The American actress, model, and producer, Pam Dawber, is possibly still best known for her appearances in the TV series “Monk & Mindy” and “My Sister Sam.”
Age, Early Life, and Education Background
Pamela ‘Pam’ Dawber is a native of Detroit, Michigan, who was born under the Libra zodiac sign on 18 October 1951, which makes her 71 years old as of 2023. She’s the daughter of the former Commercial Artist Eugene E. Dawber, and Thelma M. Dawber, who used to run a stock photo agency. Her younger sister, Leslie succumbed to heart disease in December 1976.
Pam went to the Goodrich-based Reid Elementary School, then attended North Farmington High School, subsequently matriculating to Oakland Community College, but she soon dropped out to pursue an acting career.
Hobbies and Interesting Facts
On 3 January 1996, Pam and her husband rescued a teenage boy from a burning car after it crashed near their home in Brentwood, Los Angeles.
She has served as the spokeswoman for the non-profit organization, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, which is committed to ‘creating and supporting one-to-one mentoring relations that ignite the power and promise of youth.’
She is an outdoorsy person, who enjoys horseback riding, canoeing and swimming.
Pam is also a culinary enthusiast, who enjoys spending her spare time cooking.
Pam Dawber on the cover of McCall's in 1979.
Pam began her modeling career posing in numerous auto trade shows in her hometown of Detroit. Her career started taking off when she accompanied one of her friends to New York, and showcased her modeling portfolio to several New York talent agents. She thereafter signed an exclusive contract with the well-known New York-based modeling agency Wilhemina, and soon began appearing in TV commercials and magazine covers. Dawber has appeared in commercials for various firms including Neet Lotion Hair Remover, AT&T Wireless, Fotomat, and Tupperware. She signed with various other modeling agencies such as TalentWorks, which is based in Burbank, Los Angeles, and Wings Productions, Inc. in Encinitas, San Diego.
In the late ‘70s Dawber auditioned for the role of Tabitha in the fantasy sitcom, “Tabitha,” but it was given to the Texan singer and actress Lisa Hartman. However, the producers of the sitcom were impressed with her audition, and took her on in the show’s talent development program, where she met the late American screenwriter, producer and director, Garry Kent Marshall. Dawber made her career breakthrough when Marshall selected her for the lead role of the journalist Mindy McConnell in the ABC TV sitcom “Mork & Mindy.” The show is centered around Mork (played by Robin Williams) who is an interplanetary being from planet Ork assigned by his supervisor Orson, (played by Ralph James), to travel to Earth and study its inhabitants. While on earth, Monk meets McConnell, who offers him shelter. Pam appeared in the sitcom for 94 episodes from 1978-198, after which Pam began lending her voice in Hanna-Barbera Production’s animated TV series “Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour.”
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Pam’s next notable TV appearance was as Sam Russell in 44 episodes of the TV sitcom “My Sister Sam” (1986-1988). She went on to appear in single episodes of a few more TV series throughout the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, until in 1997, she appeared in and produced five episodes of the CBS sitcom “Life…and Stuff.” Her next noteworthy performance was in the animated TV series “101 Dalmatians: The Series” in 1997 and ‘98.
Pam then took a long break from TV series’, and made a comeback in the 2014 episode “Love Sucks” of the sitcom “The Crazy Ones.” In 2021, she appeared in seven episodes of the military police procedural drama “NCIS.”
Pam made her film debut as Tracy Farrell in the 1978 Robert Altman-directed satirical comedy-drama “A Wedding.” She went on to star in the 1980 sci-fi comedy, “The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything”, which is based on the 1962 eponymous book by John D. MacDonald. In 1985, Pam starred alongside Kenny Rodgers in the Western “Wild Horses”, and four years later, she starred alongside John Shea, Brian Bonsall, Stephen Dorff and Dee Dee Rescher in the Gilbert Cates-directed drama film “Do You Know the Muffin Man?”
Dawber has also starred in the films “The Face of Fear” in 1990, “Stay Tuned” in 1992, and “A Child’s Cry for Help” in 1994. She took a seven-year break from films after starring in the 1999 family drama “I’ll Remember April” and her following appearance was in the 2006 “Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the Stars.”
Awards and Nominations
Out of the five awards she’s been nominated for, Pam has won three. She’s a two-time winner of the People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Program in 1979 and 1987, and bagged a Photoplay Award for Favorite Female Newcomer in 1979. Moreover, Pam was nominated for a TV Land Award (The ‘Who Knew They Could Sing?” Award) in 2007.
Dawber was introduced to her future husband, the American actor Mark Harmon, by the “Night Shift” (1982) starlet, Gina Hecht, in 1986. Their meeting came shortly after Mark was named the “PEOPLE” magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive. Harmon is perhaps best known for his appearances in “NCIS” and “The West Wing.” The duo dated briefly before walking the aisle on 21 March 1987, and welcomed their first son Sean on 25 April 1988. He has followed in his parents’ footsteps, and is currently an actor and producer known for his works in “NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” and “Major Crimes.” Dawber’s second son, Ty Christian Harmon is a screenwriter, born on 25 June 1992. Pam and Mark have been married for over three and a half decades now and they are seemingly going strongly without any rumors of divorce or separation.
Before marrying Harmon, Pam dated various celebrities, including the actor Phil Coccioletti, whom she met in August 1979. Their affair lasted for two years. She was also romantically linked with the American singer and actor, Rex Smith (1982), the English singer-songwriter Andy Gibb (1982 and 1983), and the American actor Robert Hays.
Pam was good friends with the late American comedian and actor and “Monk & Mindy” co-star, Robin William, who is remembered for his praised improvisation skills.
Height, Weight, and Physical Appearance
Dawber is of Caucasian ethnicity, and has blue eyes and long dark brown hair. She is slimly built, weighs about 130lbs (59kgs), and is 5ft 7ins (1.70m) tall.
Pam has accumulated her net worth through her acting and modeling careers. In the early stages of her acting career, she received around $15,000 for her performance in each episode of “Monk and Mindy.” Her production firm, Pony Productions, has also significantly contributed to her net worth, which is approximately $10 million, as of late 2023.