Actor, Comedian, Humanitarian, Disney Legend, Robin Williams was adored by millions for his many talents. Originally a stand-up comedian, Williams quickly rose to fame as alien oddball Mork (from Ork) on TV’s “Happy Days” and later spinning off into his own show “Mork and Mindy”. Williams immediately impressed producer Garry Marshall at his initial audition to play the character when he was asked to have a seat and then sat on his head in a chair. This pretty much secured the role for him when Marshall commented later that “he was the only alien who auditioned for the role.” Throughout the years, Williams continued to branch out as an actor, making the jump to the big screen with “Popeye”.
While most won’t remember him, or give him praise for the role, I do remember watching it as a kid and thinking it was funny. Needless to say, I haven’t gone back to it in my adult years but plan to (in remembering Robin) so we’ll see how it holds up.
While his acting career was filled with ups and downs, there are roles that he will never be forgotten for…
1. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
As Armed Forces broadcaster Adrian Cronauer, Williams had a lasting and memorable impact on moviegoers with his antics, impressions and penchant for rule-breaking. It’s a good flick when you need some upbeat crazy comedy.
2. Dead Poets Society (1989)
This was a departure from Robin’s normal, comedic delivery and proved that he could make it as an actor in a serious role. Although he didn’t win, Williams was up for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance. Oh Captain. my Captain!
3. Hook (1991)
Robin’s portrayal of Peter Banning had a great mix of drama, comedy and managed to capture that childlike innocence as he progressed (or regressed) to being Peter Pan. Fun fact – Robin’s chest was so hairy that he had to have it shaved to play the role of Peter Pan.
4. FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
Robin’s first outing with cartoon voice-overs. Robin’s comic insanity was a perfect casting choice for the short circuited (and possibly brain damaged) Batty Koda. While it wasn’t a smash hit, I do recall seeing it in theaters when it opened and have a DVD copy in my collection.
5. Aladdin (1992)
His second, and possibly most famous, cartoon voiceover. There simply could be no one else who could play Genie. Robin shined in his performance and ad-libbed quite a bit while making the character of the Genie come to life.
To Robin’s family and close friends, my heart goes out to you for your loss.
Robin was an amazingly gifted and funny individual and I’m glad for all the lives he touched during his time with us.
As many of you may know by now, Robin struggled with depression. If you, or someone you know is struggling with depression please make sure you seek out help.
If you want to do something nice in Robin’s memory please give a donation to either of the two following organizations: