He Made Us Laugh And He Made Us Cry
A Great Star Fell From The Sky
Robin Williams Was A Talent For The Ages
Born to affluence and the lure of excess luxury, shallow pleasures and mindless materialism, Robin Williams shunned all of that and instead reached out for the life of a great original artist. For such a person it is insufficient to list and enumerate his many talents or the breath of his achievements however many and varied they were, as the man rose nobly above and beyond such measures. First and foremost Robin, the moniker many prefer to use, was a warm, friendly and most engaging spirit of a person. In addition, his big heart went everywhere and everywhere he found people and projects that drew his attention, his time, his resources and his special gifts. Robin Williams will be remembered as a very exceptional and very human person, truly one of a kind.
Here on this memorial site for Robin Williams we have assembled in memorium a purposely nonlinear collection of the bits and pieces of the great man’s life and career. Via the remembrances, stories, highlights and photos we have selected we hope you may get a better sense of who and what he was and and wished to be. As with all of the celebrity personal legacy sites on this website, this is not intended as a biographical sketch, or a history, or a timetable or a list of achievements and the like. Instead, it is intended to be a vivid impressionist portrayal of the person he was. As such, we sought to represent him as the gifted passionate performance artist he was, displayed in some of his varied colors. Many other characterizations of Robin are possible, some better than this one we presume, so all we are offering is one view within the pantheon of the life achievements of this wonderful man.
- Robin Williams, super comic, and Christopher Reeves, superman, were chosen by John Houseman’s for his Advanced Program for actors at Julliard in New York. They were a special pair of contrasting talents who became the best of friends. What a moment in time for young superstars-to-be and what a gift and surprise to come for the rest of us. In time Mr. Houseman realized that he had to pre-release Robin to the world as a finished project, a gifted genius who was now beyond the pedagogy of his master, at twenty two.
- Robin came to his great fame and celebrity from an unexpected setting as the son of a gifted mother and a corporate boss of Ford Motors. He grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where wealth and prestige are common and children tend to behave a bit more entitled than normal. Robin Williams was never like that, he was always at one with most everyone he met.
- When the family moved to Tiburon, California, Robin Williams then sixteen joined the Bay Area of California community that was to be his home for the rest of his days. This was to be significant as the late nineteen fifties soon morphed into the revolutionary, socially turbulent, days of the sixties and seventies and the hippie revolution, new music and drug scene that was based in Berkeley and San Francisco.
- Claremont College could not hold his interest for very long so he moved on to the Marin Community College which suited his growing interest in acting. When the world famous Julliard School in NY offered him a full scholarship he was off to the races and the big time. There his talent for voices, faces and spontaneity and superior acting potential go noticed and nurtured.
- Back in the Bay Area in his mid twenties. robin worked the local club circuit with his evolving comedy routine and soon began to get noticed. As LA was the real scene for standup comedian shows, at the likes of the LA Improv club, he moved to LA where he was to display his talents to growing acclaim. It was a hard gig, but he did love it so.
- LA was where Robin got to meet and join up with the likes of Jonathan Winters his greatest comedic mentor. There he could hone his craft by learning from the work of Jay Leno, Lenny Bruce and many others who were at the top of their games.
- After a few modest attempts at TV, Robin got his big break at the Mork & Mindy TV comedy show, where he played the wacky from outer space character Mork. This was a perfect stage for Robin to display his varied comedic talents and he made the most of it. It soon became a hit, and so did he.
- Life in LA was exciting for Robin in those days. There he got to meet a lot of interesting people including Valerie Velardi whom he married and with whom he helped to raise their son Zack. They were together as a family for some ten very important years in Robin’s life.
- Robin made appearances on the Johnny Carson show in those days and was a favorite with David Letterman as well, where he appeared for many years. All the while he performed his standup comedy routine at the Comedy Club in LA and elsewhere.
- Robin Williams always saw himself as an actor and so he had an eye for Hollywood and the movie business right from the start. Comedy was his second love and his adopted career, but to his mind he was always an actor – and there his future ambition lay.
- The movie Popeye was Robin Williams’ first major staring role in a Hollywood movie. He was brilliant as Popeye and showed a great combination of movie acting skill along with the sort of personality that suggested much future success in the movie biz. While not a Hollywood star, Robin had become a member of the club.
- A high school wrestler and soccer player, Robin always had an interest in sports and physical activity. Indeed it played an important part in keeping him on track during these very busy, pressure filled days with bicycling his new passion.
- In Hollywood he got to meet and work with quite a few important movie stars and befriended many of them including: Steve Martin, Whoopy Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Woody Allen and many others.
- Billy Crystal became one of his lifelong special friends. One year Billy and Robin co-hosted the Oscar Awards and they did a bang up job of it. Christopher Reeves was also very close to Robin starting way back in NY. In later years when Reeves was crippled in a horse jumping accident Robin would be there for comfort and support.
- As one example of his lifelong involvement with charity and good works, Robin Williams along with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg founded Comic Relief USA which over time raised a great deal of money for homeless people in America. They were a real dynamic trio of unvarnished unbridled comedic mischief.
- Good Morning Vietnam was a great stage for Robin to display his extraordinary acting and comedic talents. Many would feel that no one else in Hollywood could possibly have played that role with all the dynamism and verve that he displayed scene after scene. It was a tour de force by Robin Williams and we all loved it.
- In the movie The Dead Poets Society Robin got to play an engrossing thoughtful intellectual prep school teacher, a serious non comedy role. He was amazing in the movie as a perfect mentor for impressionable young men at the school . In this film he showed the props promised so long ago back at Julliard in NY.
- As an affair of the heart Robin married Marsha Garces, once the nanny of his son Zack. With her he fathered and helped raise their daughter Zelda son Cody. They lived as a close family for some twenty years. He was very proud of his children and had great hopes for them.
- Good Will Hunting the movie was another acting showcase for Robin Williams. There many movie goers got to appreciate the depth of talent Robin brought to the screen as he played a psychologist across from Matt Damon’s main character. For his outstanding performance he earned an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor.
- Now an established superstar Robin remained very active in the world of affairs as well as Hollywood, TV and the touring standup comedy. His talents were in full bloom as a man in his late thirties and early forties and he applied himself energetically to the task.
- Over the coming years he would earn many awards and commendations including an Oscar, Emmys, Golden Globes, Screen Actor Guild Awards and others. None of this recognition changed Robin Williams one bit or went to his head. He was from the start to the end the very natural, very human, very vulnerable, very caring person person that we all knew him to be.
- Robin loved sports, especially wrestling when he was young and baseball as a passion all his life. He and his friends would go to San Francisco Giants games and laugh it up – especially with his great buddy Billy Crystal, another true blue sports nut..
- Scores of roles in films followed Popeye and he was simply great in most of them. In Mrs. Doubtfire he showed a scope and breath of acting skill seldom seen before. In Night At The Museum one could almost imagine Teddy Roosevelt on his way to the battle of San Juan Hill. Robin never ceased to amaze us.
- The high level of dynamism and energy that Robin Williams brought with him wherever he went was astounding, even to those who knew him well. His skill at improvisation would in time come to rival his mentor and friend the great comedian Jonathan Winters. When his energy was combined with improvisation you had something truly wonderful and surprising to one and all.
- As he performed and starred in so many films, Robin had the good fortune to work with and come to greatly admire many of the great film directors of his day, especially Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen. As a student of film he recognized the great contribution made by the director in any film of note.
- Robin had an amazing skill at doing voices and impersonations which he displayed early on at Julliard in NY. Consequently he was greatly in demand to create voices for animated movies such as Aladdin. Just one more side of a multi-sided career.
- When Lewy body dementia became apparent to him with all of its varied and distressing symptoms, similar to Parkinson’s at times and Alzheimer at other times, the end had arrived for the great man and he knew it. So he left the stage with courage and dignity.
- To say that such a person walked among us is to pay homage to the high water mark of life and craft he set for the rest of us to follow. We were entertained, enthralled and enriched by his performances and also by his presence as a human being. He was revered in life and now he is missed.