Melinda “Mindy” Heather Cohn is an American actress and comedian. She is known for her role as Natalie Green in The Facts of Life, and also for being the current voice of Velma Dinkley in the Scooby-Doo franchise, which she has held since 2002.
Cohn was born in Los Angeles, California. She was discovered by actress Charlotte Rae when Rae and other producers of The Facts of Life visited Westlake School in Bel Air, California, while doing research for the show. Cohn was cast in the role of Natalie and portrayed the character for the entire run of the series, from 1979 to 1988, as well in the reunion movie of 2001. The impact of her work on The Facts of Life was honored when she was ranked 43 on VH1’s List of 100 Greatest Kids Stars.
Cohn has continued with her acting career outside of The Facts of Life. In 1984 she had a leading role as the daughter alongside Stockard Channing in RKO’s video production of “Table Settings”. In 1986, she appeared in The Boy Who Could Fly playing the part of ‘Geneva’. She also had guest appearances in other popular TV shows such as in Charles In Charge in the episode “Bottle Baby” playing Buddy’s sister Bunny, a young alcoholic, in 1988, as well as two guest appearances in the second season of the cop drama 21 Jump Street, in the episodes “Christmas In Saigon” in 1987 and “Chapel of Love” in 1988 playing Rosa.
In 2003 she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her work on the TV show What’s New Scooby Doo?, for which she provided the voice of Velma Dinkley. She reprised her role of Velma on Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated along with several Scooby Doo movies.
Tamlyn Tomita made her screen debut as Kumiko in “The Karate Kid, Part II” with Ralph Macchio and Pat “Noriyuki” Morita and has since appeared in numerous feature films, television and theatre projects. She is perhaps known for her roles as Waverly in Wayne Wang’s “The Joy Luck Club” and as Kana, a Hawaii plantation worker in the early 1900’s in Kayo Hatta’s “Picture Bride”, and starred opposite Dennis Quaid in Alan Parker’s “Come See the Paradise”, a film exploring the lives of a Japanese-American family and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Tamlyn will be appearing in “Tekken” and “The Mikado Project” and recently appeared in “Two Sisters” opposite Yun Jin Kim and directed by Margaret Cho. Her list of film credits include Roland Emmerich’s “The Day After Tomorrow”; Greg Pak’s indie fave “Robot Stories”; Robert Rodriguez’s “Four Rooms” opposite Antonio Banderas; Richard La Gravenese’s “Living Out Loud” opposite Holly Hunter; Lane Nishikawa’s “Only the Brave” and the Brazilian-Japanese film “Gaijin 2 – Ama me Como Sou” directed by Tizuka Yamasaki.
On television, Tamlyn is in recurring roles on “Law and Order: Los Angeles” and “Chicago Code” and had recurring roles on “JAG” and “24”. Other credits include: “Memphis Beat”, “Private Practice”, “CSI: Miami”, “Criminal Minds”, “The Mentalist”; “Monk”; “Heroes”; “Saving Grace”; “Women’s Murder Club”; “General Hospital”; “Eureka”; “Pandemic”; “Twenty Good Years”; “ Supreme Courtships”; “Commander in Chief”; “Stargate: SG-1”; “Stargate: Atlantis”; “Jane Doe”; “Strong Medicine”; “Walking Shadow- Spenser For Hire”, “North Shore”; “Threat Matrix”; “The Agency”; “For the People”; “The Shield”; “Providence”; “Crossing Jordan”; “Will and Grace”; “Freaky Links”; “Nash Bridges”; “Seven Days”; “The Michael Richards Show”; “Chicago Hope”; “Sisters”; “Quantum Leap”; “Babylon 5”; “Living Single”; and “Vanishing Son”.
She was a cast member of the series “The Burning Zone” and “Santa Barbara” and also appeared in PBS’s “Storytime” and “Hiroshima Maiden”; and “To Heal a Nation” and “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes”.
Tamlyn has also appeared in several stage productions including the world premiere of Chay Yew’s “A Distant Shore” (Kirk Douglas Theatre); “Question 27, Question 28” (East West Players/ Japanese American National Museum); “The Square” (Mark Taper Forum’s Taper, Too); “Summer Moon” (A Contemporary Theatre) and (South Coast Repertory); Philip Kan Gotanda’s “Day Standing on its Head” (Manhattan Theatre Club); “Nagasaki Dust” (Philadelphia Theatre Company); “Don Juan: A Meditation” (Mark Taper Forum’s Taper, Too) and “Winter Crane” (Fountain Theatre) for which she received a Drama-Logue Award.
Keeping herself busy in an industry that has been slow to receive actors of an ethnic demographic, Tamlyn is selective in the roles she chooses, steering away from images that perpetuate stereotypes. She is always searching for ways to create or balance images and stories about Asian Americans and to explore with others in and outside the film and television industry on issues she is concerned about. Having worked on a variety of Asian American projects such as “Starlight Inn”, “The Charles Kim Show”, “My Life…Disoriented”; “Day of Independence”; “Hundred Percent”; “Life Tastes Good”; “Four Fingers of the Dragon”; “Soundman”; “Requiem” and “Notes on a Scale”, Tamlyn proudly supports Asian American filmmakers and artists in the pursuit of giving the world a gallery of portraits from a golden perspective.
A resident of Los Angeles, she is always ready to lend her support to community events and organizations, and keeps her life simple, focusing on love, work and family.