Conrad Janis of ‘Mork & Mindy’ Dies @ 94

Conrad Janis, most familiar to TV fans as Mindy's music store-owning dad on Mork & Mindy, died March 1, just a few weeks after his 94th birthday.

He gave good head shot. (Image via head shot)

Janis, an accomplished jazz trombonist and art dealer with expansive knowlege of Modernist art, moved between the fields of acting, music and art with great ease, a true renaissance man.

Born in Manhattan on February 11, 1928, to a gallerist dad (Sidney Janis, who died at 93 in 1989) and a mother who was a writer, he became an actor as an adolescent, touring with a stage show at 13.

Making his Broadway debut with The Dark of the Moon in 1945, he was scouted and brought to Hollywood, where he starred in Snafu that same year.

Other early film work included Margie (1946), The Brasher Doubloon (1947), the infamous That Hagen Girl (1947) with Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) and Shirley Temple (1928-2014), Beyond Glory (1949) and Let's Rock (1958).

He made his debut on television — a medium in which he would go on to rack up 100 or so credits — in the teleplay Joe McSween's Atomic Machine as part of Actor's Studio in 1949, going on to appear on a number of other early dramatic series, including Starlight Theatre (1950), The Philco Television Playhouse (1949-1950), CBS Television Workshop (1952), The Gulf Playhouse (1953), Studio One (1953) Ponds Theater (194), Kraft Theatre (1951 & 1955) and Zane Grey Theatre (1956), among others.

His other TV credits included classic series like Suspense (8 episodes, 1950-1952), The Untouchables (1960), Get Smart (1965), My Favorite Martian (1966), Cannon (1974), Baretta (1975), The Waltons (1976), Maude (1976), Happy Days (1976), The Streets of San Francisco (1976), The Jeffersons (1977), Kojak (1978), Barnaby Jones (1978), The Love Boat (1979), House Calls (1980), Laverne & Shirley (1980), Trapper John, M.D. (1983), Mama's Family (1984), Murder, She Wrote (1984, 1988, & 1991), St. Elsewhere (1984), Remington Steele (1985), V (1985), Highway to Heaven (1985), The Golden Girls (1987), Baywatch (1996) and three episodes of Frasier (1997-2002), the latter of which became his final episodic-TV work.

Along with his time on Mork & Mindy, he was a regular — playing Palindrome — on the cult sci-fi spoof series Quark (1977-1978).

As Fred McConnell (Image via ABC)

Though film work was less frequent, he acted in Airport 1975 (1974), The Happy Hooker (1975), The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976), The Buddy Holly Story (1978), Oh, God! Book II (1980), Brewster's Millions (1985), The Cable Guy (1996) and played himself in the jazz-bar scene in Nothing in Common (1986), starring Tom Hanks (b. 1956) and Jackie Gleason (1916-1987).

Palindrome from Quark (Image via NBC)

He directed the straight-to-video film The Feminine Touch (1995) starring his old pal and jazz compadre George Segal (1934-2021) and Bad Blood (2012), both from scripts by his third wife, Maria Grimm (1946-2021).

Bad Blood wound up being his final acting gig in any medium.

Janis was in fine form 10 years ago, reminiscing about his incredible career:

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