‘Happy Days’: How Lynda Goodfriend Played a Role in Casting Robin Williams as ‘Mork’ in the Series

by Clayton Edwards

Happy Days is one of those shows that proves that it only takes one decision to change the course of history. The hit sitcom changed the entertainment world forever in several ways. For instance, it spawned a handful of great spinoffs. Laverne and Shirley, for example, was a spinoff. So was Mork and Mindy.

Happy Days also helped to launch the careers of several actors. Henry Winkler got his break on the show when Fonzie became popular. Pat Morita, who went on to play Mr. Miyagi got his break on the series as well. However, the biggest name to come out of the show was Robin Williams.

Before Happy Days, Robin Williams couldn’t get work as an actor. He had a habit of improvising. On top of that, he was a little off-beat. No one really knew what to think about him. However, when the role of Mork, a goofy alien character came up, he fit like a glove. If not for Mork, Williams may not have become the beloved star that he is today. It has been almost seven years since he passed and still, people love him. His strangeness and inability to stay on script may have hampered his career in the beginning but now, they’re what he is both known and loved for.

Have you ever wondered how the Happy Days crew found Robin Williams? Well, the truth is, they didn’t. In fact, it was Lynda Goodfriend who found Williams. In a way, we have her to thank for all of the work he left behind.

How Lynda Goodfriend Brought Robin Williams To Happy Days

According to AmoMama, Lynda Goodfriend moved to LA at the age of 23. She had aspirations of being a dramatic actress. However, the only parts she got were comedic roles. Most of those were sitcoms. One of those roles was Lori Beth Allen, later Cunningham, on Happy Days. She played the young lady that Richie Cunningham would marry.

To supplement her acting chops, Goodfriend started taking Harvey Lambeck’s comedy workshops. While there, she met Robin Williams. She knew that Robin was an off-beat guy with a penchant for improvisation. She also knew that was keeping him from getting work. So, when the role of Mork came up on Happy Days, she knew it would fit Williams’ style. She helped to get him an audition. From there, Robin Williams became a superstar.

Today, Goodfriend has retired from acting. Instead, she is an acting teacher and chair of the New York Film Academy.