Robin Williams’s biographyEven though Robin Williams has long been labeled as a comedian, he emerged in the history of cinema as one of the world’s greatest drama actors. Grown-up, but still innocent Peter Pan; robot in love with his owner; a father who decided to pose as a woman to be closer to his children; elderly owner of a photo developing lab turned psychopath due to loneliness and envy... His characters will forever remain trademarks of high art.
ChildhoodRobin Williams was born on July 21, 1951, in Chicago. His father, Robert, was 45 years old and both for him and his wife Laurie, this was their second marriage. Robert was a senior executive at Ford, and Laurie had long abandoned the modeling business in favor of raising her kids.
Robin was the youngest child, although there were two more kids in the family from their previous marriages. His elder siblings couldn’t care less about Robin. Due to the fact that he was suffering from obesity, he was growing up quite shy and reserved, which is why he often had appointments with the school counselor. As a teenager, he managed to get rid of his extra weight, but the body image issues never stopped haunting him. He was a master when it came to camouflaging his anxiety and shyness, and soon enough he earned the reputation of a humorist in his school.
Carier startDuring the day, Robin was polishing his acting skills at Juilliard, and in the evenings – he was doing stand-up in different New York clubs. His sketches quickly became popular, and the club owners paid him well, hence he was quite pleased with his life at that point. Two years after, his teacher, John Houseman, advised Williams to abandon the life of a restaurant comedian before it erased his acting talent, and move to Hollywood in order to pursue it.
At the end of 1978, Williams was invited to the popular sitcom Mork and Mindy, where he played the role of bumbling alien Mork, who fell in love with a human. The show ran for four years, and this role earned Robin his first Golden Globe.
Best roles. 1988 - 2000In 1988, the actor appeared on Terry Gilliam’s radar, who was then shooting a movie about the affairs of Baron Munchausen. His role as King of the Moon with his floating head fit perfectly into the movie, alongside John Neville, Sarah Polley, as well as young Uma Thurman and Eric Idle.
The role of the literature teacher in Dead Poets Society made the actor rethink his attitude towards himself. If, prior to his movie, he would consider himself a comedian, then, after playing the role of John Keating, he uncovered his potential for drama acting. The movie was extremely successful, but the critic reviews were rather controversial, who were unhappy with the director’s stance on the relentless passing of time and unavoidability of death. Young actors Ethan Hawke, Gale Hansen, and Josh Charles and Lara Flynn Boyle starred in the movie as well.
In The Fisher King, Gilliam gave Robin the role of a homeless man named Parry, saying that he cannot imagine any other actor filling the role. He was right – Robin took the viewers on an emotional rollercoaster with his performance. In the touching fantasy about the friendship of two broken people, which has also received many awards, Jeff Bridges, Amanda Plummer, and Mercedes Ruehl have also made an appearance.
2000s. The peak of fameRobin Williams made an appearance that shocked everybody, including himself – the role of the maniac and writer in Insomnia. The role of the police detective investigating the murder of a schoolgirl was played by Al Pacino, co-starring with Martin Donovan, Hilary Swank, and Jonathan Jackson.
In 2004, the actor starred in the sci-fi thriller The Final Cut. In the future, Robin played the role of a censor editing the memories of his clients. His accidental discovery of a deleted record brings about irreversible consequences. The actor co-starred with Mira Sorvino and Jim Caviezel.
Robin Williams’s personal lifeDuring his time at Juilliard, the actor met model Valerie Velardi, to whom he got married in 1978. 10 years after, they got divorced following Valerie’s initiative, who refused to put up with her husband’s alcoholism and drug abuse. They had a son named Zachary.
DeathOn August 11, 2014, the world was hit by the news of the death of Robin Williams. His body was found with a belt around his neck, and his autopsy confirmed that he had committed suicide. One of the reasons behind the suicide of one of the world’s greatest actors was chronic depression, which arose due to constant overstressing, alcohol and drug abuse, financial issues, as well as early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
In an interview in 2015, the actor’s widow admitted that Robin was well aware of the fact that in the years to come the disease would destroy his brain. He was diagnosed with a rare form of Parkinson’s with Lewy body dementia. Realizing that he’s losing the grip on his mind, Robin couldn’t allow himself to fade gradually and becoming an old helpless mad man.