Robin Williams is a legendary actor and comedian. He was born as Robin McLaurin Williams on July 21, 1951 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago to Laurie McLaurin and Robert Fitzgerald Williams. He belongs to English, Welsh, Scottish, German, French and Irish lineage and brought up as Episcopalian. Initially, he studied at Gorton Elementary School and later at Deer Path Junior High School in Illinois. Robin is a very quiet and shy type of person until he joined the drama department in high school. At 12, his father was relocated to Detroit. They lived in Bloomfield Hills in Michigan where he studied at Detroit Country Day School. He joined the soccer and wrestling team at school. At 16, William’s father retires from work so they transferred to Tiburon, California. He studied at Redwood High School near Larkspur.
When he graduated from high school, he studied at Claremont Men’s College in California and took up Political Science. Later, he drops out to pursue his acting career. He studied theatre at the College of Marin in Kentfield, California. He was cast in the musical play ‘Oliver!’ and James Dunn, his professor stated that his talent became evident after playing the role of Fagin in the play. In year 1973, he received a full scholarship at the Juilliard School in New York City. He was one of the few students who got the chance to be in the freshman class along with Christopher Reeve who became his classmate and one of the two students that was accepted in the Advanced Program in school. Robin and Christopher developed their friendship and remained friends until 2004 when Christopher had an accident and died.
When he moved to Marin, County, he started his career as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco Bay Arena. He first performed at the Holy City Zoo in San Francisco. He later moved to Los Angeles to continue doing stand-up shows in different clubs. In 1977, he was spotted by George Schlatter, a producer and offered him for a role the sketch up comedy, Laugh-In which became her debut in television. Though the Laugh-In failed, this lead Robin to a better career in television.
Robin received a Grammy Award for his 1979 live show entitled, ‘Reality…What a Concept’. Later, he has done tours like, An evening with Robin Williams, Robin Williams: At The Met and Robin Williams Live on Broadway. He took a hiatus for six years and returned in August 2008 when he broadcasted the Weapons of Self-Destruction, his 26-city tour.
Robin stated that because of the stress that he got in doing his job as a stand-up comedian, he turned to using drugs and alcohol. He also added that he never use drugs or alcohol while performing, only when he has hangover from the prior performances. The actor used cocaine at that time and he said, that thing made him paranoid when on stage.
After the Laugh-In revival and his appearance in The Richard Pryor Show, he was cast as Mork, an alien from Ork in two episodes of the television sitcom, Happy Days. The producer was impressed to his unique sense of humor and his character became popular to the viewers. Later, he was cast in Mork & Mindy opposite Pam Dawber. From 1978 to 1982. The show got a 60-million weekly audience and it was credited to his name. He was starred in three comedy specials from HBO such as, Off The Wall in 1978, An Evening with Robin Williams in 1982 and the Robin Williams: Live at the Met in 1986. He became a regular guest on several talk Shows. He appeared in Late Night with David Letterman for over 50 times. Robin was also in an unscripted cameo in the pilot episode of the 3rd season of the television series, Friends. He was also seen in ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ and later featured in an episode of the police procedural series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2010, he was also seen with
Robert De Niro
in the late-night live sketch comedy show,
Saturday Night Live
. He also appeared as himself in the comedy-drama series, Louie and in the television series, Wilfred. In 2013, he was starred as Simon Roberts in the sitcom, The Crazy Ones but the show was canceled after one season.
He was debuted in the big screen through the low-budget comedy film, Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses. Then in 1980, he was starred in the musical comedy film, Popeye. He acted as T.S. Garp in the 1982 comedy drama film, The World According to Garp. Later, he continued in doing small roles in films like Club Paradise and The Survivors.
His first major break was from the 1987 war comedy film, Good Morning, Vietnam which gained him a nomination at the Academy Award for Best Actor. His portrayal as Dr. Sean Maguire in the drama film, Good Will Hunting opposite Matt Damon earned him a Best Supporting Actor award at the Academy Award and a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globe Award. He played as John Keating, an English teacher in the 1989 drama film, Dead Poets Society where he was nominated few times for Best Actor in a Leading Role category. Robin played as Parry, a homeless man in the 1991 fantasy comedy film, The Fisher King. He also acted as Peter Banning or popularly known as Peter Pan in the fantasy film, Hook on the same year.
Some of his acclaimed dramatic roles came from the movies, Moscow on the Hudson, What Dreams May Come and the Awakenings. In 2002, he bagged the role of a writer and killer in the psychological thriller film, Insomnia. He portrays the role of Seymour ‘Sy’ Parrish, a photo technician who is emotionally disturbed in another psychological thriller film, One Hour Photo.
He played as Henry Altmann in the comedy-drama film, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. The film was his last movie that was released this 2014. He also lent his voice in several animated films including the 1992 film, Aladdin where he voiced the character of the Genie.
Robin Williams’ contribution to the television and film industry will never be forgotten. Almost 106 acting credits are credited to his name from year 1977 to 2015. The brilliant actor dies on August 11, 2014 in California. An autopsy report stated that he died by suicide. Alcohol and drugs were also involved and there are prescription drugs found in his body. A report is also noted that he suffered paranoia. Robin Williams’ was cremated and his ashes were spread in San Francisco Bay.