The Unauthorized Story of Mork & Mindy (2005)

This film was part of the 'Behind the Camera' series of biopics that told the unauthorized story of such TV hits as 'Charlies Angels', 'Three’s Company' and 'Diff’rent Strokes'. What sets this film apart, and therefore explains its inclusion in this website, is that 'Mork and Mindy' was the launchpad for Robin Williams. Given the unenviable task of portraying the comic genius is Chris Diamantopoulos, and the film’s success rises on falls on his performance. Fortunately, he nails it!

 

He’s not the only one. One thing apparent from the opening scenes is how well cast the film is. Even in a relatively secondary role, Erinn Hayes immediately recalls Pam Dawber’s Mindy. A collection of look-and-sound-alikes round out the cast of sitcom stars from Mork and Mindy, Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley, all of whom are corralled by an ebullient Daniel Roebuck as the shows’ producer Garry Marshall.

 

Not that the biopic deals solely with the internal machinations of producing a sitcom. Central to the film’s concern is how Robin Williams coped, or rather didn’t cope, with his overnight success.  In this, the film does not shy away from Williams’ addiction to cocaine, and the toxic effect it had on his relationships with those closest to him.

 

Knowing the eventual fate of this much-loved actor gives added poignancy to the film’s closing scenes.

cast, Chris Diamantopoulos, Robin Williams, Erinn Hayes, Pam Dawber
Chris Diamantopoulos
Chris Diamantopoulos

as Robin Williams

Erinn Hayes
Erinn Hayes

as Pam Dawber

Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner

as Jonathan Winters

Robert Clarke
Robert Clarke

as Conrad Janis

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The real-life inspiration for fictional character Harvey Severson is series director Howard Storm.

 

The real-life inspiration for fictional character Lila Milford is series writer April Kelly.

 

Though the character of Pam Dawber's boyfriend in the final scenes is never named, he is assumed to be actor Mark Harmon. However, Dawber and Harmon did not begin their relationship until years after the series ended. 

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Clip courtesy of Dimitri Bitu

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