Laughter was Robin Williams’ best prescription for the world as the actor was not just a movie star on the big screen, but also a comedian that everyone came to know and love. He came into our lives, saw what the world needed, and conquered us with his jokes and hilarious voice-acting. He was more than just a famous face in Hollywood. He was a family man; a loving husband, a doting dad, and a friend to everyone who knew him. He achieved so much but he left the world too soon.
Robin Williams’s Incredible Career and Personal History
Robin Williams and his daughter Zelda Williams. Photo by The Australian
Date and Place of Birth: July 21, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois
Williams was born to a wealthy family in Chicago. In 1968, he moved to San Francisco with his parents when he was a teenager. Williams kickstarted his career in the world of comedy as a stand-up comedian and eventually became one of America’s leading performers after completing his enrolment at the Juilliard School in New York City. There, he became friends and roommates with fellow actor Christopher Reeve. Williams worked hard at his career and allowed his reputation to grow by word-of-mouth among comedy experts. With the influence of Richard Pryor and Jonathan Winters, Williams excelled, remembering everything he had seen on television when he was a child and fed it to his audience in short bursts.
But his fame did not come from comedy alone. His portfolio also included a wide range of funny movies, serious films, and voice-acting for several animation and cartoons. He played an alien character called Mork in a widely known TV series Mork and Mindy. In 1980, Williams made his debut on the big screen in a lead role as the famous spinach-eating sailor in Popeye. A string of successful movies followed and showcased his stellar comedic talents and his ability to take on serious work. Below are some of his famous movies that we are familiar with: ‘Hook‘ (1991), ‘Aladdin – as the voice of the genie‘ (1992), ‘Mrs Doubtfire‘ (1993), ‘Jumanji‘ (1995), ‘Flubber‘ (1997), ‘Good Will Hunting‘ (1997), ‘Patch Adams‘ (1998), ‘Bicentennial Man‘ (1999), ‘A.I.: Artificial Intelligence – as the voice of Dr. Know‘ (2001), ‘Robots – as the voice of Fender‘ (2005), ‘Night at the Museum, and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian – as Teddy Roosevelt‘ (2006), ‘RV‘ (2006), and ‘Happy Feet, and Happy Feet 2 – as the voice for Ramon/Lovelace‘ (2006).
Despite a shining career, Williams suffered from a number of setbacks, mostly in his personal life. He developed a drug and alcohol addiction and struggled with it for more than two decades. He also became involved in several tumultuous romantic relationships. While being married to actress Valerie Velardi who bore him a son called Zachary, he was seeing other women. Williams and Velardi divorced in 1988 and married his son’s nanny, Marsha Garces the following year, with whom he had daughter Zelda and son Cody. In 2006, Williams suffered a drug relapse and checked himself into rehab in August. Health problems derailed the comedian in 2009, occasionally causing the actor to have a shortness of breath which led to a string of cancelled performances and resulted in a heart surgery.
For many years, Williams continued with his acting career and stand-up comedy acts. For many years, he battled severe depression and struggled with his drug and alcohol addiction. Suddenly as if by fate, his problems went away. On August 11, 2014, the 63-year-old actor-comedian was found dead in his California home. A press release issued on August 12 stated that the preliminary results of the forensic examination revealed that Mr. Williams ended his life by hanging himself. A pocket knife was discovered at the scene and several cuts were found on his left wrist. Williams’ current wife Susan Schneider disclosed in her statement that her husband had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a disorder that affects the nervous system that progresses over time and affects an individual’s speech and movement.
So let’s take a minute of silence to remember the man who brought us so much joy and laughter every time we watched his movies. Let’s remember the man as the happy-go-lucky actor with a wicked sense of humour. Let’s put him in our memories his greatest legacy, his three wonderful children, and the happiness he offered to others through his movies and particularly to those with similar personal struggles and health battles.