I was first introduced to Robin Williams’ work when he portrayed the role of a cross-dressing nanny in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). Despite my tender age at the time, his energy and ability to engage his audience captivated me, and I’ve been a fan ever since. With time, I became more familiar with his versatility as an actor, as seen in Good morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Good Will Hunting (1997) and my all time favourite, What Dreams May Come (1998).
“To watch Robin work, was a magical and special privilege. His performances were unlike anything any of us had ever seen, they came from some spiritual and otherworldly place. He truly was one of the few people who deserved the title of ‘genius.” – Chris Columbus, director of Mrs Doubtfire and Bicentennial Man
Williams started his onscreen acting career in 1978, when he landed a leading role in the hit TV series, Mork & Mindy. The show lasted for four seasons, but by then Robin had already made an impressive and, unknowingly, everlasting mark on the entertainment industry.
His career continued to grow from strength to strength, despite suffering from bipolar disorder and recurring depression and addictions. Williams’ 37-year onscreen acting career saw him star in 81 films, even more TV features, 42 award nominations and 14 wins, including an Academy Award for his role alongside Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting.
“Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal and I can’t believe he’s gone.” – Steven Spielberg, who was a friend of Williams and worked with him on Hook.
Although onscreen acting was Robin’s first passion, he also successfully dabbled in stand-up comedy. He also voiced my of our favourite animation characters, like “Genie” in Aladdin (1992) and “Fender” in Robots (2005). Other ventures included establishing a philanthropic children’s charity, Windfall Foundation, to raise money for multiple charities and sponsoring children’s medical research at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, donating natural disaster relief management and more.
Robin Williams (63) passed away on 11 August 2014, in his birth state of California. He leaves behind three children, his wife, Susan Schneider, and lifetime’s worth of fans.
“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.” – Barack Obama
Alas, despite his lengthy portfolio and a life captured on film, he still has a few projects in post-production phase, which I am sure will be box office hits.
“But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.” – Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society, 1989.