One ‘Happy Days’ Actress Reprised Her Role for the ‘Mork & Mindy’ Pilot

by Joe Rutland

Giving a classic TV spinoff like Mork & Mindy such a boost with guest stars is helpful and that’s just what Happy Days did with this star. But, they borrowed a star from the show and one of its other spinoffs to show up in the pilot episode. Talk about crossover power! Well, it worked as this star would make an appearance at a time her show was also red hot on ABC. Does that give you a clue or two about who did pop up? Maybe the big letter L would make it more obvious.

Alright, so in the pilot, Mork, played by Robin Williams, tells Mindy, played by Pam Dawber, about a disastrous date he once had with Laverne DeFazio. Who shows up? You better believe it was Penny Marshall and she played Laverne of Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley on there. We get more from TV Insider.

Four-Season Run For ‘Mork & Mindy’ Comes to an End in May 1982

If you are wondering why the sudden interest in Mork & Mindy, then we can help you out. Forty years ago in 1982, the acclaimed series saw its four-season run come to an end on ABC. The show let Williams have an outlet for his style of comedy and it won over viewers. Stardom, fame, and success would all come his way.

How much did Williams love this show? A lot. Reportedly, he would try to sneak in jokes in other languages. Get outta here, right? Here’s Williams talking about the situation. “They had to have a sensor who spoke, I think spoke Spanish — three or four different languages — because I was sneaking things in different languages,” he said in a Pioneers of Television interview. “It was just kind of to see what could get under the radar. And we had a great director, Howard Storm, who was a comic himself, who just let us you know go crazy and do things with it, which was pretty wonderful.”

Williams Chuckled at Having Mork Still in People’s Minds After Winning Academy Award

But the irony of having a TV show be so popular when winning an Academy Award was not lost on Williams. “Even after winning an Academy Award, people going ‘Hey, Good Will Hunting. Way to go.’ Two weeks later: ‘Hey Mork!'” Williams said. “It doesn’t change. It’s still in people’s consciousness from that time. … It struck a chord because it was so out of left field in that way.”

Back to Penny Marshall for a minute. The actress would go on to become a respected Hollywood director and bonafide hardcore Los Angeles Lakers fan. She died in 2018 from complications of diabetes.