Veteran American film and television actor Conrad Janis, best known for playing the role of Fred McConnell, on the hit 1970s sitcom Mork & Mindy, died on March 1 in Los Angeles. The news of his death has been confirmed by the actor's business manager to U.S. media. He was 94 and is survived by his brother; his children, Christopher and Carin Janis; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Apart from his big and small screen appearances, Janis was also an accomplished trombonist and performed with his jazz band on Broadway and in Beverly Hills on a number of occasions in the early stages of his career.
Born on February 11, 1928, in Manhattan to Sidney and Harriet Janis, who were New York-based art collectors and gallerists, Conrad Janis delivered his first live performance in the Broadway play The Dark of the Moon. His performance on stage went on to be noticed by many, including a Hollywood talent scout, after which he made his big-screen debut in Snafu. Janis subsequently landed roles in films like Margie, The Brasher Doubloon, The Hagen Girl, Beyond Glory, Airport 1975 to name a notable few, while also appearing on TV shows like Maude, Get Smart, and My Favorite Martian.
Janis became a household name after he was cast as Fred McConnell on Mork & Mindy in 1978. He played the father of Pam Dawber’s title character, with the show's other lead star being the legendary Robin Williams. On Mork & Mindy, Janis appeared as the loving yet overprotective father of Mindy, with the show turning out to be a huge success during its first two years and aired from 1978 to 1982, with the cast also featuring Elizabeth Kerr, Tom Poston, Jonathan Winters among many others. Post Mork & Mindy, Janis made appearances on shows like The Golden Girls, Mr. Saturday Night, The Cable Guy, Frasier, Maneater, and many more.
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