When Garry Marshall snagged Robin Williams

Story highlights

  • Pam Dawber: What made Garry Marshall so funny? Partly his delivery, with the Bronx accent: "Don't Worree. It's Funnee."
  • She says he was a huge talent from a kinder era, the favorite uncle of all who worked with him on his many comedy shows

Pam Dawber, producer, actress and former star of the TV comedy "Mork & Mindy," lives in Los Angeles with husband Mark Harmon and two sons. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Why was Garry Marshall, the man who hired me to work on "Mork & Mindy" and was responsible for so many classic comedy shows, such a naturally funny person?

This is hard to describe. The reason is that it was all in Garry's delivery: His minimal responses in his thick Bronx accent -- his use of his accent was what made him so comical. "Don"t Worree. It's Funnee. It's gonna be fiiine," are not necessarily funny lines, except they were when he said them.
Pam Dawber
Once he had to approach me on the last episode of the first year to tell me the network wanted me to start wearing a padded bra. I blew a gasket and said I refused to do that. It's my memory of Garry's exiting after my hissy fit that plays funny in my memory. "OK. Fiiine, don't worrree, it's okaay." You had to be there.
    He was one of the last of the good guys; no, not just a good guy but a great guy.
    How on Earth do we say farewell to Garry Marshall — an immense talent, who emerged in a kinder gentler era? Someone whom the words "they sure don't make 'em like that anymore" describe completely.
    Robin Williams and Pam Dawber in "Mork & Mindy" on September 14, 1978.
    I most vividly remember my first meeting with him, for lunch in 1978 in New York, where I was living. Back story: I was rather upset that ABC (where I was under contract) had, unbeknownst to me, plopped me into a sitcom called "Mork & Mindy" with some GUY named Robin Williams.
    I wasn't sure I wanted to even do it. The concept sounded dumb to me. Garry came to New York to talk to me about it, touting this new brilliant comedian they had discovered on a "Happy Days" episode.
    He swore the guy was a comic genius and the sitcom would be like no other ever shot because you never knew what was going to come out of Robin Williams' mouth. He was all about improvisation. Therefore it would be a very loose set without a completely set script.
    He handed me a videotape of the "Happy Days" episode to watch before I made the decision. After viewing 15 minutes of the show I had my agent on the phone, telling him "I'm IN! Sign me up! This Robin Williams is fantastic!" And the rest is history.
    The wondrous humor Garry prolifically created and shared with the world is his legacy. But for those of us who were lucky enough to have reaped the benefits of his genius, sharing time and space with him on planet Earth, the feeling of loss is profound.
    I think I can risk saying that Garry was all of our favorite uncle — the one you could drop in on at any time, who would welcome you with open arms, be there to chat, guide you or help you out of a pinch if you needed it.
    Garry was "the it" guy, a larger than life character whose ultimate goal was to "just make it funny!" Those of us who were catapulted to fame because of the great fortune of being drawn into his orbit will be eternally grateful for the amazing careers we might never have had otherwise.
    So to Uncle Garry, thank you and farewell. We on planet Earth shall miss you.