Pam Dawber

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Pam Dawber
Dawber in October 2012
Born(1951-10-18) October 18, 1951 (age 62)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.[1]
Years active1978–Current
Spouse(s)Mark Harmon (m. 1987)
Children2 sons
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Pam Dawber
Dawber in October 2012
Born(1951-10-18) October 18, 1951 (age 62)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.[1]
Years active1978–Current
Spouse(s)Mark Harmon (m. 1987)
Children2 sons

Pam Dawber (born October 18, 1951) is an American actress best known for her lead television sitcom roles as Mindy McConnell in Mork & Mindy (1978–1982) and Samantha Russell in My Sister Sam (1986–1988).

Early life[edit]

Dawber was born in Detroit, Michigan, the older of two daughters of Thelma M. (née Fisher) and Eugene E. Dawber, a commercial artist.[1][2] She attended North Farmington High School and Oakland Community College.


Dawber moved to New York and was initially a fashion model with Wilhelmina Models before switching to acting. Her breakthrough came when she was cast as one of the two title roles by Garry Marshall in ABC sitcom Mork & Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982, despite relatively little acting experience and not auditioning for the part.[3][4] She portrayed Mindy McConnell, the comedic foil and eventual love interest for the extraterrestrial Mork from the planet "Ork", played by a then-unknown Robin Williams. The show was extremely popular in its debut season, when it averaged at #3 in the Nielsen ratings for the year.[5]

Dawber sang in a 1980s Los Angeles Civic Light Opera production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, based on the Joseph Papp/New York Shakespeare Festival production. Her role, as Mabel, had been played by Linda Ronstadt in the New York run of the show.

From 1986 to 1988, Dawber again had the title role in a TV series, playing Samantha Russell in the CBS sitcom My Sister Sam, co-starring Rebecca Schaeffer. The series was a success in its first season, but suffered a massive ratings drop in its second after moving to Saturday night. My Sister Sam left the air in April 1988, with half of the second season's episodes never airing on CBS, but eventually airing (along with all previous episodes) on USA Network. In July 1989, over a year after the show's demise, Schaeffer was shot and killed by an obsessed fan in front of her apartment, which devastated Dawber.[citation needed] Dawber, and her My Sister Sam co-stars Joel Brooks, David Naughton, and Jenny O'Hara reunited to film a public service announcement about violence prevention. With the birth of her second child, she left the industry for family reasons and acted sporadically during the 1990s.

Dawber parodied her Mork & Mindy character in the 1992 movie Stay Tuned, in which she co-starred with John Ritter, who parodied his Three's Company role.

In 2014, she will reunite with Robin Williams on his comedy series The Crazy Ones. Their two characters will go out on a date.[6]

Dawber is a national spokeswoman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Personal life[edit]

Dawber married actor Mark Harmon on March 21, 1987 in a private ceremony.[2][7] They have two sons: Sean Thomas Harmon (born April 25, 1988)[8] and Ty Christian Harmon (born June 25, 1992).[9] The couple appeared together in the film I'll Remember April.


1978–1982Mork & MindyMindy McConnell1979 People's Choice Awards Favorite Actress in a New TV Program
1982The Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley with the Fonz ShowMindy McConnellVoice only
1985The New Twilight ZoneKaren Billings1 episode, "But Can She Type?" segment
1986–1988My Sister SamSamantha "Sam" Russell1982 People's Choice Awards Favorite Actress in a New TV Program
1987Faerie Tale Theatre: The Little MermaidMermaid
1994Dream OnCheryl Castorini1 episode
1997Life... and StuffRonnie Boswell3 episodes
1997–1998101 Dalmatians: The SeriesPerdyVoice only; 20 episodes
2014The Crazy OnesLily1 episode, "Love Sucks"
1978A WeddingTracy Farrell
1980The Girl, the Gold Watch and EverythingBonny Lee Beaumont
1981Swan LakePrincess OdetteVoice only
1982Remembrance of LoveMarcy Rabin
1983Through Naked EyesAnne Walsh
1984Last of the Great SurvivorsLaura Matthews
1985This Wife for HireMarsha Harper
Wild HorsesDaryl Reese
1986American GeishaGillian Burke
1988Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer StoryLucy Wedemeyer
1989Do You Know the Muffin Man?Kendra Dollison
1990The Face of FearConnie Weaver
1992Stay TunedHelen Knable
1993The Man with Three WivesRobyn
1994Web of DeceptionEllen Benesch
1994A Child's Cry for HelpMonica Shaw
1995A Stranger to LoveAndie
1999Trail of TearsCheryl Harris
I'll Remember AprilBarbara Cooper
Don't Look Behind YouLiz Corrigan
2006Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the StarsDocumentary[10]


  1. ^ a b "Pam Dawber Biography (1954-)". 1954-10-18. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  2. ^ a b Bernstein, Fred (March 1987). "Dawber hits the Mark!". People 27: 45. 
  3. ^ Marshall, Garry (1997). Wake Me When It's Funny: How to Break Into Show Business and Stay. Newmarket Press. p. 16. 
  4. ^ Brant, Marley (2006). Happier days: Paramount Television's classic sitcoms, 1974-1984. Billboard Books. pp. 99–100. ISBN 9780823089338. 
  5. ^ "Screen Source: Top TV Shows, 1970's". 1997-03-28. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  6. ^ Pam Dawber to Reunite With Robin Williams in an Upcoming Episode of 'The Crazy Ones'
  7. ^ Earl Blackwell's Celebrity Register, 1990. Gale Research Incorporated. 1990. pp. 113, 190. ISBN 9780810368750. 
  8. ^ "Baby Boom". Los Angeles Times. 27 April 1988. 
  9. ^ "In Step With...Mark Harmon". Parade. September 2008. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  10. ^ "Traipsing Thru Films". Retrieved 2013-05-16. 

External links[edit]