Mindy Cohn is an American actress, comedian, and voice actress, who is best known for her role as Natalie Green in the sitcom, “The Facts of Life,” and whose voice the fans of the animated franchise, “Scooby-Doo” (2002-2006), would recognize in Velma.
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Early life and family
Mindy Cohn was born Melinda Heather Cohn on 20 May 1966, in Los Angeles, California to Nat and Ina Cohn, a real estate lawyer. She belongs to a Jewish family. No other information is available on her family and growing up years.
She attended Westlake School in Holmby Hills, California. There is no information on where she matriculated from high school. She graduated with a degree in cultural anthropology from Loyola Marymount University in L.A.
Remember cute Mindy Cohn from ’The Facts of Life’? The actress looks so different today, we hardly recognize her! —> http://bit.ly/2k7Y6PS
“The Facts of Life”
Cohn had a great start to her career as she landed the role of Natalie Green in NBC’s television series, “The Facts of Life.” She was only 13 at that time. Apparently, the character actress and comedian, Charlotte Ray Lubotsky, discovered her when Charlotte and the producers of the series went to Westlake School in Holmby Hills to do research for the show. “The Facts of Life” was a spin-off of another television series “Diff’rent Strokes,” where Charlotte Rae was cast as Mrs. Edna Garrett, the first housekeeper of the Drummonds, and who would play the same character but as the housemother at the Eastland School, an all-girls boarding school, in the new series.
Mindy said that Charlotte lobbied for her and asked the producers to create a part for her. It seemed that aside from being ‘hilarious and irrepressible,’ Mindy reminded Charlotte of her best friend, Natalie.
The sitcom first aired on 24 August 1979 and ran for nine seasons (1979-1987) with 201 episodes. It was the lowest-rated NBC series during the first season and was put on hiatus. Extensive changes were made for season 2 which paid off as it received high ratings on its new timeslot, peaking at 27.4 rating in January 1981, making it the fourth highest-rated scripted series on NBC. Then with its third season, it became NBC’s No.2 overall series and its highest-rated comedy series.
It continued its successful run throughout the rest of the seasons. NBC was planning to renew the show for a tenth season but Mindy Cohn and another cast member, Nancy McKeon, decided to leave after the ninth season. With the success of the series, it was also aired in other countries such as Canada, Brazil, and France.
Mindy was also part of the three two-hour movie televisions made, namely “The Facts of Life Goes to Paris” (1982), “The Facts of Life Down Under” (1987), and “The Facts of Life Reunion” (2001).
She appeared as her character, Natalie Green, in two episodes of “Diff’rent Strokes.”
Mindy was also able to play other characters when she guest-starred in an episode or two of other popular television series such as NBC’s “Double Trouble” (1985), and “21 Jump Street” (1987-1988) on Fox Network. Her first feature film was in 1986 in the fantasy comedy-drama, “The Boy Who Could Fly,” but it didn’t fare well at the box office and received a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
After “The Facts of Life,” she continued to appear as a guest in various TV series such as “Charles in Charge” (1988) starring Scott Baio and “Suddenly Susan” (1999) starring Brooke Shields. She was also part of the main cast as Maureen Tucker in NBC’s “The Second Half” (1993-1994) and as Maggie, the cook, in “The Help” (2004) from The WB. However, these two series ran for just one season.
Aside from doing TV films, she also did around 10 feature films from 1986 to 2020 including the dark comedy, “Sex and Death 101,” in 1987 starring Wynona Ryder and Simon Baker; the romantic comedy, “Violet Tendencies,” in 2010; and “A Nice Girl Like You,” in 2020.
In 1999, she was a voice actor in 13 episodes of “The Chimp Channel” (TCC), which was based on the “Monkey-ed Movies,” and featured parodies of popular TV programs, films, advertising, and personalities as well as behind-the-scene antics. The show made use of orangutans and chimpanzees wearing costumes that were voiced by human actors.
Mindy was the voice actor for Candy Yuponce, TCC’s make-up girl. The series received negative reviews from critics and only ran for one season.
“The Kids from Room 402” was her next work as a voice actor. This was a Canadian-American animated series based on the children’s book, “Gracie Graves and the Kids from Room 402.” It was aired in 1999 on the Fox Family Channel in the U.S. and in 2000 on Teletoon in Canada. One of the main characters, Nancy Francis, was voiced by Cohn in 34 out of 52 episodes for two seasons.
Mindy was the voice actor for Velma from the highly popular animated mystery comedy series, “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?” (2002-2006), produced by Warner Bros. Animation for WB Kids.
The story revolves around Scooby-Doo and his companions, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Shaggy Rogers, as they solve mysteries in various locations using modern technology. The series was the modernized version of Hanna-Barbera’s “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” which premiered in 1969. It ran for three seasons with 42 episodes. “Scooby‑Doo! Mystery Incorporated” aired for two seasons (2010-2013) with 52 episodes. There were also 18 Scooby-Doo direct-to-video films and six direct-to-video short films released from 2004 to 2015. Her voice was also featured in five Scooby-Doo video games released from 2004 to 2010.
As a voice actor, she was also in an episode of the animated series “Dexter’s Laboratory” as the librarian and “Kim Possible” as Ms. Whisp both in 2003. Interestingly, she was in “Family Guy” as Natalie Green in 2006; she was in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” as Velma Dinkley in 2011.
Mindy is single at 53 and has no children. There is no news of her dating anybody. She keeps her personal life private. She is currently living in her Beverly Hills home.
Battle with cancer
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. According to an article from People Magazine in 2017, as Mindy was walking around her neighborhood in L.A., she suddenly felt so tired and had to text her friend, Helen Hunt, to come and help her. It was Hunt who first took her to the doctor.
She was biopsied after a scan showed something in her breast and it turned out that she had breast cancer. At first, she opted to do a lumpectomy, but the cancer had metastasized and spread to her lymph nodes and so she took a year off from work and underwent a double radical mastectomy. She also underwent chemotherapy and radiation. She kept her battle with cancer a secret for five years. Mindy stayed with her friends, Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, who are known for their reality show, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” on their 60-acre ranch during this difficult time. She said that it was hard to go through it alone and added, ‘it was bad enough to put my parents through this; I’m glad I didn’t put a partner through it too.’ She was in remission in 2017 and went back to work.
— Mindy Cohn (@MindyCohn) May 26, 2020
Interesting facts and rumors
- Mindy and her acting mentor, Charlotte, maintained their friendship after “The Facts of Life” TV series ended.
- She was ranked 43rd at the VH1’s List of 100 Greatest Kids Stars.
- She received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her work in “What’s New, Scooby-Doo.”
- In 2016, she was one of the contestants in season nine: celebrity edition 2 of “The Worst Cooks in America.”
- She is a strong supporter of the LGBT community.
- Mindy is said to be good friends with the American actor, James Haven, and met Angelina Jolie through him as he was her older brother. She is the godmother of two of Angelina and Brad Pitt’s children and was even reportedly given a diamond ring to thank her. When asked about this, she only had this to say, ‘That story seems to be going around. I just don’t talk about any of that.’
- After surviving cancer, she became a founding member of weSpark Cancer Support Centre and she is on its Board of Directors.
Mindy has a voluptuous figure and is 5ft 1in (1.5m) tall. She has brown hair.
According to sources, Mindy Cohn has an estimated net worth of $1 million.