The program starring Robin Williams aired from 1978 to 1982 on ABC and catapulted Williams to national prominence. Williams played an alien from outer space who came to earth in an egg-shaped spacecraft.
Ellen Endo, a former editor at Rafu Shimpo, worked at ABC as an editor of broadcast standards in the late 70’s. Endo is known as the woman that found Robin Williams.
She told her story in an article she wrote for Rafu Shimpo.
Williams came to her attention during her work with the popular sitcom Happy Days. The comic guest starred on the program.
Actor Al Molinaro who replaced Pat Morita as the owner of the diner where Happy Days was set took Ellen aside and told her “You know, Ellen, someone at your network should take a look at this kid on the show this week.”
It was Williams first major TV guest starring role and Endo was impressed enough to hand a tape of Williams to network executives.
Not long after that, Mork & Mindy was born. When people asked network executive Mark Carsey what the hell was Mork & Mindy, Carsey replied “That’s a show starring this guy that Ellen Endo found.”
The rest is history. You can read about Endo’s time with Williams and what happened after Mork was introduced to America in Rafu Shimpo.