Robin Williams was an American actor, voice actor, and stand-up comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork & Mindy (1978-1982), Williams went on to establish a successful career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting. His film career included such acclaimed films as 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 Popeye (1980), Hook (1991), Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996), Night at the Museum (2006), and Happy Feet (2006).
Williams began his career on the short-lived NBC series the Richard Pryor Show before he was cast by Garry Marshall to portray the alien Mork in the hit TV series Happy Days. Mork’s appearance became so popular that it led to the spin-off hit Mork and Mindy in which he costarred with Pam Dawber. Robin Williams would begin to reach a wider audience with his stand-up including three HBO comedy specials, Off the Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1982) and Robin Williams: Live at the Met (1986). He also hosted HBO’s Comedy Relief along with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. Robin would later appear with Billy Crystal in the first episode of the third season of Friends and appear in the American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Robin Williams will be best remembered by the 90’s kids a Genie in Disney’s Aladdin. A bitter falling out between Williams and Disney led to Dan Castellaneta (voice of Homer Simpson) taking over the role for The Return of Jafar and the Aladdin animated series. After a public apology from Disney, Williams assumed the role for the third film Aladdin and the King of Thieves but not without an increase in pay. Little known fact, Robin put in a bid for the role of the Riddler in Batman Forever until director Tim Burton left the project. And he was a strong contender for the Joker in the Dark Knight before Heath Ledger got the role.
Williams other film roles include Fern Gully (1992), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Robots (2005), Happy Feet and its sequel (2006 and 2011 respectively) and Patch Adams (1998). Robin Williams returned to television in the CBS series The Crazy Ones with Sarah Michelle Gellar portraying his character Simon Roberts’ daughter. The series premiered Thursday, September 26, 2013 and ended on April 17, 2014. The show was canceled on May 10, 2014.
Robin Williams was married three times. He married his first wife Valerie Velardi in 1978 and divorced in 1988 after Williams had an affair with a cocktail waitress. One year later, he married his son Zachary Pym’s nanny Marsha Garces. They had two children, Zelda Rae and Cody Alan. Garces filed for divorce in 2008, citing irreconcilable differences. Williams married his third wife Susan Schnieder in 2011. Williams was an avid enthusiast of video games, even naming two of his children after game characters. He named his daughter after Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda action-adventure game series. They both have even been featured in an ad for the Nintendo 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. On this note, his son may have been named after Cody from the beat ’em up game Final Fight. He also enjoys pen-and-paper role-playing games and online video games, recently playing Warcraft 3, Day of Defeat, Half-Life, and the first-person shooter Battlefield 2 as a sniper. He was also previously a fan of the Wizardry series of role-playing video games.
Robin Williams was seen by his fans as a funny, eccentric, manic comedian who won the world over with his unique humor. No one would suspect him as a troubled man. In the late70’s and early 80’s, he was addicted to cocaine until the death of friend and fellow comedian John Belushi and the birth of his Zak. After 20 years of sobriety, Williams found himself drinking again and checked himself into rehab in 2006. Williams was found unconscious in his home in unincorporated Tiburon, California, at around 11:55 a.m. PDT on August 11, 2014. The Marin County Coroner Division suspects the death to be suicide by asphyxia, pending investigation. A forensic examination and postliminary toxicology test is scheduled for August 12, 2014. According to his publicist, Williams was “battling severe depression” in the time before his death, though his publicist would not confirm the reports that the death was suicide.
Williams’ wife said, “I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken.”
So are we.