Conrad Janis passed away on March 1st, he was 94. Janis began acting with a road company at age 13, did voice work for radio, worked on Broadway and in films, and was part of television from its earliest days, playing memorable supporting roles from Suspense in 1950 to appearances on Frasier in the early 2000s. Among his over 100 film and television credits he is most remembered as Mindy’s father on the popular sitcom Mork and Mindy.
Throughout his long career as an actor he was also active as a trombonist playing traditional jazz. His mother, Harriet Janis, co-wrote They All Played Ragtime with Rudi Blesh and it was a neglected trombone belonging to Blesh’s daughter that became Conrad’s first instrument. Many of his earliest television roles found him playing a musician. In 1949 he created a band with his idols, jazz titans including James P. Johnson, Baby Dodds, Edmond Hall, Pops Foster, and Henry Goodwin. In the early 60s he led a group called the Tailgate 5. From the 1970s and continuing until his death he led his own Beverly Hills Unlisted Band. The band appeared on the Tonight Show a number of times and made eight appearances at Carnegie Hall. From their earliest days he was also a regular guest of the Galvanized Jazz Band.