Robin Williams was an American actor and comedian, who was popularly known for his work in movies such as Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society
(1989), Good Will Hunting (1997), Jumanji (1995), Mrs. Doubtfire
(1993) and World`s Greatest Dad (2009).
Williams was called the leader of the San Francisco comedy renaissance and established a prestigious career both in stand-up comedy and film acting. In his four-decade long acting career, the actor earned six Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Emmy Awards and five Grammy Awards.
In 2014, Williams committed suicide at the age of 63 in his home situated in Paradise Cay, California. It was reported that the comedian had died of asphyxiation due to hanging. It was later revealed that he was suffering from Lewy body dementia which had been misdiagnosed as Parkinson`s disease. On August 12th, 2014, Williams` body was cremated and the ashes were scattered in San Francisco Bay.
Robin McLaurin Williams was the son of former model Laurie McLaurin and businessman Robert Fitzgerald Williams. Born on 21st July 1951, Williams and his two elder half-brothers, Robert and McLaurin, were raised in Chicago, Illinois. During his youth, his mother was an important influence on his sense of humor as the actor would try to make her laugh in order to gain attention.
After enrolling at Claremont Men`s College in Claremont, California, he dropped out to study theater at the College of Marin, a community college in Kentfield. His three years of theatre led to a full scholarship to Julliard School in New York City. William`s drama teacher gave him the title of `genius` and advised him to leave Juilliard, a school in New York City, in order to gain practical experience as mainstream training did not suit him.
Williams met his first wife Valerie Velardi while working as a bartender in San Francisco. They married in June 1978 and their son Zachary Pym Williams was born soon after in 1983. However, Williams and Velardi separated in 1988.
The actor next married nanny Marsha Graces on April 30, 1989, who was pregnant at the time. The couple had two children, Zelda Rae Williams born in 1989 and Cody Alan Williams born in 1991. In 2010, Grace and Williams divorced citing irreconcilable differences.
On October 22nd, 2011, Williams married his third wife, graphic designer Susan Schneider in St. Helena, California
Williams began his acting career on the small screen. He starred in the hit television series Mork and Mindy (1978-1982) as the alien Mork, with the comedian improvising his dialogue and speaking in a high-pitched voice. The sitcom is said to have launched Williams` career, turning him into a `superstar`. As a result, he appeared on the cover of the 1978 March edition of The Times Magazine.
Williams also recorded three HBO comedy specials featuring his stand-up comedy titled Off The Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1982) and Robin Williams: Live at the Met (1986). In 2010, he appeared alongside Robert De Niro in a sketch on the late night show Saturday Night Live. In 2013, Williams was cast in the CBS series The Crazy Ones. However, the show was canceled after one season.
Williams began his career on the silver screen with an appearance in the 1980 movie Popeye as the titular character. The film was a commercial disappointment but Williams` acting talent was praised by the media. This was followed by roles in The World According To Garp (1982), The Survivors (1983) and Club Paradise (1986).
His next venture proved to be hugely successful earning Williams a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Starring in Barry Levinson
`s war film Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Williams portrayed Adrian Cronauer, a radio shock jock who entertained the troops with comedy and sarcasm. His entire performance was done without a script, using pure improvisational tactics.
Following the success of Good Morning Vietnam, the actor appeared in a series of films that were exceedingly popular. He received two Academy Award nominations for his performance in Dead Poets Society (1989) and for portraying a homeless man in The Fisher King (1991). Williams was also cast as Peter Pan in the fantasy film Hook
The actor then appeared in Moscow on the Hudson (1984), Awakenings
(1990) and the drama What Dreams May Come (1998). He deviated from the comic genre in order to star alongside Al Pacino
in the action-thriller Insomnia
(2002) and the psychological thriller One Hour Photo (2002)
Williams has starred as a voice actor in various animated films during his career. He performed the role of Genie in Disney`s classic fantasy musical Aladdin
(1992), the actor improvised much of his dialogues featured in the film. The film was a massive success, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1992 and earning Williams a Golden Globe Award. His performance has been credited as the reason animated films began to incorporate actors with more star power for voice acting roles. His other animated films include Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992), Robots (2005), Happy Feet
(2006) and the character of Dr. Know in the live-action film A.I Artificial Intelligence (2001).
The actor next appeared in the thriller The Night Listener
(2006) and Man of the Year (2006). The last movie released during his lifetime was The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014) a film exploring the value of life as Williams` character, a terminally ill man, ponders and redeems the mistakes of his life.
Williams had starred in four movies that were released posthumously, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
(2014), A Merry Friggin Christmas (2014), Boulevard (2014) and Absolutely Anything (2014).
Williams launched his own one-man show in the Broadway theater during July 2002, titled The Robin Williams: Live on Broadway.