Pam Dawber grew up in Detroit, where her father was a commercial artist and her mother ran a stock-photo agency. Blessed with a four-octave soprano voice, Dawber prepared for a singing career while attending Oakland Community College. After suffering the traditional setbacks, she began working as a model in New York. This led to a string of commercials, including one of the early "Tupperware Lady" musical ads. In 1977, she made her first film appearance in Robert Altman's A Wedding, making an unforgettable entrance on horseback. The following year, she was cast as Mindy McConnell on the weekly Robin Williams sitcom Mork & Mindy. Though Dawber was generally relegated to straight woman and sounding board for Mork's zany antics, Williams did his utmost to see that his co-star was given a few isolated moments to shine. After Mork & Mindy ended its four-year run, Williams went on to theatrical features, while Dawber busied herself in made-for-TV movies. In 1986, she was top-billed in another successful TV comedy, My Sister Sam, which came to an abrupt end in 1988 when her co-star, Rebecca Schaeffer, was murdered by a crazed fan who was stalking her. Since that time, Dawber has appeared on-stage and in a handful of films, including the much-delayed fantasy Stay Tuned (1992), in which, courtesy of animation director Chuck Jones, she was briefly glimpsed in cartoon form. She has also been active as national spokesperson for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. Pam Dawber is married to actor Mark Harmon.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Modeled at auto shows before moving to New York where she appeared in commercials.
- In 1997, she tackled her first leading stage role in the musical Sweet Adeline at Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House.
- Made her film debut in Robert Altman's 1977 dramedy A Wedding.
- Breakout TV role was in Mork & Mindy, a spin-off of Happy Days.
- Costarred in the Los Angeles production of The Pirates of Penzance in 1981 and did a three-week stint in the Broadway run a year later.
- Along with former manager Mimi Weber, she formed Pony Productions in 1986, which launched her CBS sitcom My Sister Sam (1986-1988).
- Took a break from acting after her children were born; says she might resume her career when they're older.
- National spokeswoman for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.