The Truth About Robin Williams And Pam Dawber's Relationship

Robin Williams and Pam Dawber became good friends while they worked together on the set of the TV show "Mork and Mindy," a "Happy Days" spin-off that ran from 1978 to 1982, according to IMDb. Williams played a character named Mork from Ork, a space alien who had landed on Earth to observe and report back to Ork about human society. He ends up meeting Dawber's character, Mindy. She takes him in and lets him live in her attic. Comedy ensues. 

Prior to the spin-off, the character of Mork had shown up on "Happy Days" three times as a guest star, IMDb reported, but he still auditioned for the part because initially the producer, Garry Marshall, was putting together a show about an alien but it wasn't necessarily going to be based on Williams' character. Per IMDb, Williams showed up to the casting call and sat upside down in a chair (as Mork often did on the show). Marshall said he chose Williams because "He was the only alien to audition." 

For Dawber's part, According to Happier Days: Paramount Television's Classic Sitcoms 1974-1984,  she didn't even have to audition. Rather, Marshall edited clips from a canceled series Dawber had been in previously with splices of Williams as Mork on "Happy Days" and showed that to ABC, who picked up the show. Dawber found out she got the part from her agent. She didn't even know the producers wanted her for it. She also thought the premise was dumb.

Dawber didn't know who Williams was

According to Happier Days: Paramount Television's Classic Sitcoms 1974-1984, Dawber said she had heard of the storyline for "Mork and Mindy," but said, "I thought it was just the most stupid thing I'd heard." When Dawber's agent read from "Variety" that she'd been cast, she was surprised, saying, "I hadn't auditioned, I hadn't met, and I knew nothing. I remember going, 'And who the hell is Robin Williams?" 

Nevertheless, the show was going forward. Dawber said of the first time she met Williams, "I thought he was so cute. The minute I met him I went, 'Oh he's so cute. And he's so odd and so funny and boy, oh boy, am I lucky! And so it went from there." 

Dawber and Williams grew close on the set of "Mork and Mindy." Years later, in 2014, she would tell AV Club, "I don't know what it is about the two of us, but I have just loved him on a very deep level. Robin is truly one of the kindest, most caring people I've ever met."

'It was the seventies, after all'

Dawber also spoke of William's playful antics on the set, which wouldn't really fly in today's cultural climate regarding the #MeToo movement, but ya know, different times. According to what the Daily Mail reported, in an excerpt from the book "Robin" by David Itzkoff, Dawber said, "I had the grossest things done to me — by him. I mean, I was flashed, humped, bumped, grabbed. I think he probably did it to a lot of people ... but it was so much fun."

Dawber continued, "Somehow he had that magic. If you put it on paper you would be appalled. But somehow he had this guileless little thing that he would do — those sparkly eyes. He'd look at you, really playful, like a puppy, all of a sudden. And then he'd grab your t*** and then run away. And somehow he could get away with it. It was the '70s, after all."

Another thing that happened on the set of "Mork and Mindy", and that may have contributed to Williams wild behavior was that he started using cocaine on set per IMDb, who reported it started because it helped with the social anxiety between scenes when lots of people were standing around and he didn't know what to say to them. 

Dawber and Williams reunited months before he died

After "Mork and Mindy" had run its course, Dawber's and Williams' lives took different routes, as lives do, but 30 or so years later, in 2014, the old friends reunited when Dawber guest-starred on William's sitcom "The Crazy Ones." According to AV Club, Williams didn't know the producers asked Dawber to guest star and didn't tell him until she signed on, and when they told him, he "got a little misty." 

Dawber told AV Club of the experience, "Oh, it was so much fun. I mean, it really was just so much fun ... Robin was never one of those comedians that was competitive and had to have all the funny lines. It was always playtime for him. He's just very generous ... But it's different. We're different, and it's a different show, and ... he's a grown-up! So it was really interesting to just be there for that few days. I loved it."

Just months later on August 11, 2014, Williams would hang himself with a belt at his home. Though the actor and comedian suffered from depression and had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, it would later be learned that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which an autopsy showed was a misdiagnosis. He actually had a rare illness called Lewy body disease, according to CBS News, which can look like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. 

When learning of Williams' suicide, Dawber said, "I am completely and utterly devastated. What else can I say?," IMDb reported.