivery; the prestigious management firm of Rollins and Joffe, which also handles Woody Allen, Robert Klein and Martin Mull, takes care of that. Robin and Valerie live simply in a studio apartment in Los Angeles and a weekend house at Zuma Beach that they share with a parrot named Cora and two iguanas (one of which is named Truman Capote because, as Robin explains, "he's cold-blooded"). Robin's sketches, however, occasionally reflect the ironies of Celluloid City. One, called the "Hollywood Mime," for instance, has a character dancing from door to door in Hollywood, banging on each and smiling hopefully until the smile literally falls off his face and has to be pasted back on. Robin Williams should have no such tribulations: his is stuck tight with Krazy Glue.
An Article From Time Magazine
Manic of Ork: Robin Williams
Monday, Mar. 12, 1979 Article
Five months ago he was what Hollywood likes to call a complete nobody. A struggling comic, he had passed virtually unnoticed through improvisational clubs and two flop TV series (the revived Laugh-In, the Richard Pryor Show). Then, last fall, ABC unveiled its new offerings for the 1978-79 season. Robin Williams, 26, was given the lead in Mork & Mindy, a spacy sitcom, and he became what the moguls love to call an overnight star. For once the Hollywood hyperbole is actually appropriate; Mork & Mindy is often at the top of the charts and is seen by an average of 60 million viewers each week. To be the star of TV's No. 1 hit is to be the most highly visible show-biz personality in the country.
Mork & Mindy seems an unlikely bet for such exaltation: the program is fundamentally a retread of such tired sitcoms as My Favorite Martian and Bewitched. It tells the story of Mork (Williams), an alien eggplanted, so to speak, from the planet Ork, who settles in Boulder, Colo., with a winsome ingenue, Mindy (Pam Dawber). The secret of the program's runaway success is Williams. He is not only an inspired clown but also a perfect entertainer for TV's mass audience. Mork has the innocence and enthusiasm of a toddler discovering the world. But he is one toddler who can talk. Artless, gullible, endearing, he lets the audience in on every transparent thought that whirls through his head. His rambling is wildly unpredictable, in part because Mork talks not only to himself but to three or four parts of himself and they talk back.
Children love him because his daffy repertoire of Ork language can be mimicked endlessly. Already Mork's "nano, nano" (translation: hello) has replaced the Fonz's "aaaayyy" as the catchword of the nation's kids. Adults like his spontaneous riffs. On one program he launched into a singsong: "Shah, Shah, Ayatollah [I tol' yuh], Shah, Shah, Ayatollah so."
People on Ork do not have emotions. Though he can be possessive about Mindy, sex is a mystery to Mork (he did once get a crush on a department store dummy). "He has the cootchycoo quality," says a casting director at NBC."You want to go up to him and pinch his cheeks."
It could be argued that Williams landed in the right role in the right time slot (8 p.m., when children control the nation's sets). But Williams is not so much lucky as talented. In his stand-up nightclub act, which he does for free, to keep in touch with live audiences and to try out new material, he displays a range that encompasses Jonathan Winters, Danny Kaye, Steve Martin and Daffy Duck. Though always wearing the same costume baggy pants, loud shirts, suspenders he whips in and out of a multitude of comic characterizations. He can mimic the cadences of Shakespeare, many foreign languages, an ark of animals, various machines. His act includes a redneck used-car salesman, a Russian comic, a gay director, a touchingly mad grandpa.
The man behind this comic madness is the product of a comfortable but solitary upbringing. The last child of a Ford Motor Co. vice president, Williams grew up in Chicago, the Detroit suburbs and Tiburon, near San Francisco. When left alone, he summoned up his own world, maneuvering his toy soldiers and cloning his own versions of wacky Jonathan Winters characterizations like Maude Frickert. After two stabs at college in California, he moved to New York City to study acting. For spending money, he and a partner did white-faced comedy mime in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, occasionally matching acts with Acrobat Philippe Petit, who went on to walk between the towers of New York's World Trade Center. On a boffo day, Williams made $75.
Eventually Williams returned to San Francisco, where he hung around the city's small comedy clubs. While tending bar, he met a dancer named Valerie Valardi, whom he married last June. Valerie urged him to try the clubs in Los Angeles; she helped catalogue his material and shape his act. Once Williams had played Los Angeles' Comedy Store and Improvisation, he began to get TV work.
Mork appeared first when Robin played him in a one-shot appearance on Happy Days. The mail response to the episode was so large that a spin-off series was created for Williams. Mork & Mindy was a hit even before it went on the air. Director Howard Storm recalls the series' first taping: "Most of the time the studio audience for a new show is down. They don't know the characters. With Mork, they went crazy."
Now that he is famous, Williams tries to live in the same casual way. He and Valerie still like to practice yoga, play backgammon and chess, ski, surf and drive around Los Angeles for the fun of it. Privacy, however, is becoming increasingly elusive. The other day he was roller-skating in Venice, a funky, fashionable section of the city, where people like to walk around on wheels. He coasted into a phone booth to make a call, but was quickly surrounded by fans peeking through the glass. Said he: "I felt like I was in the San Diego Zoo."
Williams finds TV's ratings struggle frightening. This season he became fascinated by a short-lived NBC sitcom, Who's Watching the Kids?, that was shot on a lot near Mork. "I saw its birth and death," he says wistfully. "I watched people fight for it. It is strange for me to know that I'm being used to cut the guts out of other new series." He chuckles at the talk that Mork & Mindy may soon have its own spinoff. "What would they spin off? It would be more like a skin graft."
Williams has an inhibiting five-year contract to play Mork, but he is moving beyond television. A comedy album is on the way, and next January he will star in the movie Popeye. Williams hopes that five seasons of Mork will not be too much. Says he: "If you find yourself stiffening up and not taking chances, then you become a situation comedy comedian."
What will not suffer is his bank account. Already Williams makes $15,000 per episode, and that figure may soon be renegotiated upward. He and Valerie have bought an eight-room house in Topanga Canyon. Williams has not, however, joined the smart crowd in Hollywood by acquiring a Mercedes or a Rolls; he has bought a battered 1966 Land Rover. Says he: "I can't deal with new cars. I like a car that's like me you never know what's going to happen next
Here is Robin William's Obituary
Robin Williams Obituary
7/21/1951 - 8/11/2014
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Robin Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63.
Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California on Monday, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. The sheriff's office said a preliminary investigation shows the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.
"This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken," said Williams' wife, Susan Schneider. "On behalf of Robin's family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin's death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions."
Williams had been battling severe depression recently, said Mara Buxbaum, his press representative.
From his breakthrough in the late 1970s as the alien in the hit TV show "Mork and Mindy," through his standup act and such films as "Good Morning, Vietnam," the short, barrel-chested Williams ranted and shouted as if just sprung from solitary confinement. Loud, fast, manic, he parodied everyone from John Wayne to Keith Richards, impersonating a Russian immigrant as easily as a pack of Nazi attack dogs.
He was a riot in drag in "Mrs. Doubtfire," or as a cartoon genie in "Aladdin." He won his Academy Award in a rare, but equally intense dramatic role, as a teacher in the 1997 film "Good Will Hunting."
He was no less on fire in interviews. During a 1989 chat with The Associated Press, he could barely stay seated in his hotel room, or even mention the film he was supposed to promote, as he free-associated about comedy and the cosmos.
"There's an Ice Age coming," he said. "But the good news is there'll be daiquiris for everyone and the Ice Capades will be everywhere. The lobster will keep for at least 100 years, that's the good news. The Swanson dinners will last a whole millennium. The bad news is the house will basically be in Arkansas."
Following Williams on stage, Billy Crystal once observed, was like trying to top the Civil War. In a 1993 interview with the AP, Williams recalled an appearance early in his career on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." Bob Hope was also there.
"It was interesting," Williams said. "He was supposed to go on before me and I was supposed to follow him, and I had to go on before him because he was late. I don't think that made him happy. I don't think he was angry, but I don't think he was pleased.
"I had been on the road and I came out, you know, gassed, and I killed and had a great time. Hope comes out and Johnny leans over and says, 'Robin Williams, isn't he funny?' Hope says, 'Yeah, he's wild. But you know, Johnny, it's great to be back here with you.'"
In 1992, Carson chose Williams and Bette Midler as his final guests.
Like so many funnymen, he had serious ambitions, winning his Oscar for his portrayal of an empathetic therapist in "Good Will Hunting." He also played for tears in "Awakenings," ''Dead Poets Society" and "What Dreams May Come," something that led New York Times critic Stephen Holden to once say he dreaded seeing the actor's "Humpty Dumpty grin and crinkly moist eyes."
Williams also won three Golden Globes, for "Good Morning, Vietnam," ''Mrs. Doubtfire" and "The Fisher King."
His other film credits included Robert Altman's "Popeye" (a box office bomb), Paul Mazursky's "Moscow on the Hudson," Steven Spielberg's "Hook" and Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry." On stage, Williams joined fellow comedian Steve Martin in a 1988 Broadway revival of "Waiting for Godot."
"I dread the word 'art,'" Williams told the AP in 1989. "That's what we used to do every night before we'd go on with 'Waiting for Godot.' We'd go, 'No art. Art dies tonight.' We'd try to give it a life, instead of making "Godot" so serious. It's cosmic vaudeville staged by the Marquis de Sade."
His personal life was often short on laughter. He had acknowledged drug and alcohol problems in the 1970s and '80s and was among the last to see John Belushi before the "Saturday Night Live" star died of a drug overdose in 1982.
Williams announced in recent years that he was again drinking but rebounded well enough to joke about it during his recent tour. "I went to rehab in wine country," he said, "to keep my options open."
Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams would remember himself as a shy kid who got some early laughs from his mother — by mimicking his grandmother. He opened up more in high school when he joined the drama club and he was accepted into the Juilliard Academy, where he had several classes in which he and Christopher Reeve were the only students and John Houseman was the teacher.
Encouraged by Houseman to pursue comedy, Williams identified with the wildest and angriest of performers: Jonathan Winters, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin. Their acts were not warm and lovable. They were just being themselves.
"You look at the world and see how scary it can be sometimes and still try to deal with the fear," he told the AP in 1989. "Comedy can deal with the fear and still not paralyze you or tell you that it's going away. You say, OK, you got certain choices here, you can laugh at them and then once you've laughed at them and you have expunged the demon, now you can deal with them. That's what I do when I do my act."
He unveiled Mork, the alien from the planet Ork, in an appearance on "Happy Days," and was granted his own series, which ran from 1978-82.
In subsequent years, Williams often returned to television — for appearances on "Saturday Night Live," for "Friends," for comedy specials, for "American Idol," where in 2008 he pretended to be a "Russian idol" who belts out a tuneless, indecipherable "My Way."
Williams also could handle a script, when he felt like it, and also think on his feet. He ad-libbed in many of his films and was just as quick in person. During a media tour for "Awakenings," when director Penny Marshall mistakenly described the film as being set in a "menstrual hospital," instead of "mental hospital," Williams quickly stepped in and joked, "It's a period piece."
Winner of a Grammy in 2003 for best spoken comedy album, "Robin Williams — Live 2002," he once likened his act to the daily jogs he took across the Golden Gate Bridge. There were times he would look over the edge, one side of him pulling back in fear, the other insisting he could fly.
"You have an internal critic, an internal drive that says, 'OK, you can do more.' Maybe that's what keeps you going," Williams said. "Maybe that's a demon. ... Some people say, 'It's a muse.' No, it's not a muse! It's a demon! DO IT YOU BASTARD!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! THE LITTLE DEMON!!"
For The Mork & Mindy Scrapbook go to https://web.archive.org/web/20040604113310/http://hemsidor.torget.se:80/users/s/swes/mork/
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20130119142424/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/mork.html
To see how Mork & Mindy was related to Happy Days go to http://www.poobala.com/happydaysandmork.html
For an Article on Mork & Mindy go to https://io9.gizmodo.com/mork-and-mindy-was-one-of-the-most-unlikely-miracles-in-1745289352
Pam Dawber talks about Robin Williams here https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/mar/21/robin-williams-groped-flashed-me-on-set-mork-mindy-pam-dawber
For some Mork & Mindy-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/mork-mindy
For a great review of Mork & Mindy go to http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/mork_and_mindy.htm
� Date: Wed March 15, 2017 � Filesize: 53.7kb, 217.8kb � Dimensions: 1279 x 1600 �
Keywords: Robin Williams & Pam Dawber (Links Updated 7/10/18)