Childhood & Early Life
Pamela Dawber was born on October 18, 1951 in Detroit, Michigan to Thelma M. (née Fisher) and Eugene E. Dawber. She was the eldest of the two daughters born to the couple. While Eugene Dawber was a commercial artist, Thelma ran a stock photo agency.
She attended an elementary school in Goodrich before enrolling at North Farmington High School. She then gained admission at Oakland Community College (OCC). However, she dropped out of college soon after being bit by the modelling bug.
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Interestingly, early on, Pam Dawber entertained the idea of having a singing career. However, it was during her years at OCC that Dawber took to modelling. Walking on the ramp for a couple of local fashion shows gave her a clearer vision of what she wanted to do with her life. Studies soon took a backseat as she started pursuing modelling professionally.
Wanting to take modelling to a next level, Dawber moved to New York City. TherE, she served as a fashion model for Wilhelmina Models. Soon after that, she made her entry in the world of acting. Her early stints were for commercials.
It was her screen test for the titular role of ‘Tabitha’ in the self-titled situational comedy spin-off from ‘Bewitched’ that changed the fate of Pam Dawber. Ironic as it may seem to be, though she failed to make it to the show, her screen test was so much lauded that ABC TV enrolled her in its ‘talent development’ program. Under it, participants were paid a stipend until they found themselves appropriate roles.
Pam Dawber did not have to wait for long for her first successful television breakthrough. Garry K Marshall saw her at the talent development program and was keen on having her onboard for his upcoming show, ‘Mork & Mindy’, irrespective of her having ‘no’ acting experience. She did not even audition for the role.
The sitcom ‘Mork & Mindy’ became extremely popular and was loved by the audience. Pam played the character of Mindy McConnell, the comedic foil and eventual love interest for the extraterrestrial Mork from the planet Ork. The show lasted for four seasons, from 1978 to 1982.
Simultaneously with television, her film career also kickstarted in 1978. She starred in Robert Altman’s comedy ‘A Wedding’ as Tracy Farrel, ex-lover of protagonist Dino Corelli.
She has done just four movies till date including the 1982 ‘Swan Lake’, the 1992 ‘Stay Tuned’ and the 2000 ‘I’ll Remember April’. The last one was alongside her husband Mark Harmon.
Coming back to television, Dawber’s next full-fledged role after ‘Mork & Mindy’ came for the 1986 CBS sitcom ‘My Sister Sam’. In it, she played the Samantha Sam Russell, a freelance photographer from San Francisco whose life turns topsy-turvy when Patti, her sister comes to live with her. Lasting for two seasons and forty four episodes, the show finally ended in 1988. While the first season was a hit, the ratings dropped majorly in its second season, resulting in it going off-air mid-way.
Pam Dawber did a lot of television films. She started with ‘Remembrance of Love’ in 1982 and soon backed it up with several more. She was seen in the famous ‘Do You Know The Muffin Man?’, ‘The Face of Fear’, ‘Web of Deception’, ‘A Child’s Cry for Help’, ‘Don’t Look Behind You’ and so on.
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During the 1990s, Pan Dawber’s acting career took a back seat due to family reasons. She wanted to raise her child as well as take care of her family. In 1997, she starred in the television series ‘Life... and Stuff’. In it, she played the character of Ronnie Boswell, wife of Rick Boswell. Same year, she gave the voice for ‘Perdy’ in the series ‘101 Dalmations: The Series’.
In 2014, she reunited with Robin Williams for a guest appearance in one episode for his comedy series ‘The Crazy Ones’ as a love interest of Williams's character.
In 2016, she made a guest appearance on ‘The Odd Couple’ paying tribute to Garry Marshall along with other Marshall alums Ron Howard, Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Don Most, Anson Williams, and Marion Ross.