Mindy Cohn is a noted American actress, best known for her role in the NBC sitcom, ‘The Facts of Life’. She got her first break when actress Charlotte Rea noticed her entertaining a group of friends while she went to her school to do some research work on their upcoming project, ‘The Facts of Life’. She immediately developed a liking for thirteen year old Mindy, picking her up to play twelve year old Natalie. From the very beginning Mindy developed a wonderful working relation with Rae, who in turn began to treat her as her surrogate daughter, helping her to become a successful actress. Later in her life Cohn credited Rae as her favorite mentor and her best friend. Apart from ‘The Facts of Life’, Cohn has appeared in numerous other productions, including 'The Boy Who Could Fly '. Later, she became equally famous as a voice actor, becoming especially known as the voice of Velma Dinkley in the ‘Scooby-Doo’ franchise.
Childhood & Early Years
Mindy Cohn was born as Melinda Heather Cohn on May 20, 1966 in Los Angeles, California, USA, to Nat Cohn and Ina Cohn. Mindy also has a sister whose name is not known.
From an interview given in 2013, we know that her mother, a real estate lawyer, was very keen that her daughters should get good education. Therefore, she had Mindy admitted to the prestigious Westlake School for Girls. Later, she also earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology from Loyola Marymount University.
As a child, Mindy wanted to become a doctor. But everything changed in the summer of 1979, when their headmaster came into their classroom looking for students to be interviewed by some television producers for their upcoming sitcom ‘The Facts of Life’. One among them was Charlotte Rae.
The day after the interview, Mindy learned that Charlotte Rae had fallen in love with her, partly because she reminded her of her childhood friend Natalie. Eventually, a new character named Natalie was created and she was cast as one the main characters in ‘The Facts of Life’.
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In 1979, thirteen years old Mindy Cohn began her career, appearing as twelve years old Natalie Green in the NBC sitcom, ‘The Facts of Life’, a spinoff of another NBC sitcom, ‘Different Strokes’. The show debuted on August 24, 1979.
In 1980-1981, along with appearing in ‘The Facts of Life’, she appeared as Natalie in two episodes of ‘Different Strokes’, i.e. ‘The Slumber Party and ‘The Older Man’. Again in 1982, she reprised the role in ‘The Facts of Life Goes to Paris’, a made-for-television film based on the sitcom.
For the first two seasons, she just played herself, as the character of Natalie was very similar to hers. But from the third season, they began to grow apart and therefore, she had to start learning “how to create a character”.
From 1985, she began to work in other productions, appearing in one episode of ‘Double Trouble’. In 1986, she debuted in feature film with 'The Boy Who Could Fly' and in 1987 she once again reprised the role of Natalie in the television film, ‘The Facts of Life Down Under’.
’The Facts of Life’ ended on May 7, 1988. Thereafter, she continued to work in different production. She had to wait till September 1993 for her next main role; she appeared as Maureen Tucker in thirteen episodes of ‘The Second Half’.
From 1999, she started appearing in voice roles, giving voiceover for Nancy Francis in 34 episodes of ‘The Kids from Room 402’ (1999-2001) and for Candy Yuponce in (Thirteen episodes 'The Chimp Channel' (1999). Next from 2002 to 20015 (she gave voice for Velma Dinkley in 41 episodes of ‘What’s New, Scooby-Doo?’
As the new millennium set in, she continued giving voiceovers in numerous television products and direct-to-video films, many of which belonged to the ‘Scooby-Doo’ franchise. In addition, she also appeared in person in many television series, enacting main role in ‘The Help’ (2004) and a recurring role in ‘Fly’ (2018).
In 2000s and 2010s, she also appeared in several feature and television films. They include 'The Facts of Life Reunion’ (2001), 'Under the Gun' (2002), 'Swing' (2003), 'The Third Wash' (2005) 'Sex and Death 101' (2007) and 'Violet Tendencies' (2010), ‘You Are Killing Me’ (2015) and ‘Hollywood Dirt’ (2017).
Also in 2000s, she started providing voiceover in video games, voicing for Velma Dinkley in 'Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem' (2004), Scooby-Doo! Unmasked' (2005), 'Scooby-Doo! Who's Watching Who?' (2006), 'Scooby-Doo! First Frights’ (2009) and 'Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Swamp' (2010). Later in 2015, she again provided voice for Dinkley in ‘Lego Dimensions’.
Mindy Cohn is best remembered for her role of Natasha Letisha Sage "Natalie" Green in ‘The Facts of Life’, one of the longest running sitcoms of 1980s. It not only made her a household name, but also earned her the 43rd rank in VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Kid Stars".
Family & Personal Life
Mindy Cohn is single and has no children. Initially she did want a family; but now she does not have any regret. As she has said, “Now, as I look at all my gorgeous, successful, famous friends who have all those things ... I feel pretty good!"
In 2012, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undertake treatment for five years, an experience which motivated her to become a founding member of the weSpark Cancer Support Centre. Currently, she is on its Board of Directors. She is also a supporter of the LGBT community and has stated that she is proud to be a "fag hag”.