The late Robin Williams was a star stand-up comedian, actor, producer, writer and VO artist.
The great man of comedy didn’t have true Irish blood but we always appreciate comedy genius. Starting as a stand-up in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, Robin is credited with leading America’s comedy renaissance and influencing most of the anarchic freewheeling comics performing today including the current star crop of Ireland, USA, UK and beyond. Williams went on to establish a career in both stand-up comedy and feature films. He was renowned as a live performer and also had no equal for his improvisational skills.
But beneath it all there was a warm, anxious and vulnerable soul. Plus a brilliant actor.
After his film debut in Popeye (1980), he starred or co-starred in widely acclaimed films, including The World According to Garp (1982), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990), The Fisher King (1991), Aladdin (1992), Good Will Hunting (1997), and One Hour Photo (2002), as well as financial successes, such as Hook (1991), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996), Night at the Museum (2006), and World’s Greatest Dad (2009). What a screen legacy! But parents & Kids also enjoyed his huge talent.
Robin Williams forever changed animated comedy. His Genie (in Disney’s 1992 Aladdin) was a tour-de-force performance by Williams (and visually by animator Eric Goldberg) but it was an important landmark in two ways. First – it was the first to break the structured script-driven vocal performance (compare it to Williams earlier V.O. in Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest). Allowed as the Genie to break free and improvise upon the written dialogue, Williams created a character that will live forever.
It also began a practice that continues today – to allow the actors to go off script during the recording sessions – a practice that has enhanced animated VO performances ever since.
Williams also brought star power to the animated film.Oh there were Hollywood movie stars in past animated features (Judy Garland in Gay Purr-ree; Bette Milder in Oliver and Company, et al) but people came out to hear Robin Williams as the Genie. What a comedy star!
Williams won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting. He also received two Emmy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards throughout his career.
On August 11 2014, aged only 63, Robin Williams passed away. May he rest in peace!
Grin & Vintage = vintage / classic comedy. Grintage was set up for people like Robin Williams. We all shared a tear at his sudden passing.
QUIZ? Test your Robin Williams knowledge – which character did he play: