The world is never going to be the same again after the loss of one of the most beloved comedians and actors of our generation who sadly took his own life just the other week.
With his unforgettable characters such as Aladdin’s Genie, Mrs. Doubtfire and Mork. The legend that is Robin Williams will always be in our hearts.
Born Robin McLaurin Williams on 21 July 1951 in Chicago, Williams started his career in the early 1970’s as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco. In 1977 he was noticed by TV producer George Schlatter who asked him to appear on a revival of his Laugh-In show. The show aired in late 1977 and became Williams debut TV appearance.
After the Laugh-In revival, Williams was then cast by Garry Marshall as the alien ‘Mork’ in a 1978 episode of the hit TV series Happy Days. After impressing the producer with his quirky sense of humor when he sat on his head when asked to take a seat for the audition. As Mork, Williams improvised much of his dialogue and physical comedy, speaking in a high, nasal voice. Mork’s appearance was so popular with viewers that it led to a spin-off hit television sitcom, Mork & Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982.
Movies and Theatre
Willliams has 106 acting credits and although Williams first film appearance was in the 1977 low-budget comedy Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses? His first Major film role was in Popeye in 1980.
His film career included acclaimed work such as Popeye (1980), The World According to Garp (1982), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990), The Fisher King (1991), and Good Will Hunting (1997), as well as financial successes such as Hook (1991), Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996), Night at the Museum (2006), and Happy Feet (2006). He also appeared in the music video for Bobby McFerrin’s song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.
Williams was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as therapist Dr. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting. He received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards.
Williams also appeared on stage in Waiting for Godot in 1988 and Bengal Tiger at the Bagdhad Zoo in 2011.
Williams won a Grammy Award for the recording of his 1979 live show at the Copacabana in New York, “Reality…What a Concept”. Some of his later tours, after he became a TV and film star, include An Evening With Robin Williams (1982), Robin Williams: At The Met (1986), Robin Williams Live on Broadway (2002), Weapons of Self-Destruction (2008).
In his early career Williams was a cocaine addict, but after the sudden death of friend John Belushi, and with the birth of his first son Zak, he was prompted to quit drugs and alcohol.
Williams was a video games enthusiast and named two of his children after game characters. He named his daughter after Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda,and at one time they were both featured in an ad for Nintendo. It is rumoured that his son Cody is name after a character out of Capcom’s Final Fight.
Robins was a keen road cyclists and was a huge supporter of the now disgraced Lance Armstrong.
In 1986, he teamed up with Whoopie Goldberg and Billy Crystal to found Comic Relief USA, an annual HBO television benefit devoted to the homeless, which has raised $80 million as of 2014.
On August 11, 2014, Williams died of an apparent suicide at his home in Paradise Cay, California.
Here are some touching artistic tributes and memoriable quotes…
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
“Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose.”
“If it’s the Psychic Network why do they need a phone number?”
“Death is nature’s way of saying, “Your table is ready”
“I started doing comedy because that was the only stage that I could find. It was the pure idea of being on stage. That was the only thing that interested me, along with learning the craft and working, and just being in productions with people.”
“Comedy is acting out optimism.”
“Reality . . . what a concept”
“My battles with addiction definitely shaped how I am now. They really made me deeply appreciate human contact. And the value of friends and family, how precious that is”
“Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money”
“People think they know you. They expect you to be literally like you are on TV or in the movies, bouncing off the walls. A woman in an airport once said to me, “Be zany!” People always want zany, goofy sh-t from me. It takes a lot of energy to do that. If you do that all the time, you’ll burn out”
“When I’m awake, I don’t want to go to sleep. I don’t want the hassle of turning the light off, putting my head down and then all the thoughts. I don’t want all those thoughts”
“Ah, yes, divorce… from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet”
“Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?”
Mrs Doubtfire: “He was quite fond of the drink. It was the drink that killed him.”
Miranda: “How awful. He was an alcoholic?”
Mrs Doubtfire: “No, he was hit by a Guinness truck.”
“A woman would never make a nuclear bomb. They would never make a weapon that kills. They’d make a weapon that makes you feel bad for a while'”
“Do you think Adam said to Eve, “Back up, I don’t know how big this gets”
“I went to rehab in wine country, just to keep my options open”
“People ask why I do children’s comedies. I’m happy being a Robert de Niro for nine-year-olds”
Williams’s publicist Mara Buxbaum commented that the actor was suffering from severe depression prior to his death. Williams’s wife Susan stated that in the period before his death, he had been sober but was diagnosed with early stage Parkinson’s disease which was something he was “not yet ready to share publicly”