People Staff
September 11, 1978 12:00 PM

Robin Williams has done what Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall did and Roz Kelly (Pinky Tuscadero) didn’t—spin off a guest gig on Happy Days into his own ABC series. Williams stars as a visitor from the planet Ork in Mork and Mindy, which premieres Sept. 11. Robin, 26, apprenticed at the Comedy Store, a Hollywood showcase club where the likes of Jimmie Walker and Gabe Kaplan shake down their material. He doesn’t fit into any particular mold (he plans to drop the feathered glasses, because it’s too close to Steve Martin), though his routine is peppered with drug jokes. Like the one about the old man in the park who feeds dope to the birds—”When I withhold the heroin, the pigeons go cold squab.” Williams says he’s never done anything himself but Quaaludes—once. The son of a prosperous auto exec, Williams grew up in Detroit and Marin County, Calif. and tried two colleges before acting under John Houseman at Manhattan’s Juilliard. For practice, he did mime routines on the sidewalk in front of New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Now with Mork on the schedule, he has settled down in the modest part of Beverly Hills with his wife of three months, dancer Valerie Velardi, a parrot and three lizards—one named Truman Capote because, says Williams, “he has no neck.”

Carol Fisher has won the women’s national wildwater kayak championship five times, and she’s only 26. Internationally, Americans have never made much of a splash, but Carol finished fourth in this summer’s Europa Cup competition in France and is already in training for the 1979 world championships and the 1980 Olympics. The Olympics is a “flat-water” event, in which there is no current. The world is “white-water,” meaning a Deliverance-style race. “You have to memorize the river, every rock, every drop. It’s a combination of skill and endurance,” Fisher says. The daughter of two college professors, she started kayaking as a high school senior in Carbondale, Colo. “I turned over all the time,” she recalls, before she learned to right the boat using the “Eskimo roll” (after the inventors of the kayak). “It’s all in zee hips, man,” she jokes. “They come up first. It’s hard because it doesn’t feel natural.” Since the sport is not subsidized, Fisher pays her way to competitions primarily by teaching kayaking plus running, skiing and backpacking at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. She also resourcefully crafts some of her own kayaks. When an airline said her 15-foot fiberglass craft was too long for the cargo door, she pulled a saw from her bag and cut off the obtruding eight inches. Upon deplaning at her destination, she coolly bonded it back together.

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