At "Stand Up for Heroes", a benefit organized by the Bob Woodruff Family Fund to raise money for injured U.S. servicemen (2007)
|Born||Robin McLaurim Williams
July 21, 1951
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Valerie Velardi (1978–1988)
Marsha Garces Williams (1989–2008)
Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy, and later stand up comedy work, Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting. He has also won three Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and three Grammy Awards.
Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois. His mother, Laura (née Smith, 1922–2001), was a former model from New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams (September 10, 1906 – October 18, 1987) was a senior executive at Lincoln-Mercury Motorship in charge of the Midwest area. Williams was raised in the Episcopal Church, though his mother practiced Christian Science. He grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he was a student at the Detroit Country Day School, and Marin County, California, where he attended the public Redwood High School. Williams also attended Claremont McKenna College (then called Claremont Men's College) for four years.
He has two half-brothers: Todd (who died August 14, 2007) and McLaurin.
Williams has described himself as a quiet child whose first imitation was of his grandmother to his mother. He did not overcome his shyness until he became involved with his high-school drama department.
In 1973, Williams was one of only 20 students accepted into the freshman class at the Juilliard School, and one of only two students to be accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program at the school that year, the other being Christopher Reeve. In his dialects class, Williams had no trouble mastering all dialects quickly. WIlliams left Juilliard in 1976.
After appearing in the cast of the short-lived The Richard Pryor Show on NBC, Williams was cast by Garry Marshall as the alien Mork in the hit TV series "Happy Days". As Mork, Williams improvised much of his dialogue and devised plenty of rapid-fire verbal and physical comedy, speaking in a high, nasal voice. Mork's appearance was so popular with viewers that it led to a spin-off hit television sitcom, Mork and Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982. Although playing the same character as in his appearance in Happy Days, the show was set in the present day, in Boulder, Colorado, instead of late '50s in Milwaukee. Mork was an extremely popular character, featured on posters, coloring books, lunchboxes, and other merchandise.
Starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Williams began to reach a wider audience with his standup comedy, including three HBO comedy specials, Off The Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1982), and Robin Williams: Live at the Met (1986). Also in 1986, Williams reached an ever wider audience to exhibit his style at the 58th Academy Awards show; noting the Hollywood writers strike that year he commented that the Hollywood writer... "is the only man in the world that can blow smoke up his own ass." As a result, Williams has never hosted the Academy Awards again.
His standup work has been a consistent thread through his career, as is seen by the success of his one-man show (and subsequent DVD) Robin Williams Live on Broadway (2002). He was voted 13th on Comedy Central's list "100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time" in 2004.
After some encouragement from his friend Whoopi Goldberg, he was set to make a guest appearance in the 1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "A Matter of Time", but he had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict; Matt Frewer took his place as a time-traveling con man, Professor Berlingoff Rasmussen.
Williams also appeared on an episode of the American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Season 3, Episode 9: November 16, 2000). During a game of "Scenes from a Hat", the scene "What Robin Williams is thinking right now" was drawn, and Williams stated "I have a career. What the hell am I doing here?"
Most of Williams' acting career has been in film, although he has given some performances on stage as well (notably as Estragon in a production of Waiting for Godot with Steve Martin). His performance in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) got Williams nominated for an Academy Award. Many of his roles have been comedies tinged with pathos, for example The Birdcage and Mrs. Doubtfire.
His role as the Genie in the animated film Aladdin was instrumental in establishing the importance of star power in voice actor casting. Williams also used his voice talents in Fern Gully, as the holographic Dr. Know in the 2001 feature A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the 2005 animated feature Robots, the 2006 Academy Award winning Happy Feet, and an uncredited vocal performance in 2006's Everyone's Hero. Furthermore, he was the voice of The Timekeeper, a former attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort about a time-traveling robot who encounters Jules Verne and brings him to the future.
Williams has also starred in dramatic films, which got him two subsequent Academy Award nominations: First for playing an English teacher in Dead Poets Society (1989), and later for playing a troubled homeless man in The Fisher King (1991); that same year, he played an adult Peter Pan in the movie Hook. Other acclaimed dramatic films include Awakenings (1990) and What Dreams May Come (1998). In the 2002 dramatic thriller Insomnia, Williams portrays a writer/killer on the run from a sleep-deprived Los Angeles policeman (played by Al Pacino) in rural Alaska. And also in 2002, in the psychological thriller One Hour Photo, Williams played an emotionally disturbed photo development technician who becomes obsessed with a family for whom he has developed pictures for a long time.
In 1998, he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his role as a psychologist in Good Will Hunting. However, by the early 2000s, he was thought by some to be typecast in films such as Patch Adams (1998) and Bicentennial Man (1999) that critics complained were excessively maudlin. In 2006 Williams starred in The Night Listener, a thriller about a radio show host who realizes he has developed a friendship with a child who may or may not exist.
He is known for his improvisational skills and impersonations. His performances frequently involve impromptu humor designed and delivered in rapid-fire succession while on stage. According to the Aladdin DVD commentary, most of his dialogue as the Genie was improvised.
In 2006, he starred in five movies including Man of the Year and was the Surprise Guest at the 2006 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. He appeared on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that aired on January 30, 2006.
At one point, he was in the running to play the Riddler in Batman Forever until director Tim Burton dropped the project. Earlier, Williams had been a strong contender to play the Joker in Batman. He had expressed interest in assuming the role in The Dark Knight, the sequel to 2005's Batman Begins, although the part of the Joker was played by Heath Ledger, who went on to win, posthumously, the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
He was portrayed by Chris Diamantopoulos in the made-for-TV biopic Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Mork & Mindy (2005), documenting the actor's arrival in Hollywood as a struggling comedian.
In gratitude for his success with the Disney/Touchstone film Good Morning, Vietnam, Robin Williams voiced the Genie in the Disney animated film Aladdin for SAG scale pay ($75,000), on condition that his name or image not be used for marketing, and his (supporting) character not take more than 25% of space on advertising artwork, since Toys was scheduled for release one month after Aladdin's debut. The studio went back on the deal on both counts, especially in poster art by having the Genie in 25% of the image, but having other major and supporting characters portrayed considerably smaller. Disney's Hyperion book, Aladdin: The Making Of An Animated Film, listed both of Williams' characters "The Peddler" and "The Genie" ahead of main characters, but was forced to refer to him only as "the actor signed to play the Genie".
Williams and Disney had a bitter falling-out, and as a result Dan Castellaneta voiced the Genie in The Return of Jafar, the Aladdin animated television series, and had recorded his voice for Aladdin and the King of Thieves. When Jeffrey Katzenberg was fired from Disney and replaced by former 20th Century Fox production head Joe Roth (whose last act for Fox was greenlighting Williams' film Mrs. Doubtfire), Roth arranged for a public apology to Williams by Disney. Williams agreed to perform in Hollywood Pictures' Jack, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and even agreed to voice the Genie again for the King Of Thieves sequel (for considerably more than scale), replacing all of Castellaneta's dialogue.
When Williams re-teamed with Doubtfire director Chris Columbus for 1999's Bicentennial Man, Disney asked that the budget be cut by approximately $20 million, and when the film was released on Christmas Day, it flopped at the box office. Williams blamed Disney's marketing and the loss of content the film had suffered due to the budget cuts. As a result, Williams was again on bad terms with Disney, and Castellaneta was once again recruited to replace him as Genie in the Kingdom Hearts video game series and the House of Mouse TV series. The DVD release for Aladdin has no involvement whatsoever from Williams in the bonus materials, although some of his original recording sessions can be seen.
Robin Williams has done a number of stand-up comedy tours since the early 1970s. Some of his most notable tours include An Evening With Robin Williams (1982), Robin Williams: At The Met (1986) and Robin Williams LIVE on Broadway (2002). The latter broke many long held records for a comedy show. In some cases, tickets were sold out within thirty minutes of going on sale.
After a six-year break, in August 2008 Williams announced a brand new 26-city tour titled "Weapons of Self Destruction". He was quoted as saying that this was his last chance to make cracks at the expense of the current Bush Administration, but by the time the show was staged only a few minutes covered that subject. The tour started at the end of September 2009, finishing in New York on December 3, and was the subject of an HBO special on December 8, 2009.
Robin Williams gained a reputation for stealing material from other comics to the extent that David Brenner claims that he confronted Williams personally and threatened him with bodily harm if he heard Williams utter another one of his jokes.
Robin Williams' first marriage was to Valerie Velardi on June 4, 1978, with whom he has one child, Zachary Pym (Zak) (born April 11, 1983). During Williams' first marriage, he was involved in an extramarital relationship with Michelle Tish Carter, a cocktail waitress whom he met in 1984. She sued him in 1986, claiming that he did not tell her he was infected with the herpes simplex virus before he embarked on a sexual relationship with her in the mid-1980s, during which, she said, he transmitted the virus to her. The case was settled out of court.
On April 30, 1989, he married Marsha Garces, his son's nanny who was already several months pregnant with his child. They have two children, Zelda Rae (born July 31, 1989) and Cody Alan (born November 25, 1991). However, in March 2008, Garces filed for divorce from Williams, citing irreconcilable differences.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Williams had an addiction to cocaine; he has since quit. Williams was a close friend and frequent partier alongside John Belushi. He says the death of his friend and the birth of his son prompted him to quit drugs: "Was it a wake-up call? Oh yeah, on a huge level. The grand jury helped too."
On August 9, 2006, Williams checked himself in to a substance-abuse rehabilitation center (located in Newberg, Oregon), later admitting that he was an alcoholic. His publicist delivered the announcement:
"After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams found himself drinking again and has decided to take proactive measures to deal with this for his own well-being and the well-being of his family. He asks that you respect his and his family's privacy during this time. He looks forward to returning to work this fall to support his upcoming film releases."
On August 20, 2007, Williams' elder brother, Robert Todd Williams, died of complications from heart surgery performed a month earlier.
While studying at Juilliard, Williams befriended Christopher Reeve. They had several classes together in which they were the only students, and they remained good friends for the rest of Reeve's life. Williams visited Reeve after the horse riding accident that rendered him a quadriplegic, and cheered him up by pretending to be an eccentric Russian doctor (similar to his role in Nine Months). Williams claimed that he was there to perform a colonoscopy. Reeve stated that he laughed for the first time since the accident and knew that life was going to be okay.
Williams was hospitalized in March 2009 due to heart problems. Williams postponed his one-man tour in order to undergo surgery to replace his aortic valve. The surgery was successfully completed on March 13, 2009, at the Cleveland Clinic.
Williams is an avid enthusiast of games (even naming his daughter after Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda video game series), enjoying pen-and-paper role-playing games and online video games, recently playing Warcraft 3, Day of Defeat, Half-Life, and the first-person shooter Battlefield 2 as a sniper. On January 6, 2006, he performed live at Consumer Electronics Show during Google's keynote. In the 2006 E3, on the invitation of Will Wright, he demonstrated the creature editor of Spore while simultaneously commenting on the creature's look: "This will actually make a platypus look good." He also complimented the game's versatility, comparing it to Populous and Black & White. Later that year, he was one of several celebrities to participate in the Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day.
A fan of professional road cycling, he was a regular on the US Postal and Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team bus and hotels during the years Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France. He owns over 50 bicycles.
Williams and his former wife, Marsha, founded the Windfall Foundation, a philanthropic organization to raise money for many different charities. Williams devotes much of his energy doing work for charities, including the Comic Relief fund-raising efforts. In December 1999, he sang in French on the BBC-inspired music video of international celebrities doing a cover of the Rolling Stones' "It's Only Rock & Roll" for the charity Children's Promise.
|1977||Can I Do It 'Till I Need Glasses?||Himself|
|1982||The World According to Garp||T.S. Garp|
|1983||The Survivors||Donald Quinelle|
|1984||Moscow on the Hudson||Vladimir Ivanov||Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|1986||Seize the Day||Tommy Wilhelm|
|Club Paradise||Jack Moniker|
|The Best of Times||Jack Dundee|
|1987||Good Morning, Vietnam||Adrian Cronauer||Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
|1988||The Adventures of Baron Munchausen||King of the Moon||Credited as Ray D. Tutto|
|Portrait of a White Marriage||Air Conditioning Salesman|
|Rabbit Ears: Pecos Bill||Narrator||Voice|
|1989||Dead Poets Society||John Keating||Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
|I'm from Hollywood||Himself|
|1990||Awakenings||Dr. Malcolm Sayer||Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama|
|Cadillac Man||Joey O'Brien|
|Back to Neverland||Himself|
|1991||Hook||Peter Banning / Peter Pan|
|The Fisher King||Parry||Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
|Dead Again||Doctor Cozy Carlisle|
|"Rabbit Ears: The Fool and the Flying Ship"||Narrator||Voice|
|The Timekeeper||The Timekeeper|
|FernGully: The Last Rainforest||Batty Koda||Voice|
|Shakes the Clown||Mime Class Instructor|
|1993||Mrs. Doubtfire||Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire||Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|1994||In Search of Dr. Seuss||Father|
|1995||Aladdin and the King of Thieves||Genie||Voice|
|To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar||John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt|
|Nine Months||Dr. Kosevich|
|The Secret Agent||The Professor|
|The Birdcage||Armand Goldman||Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|1997||Good Will Hunting||Sean Maguire||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|Flubber||Professor Philip Brainard|
|Deconstructing Harry||Mel/Harry's Character|
|Fathers' Day||Dale Putley|
|1998||Patch Adams||Hunter "Patch" Adams||Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|What Dreams May Come||Chris Nielsen|
|1999||Bicentennial Man||Andrew Martin|
|Jakob the Liar||Jakob Heym/Narrator|
|2001||A.I. Artificial Intelligence||Dr. Know||voice|
|2002||The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch||Hans Hänkie|
|Death to Smoochy||'Rainbow' Randolph Smiley|
|One Hour Photo||Sy Parrish|
|2004||Noel||Charlie Boyd/The Priest|
|House of D||Pappass|
|The Final Cut||Alan W. Hakman|
|2005||The Big White||Paul Barnell|
|2006||Man of the Year||Tom Dobbs|
|Night at the Museum||Theodore Roosevelt|
|Everyone's Hero||Napoleon Cross||(voice)|
|The Night Listener||Gabriel Noone|
|2007||License to Wed||Reverend Frank|
|August Rush||Maxwell "Wizard" Wallace|
|World's Greatest Dad||Lance Clayton|
|Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian||Theodore Roosevelt|
|Old Dogs||Dan Rayburn|
|2010||Wedding Banned||John Fischer||In development|
|2011||Happy Feet 2 in 3D||Ramon/Lovelace||Voice role
|1977||Richard Pryor Show||Himself||Writer
"Man with Bad Arm," "John Brownstein, Defense Attorney/Archeologist/Shopper," "Himself," "Himself/Titanic Survivor/Voice of Gun"
|Eight is Enough||Episode: "The Return of Auntie V"|
|1978||Happy Days||Mork||Episode: My Favorite Orkan|
|America 2-Night||Jason Shine||Episodes: "Jason Shine" and "Olfactory Distosis Telethon"|
|1979–1982||Mork & Mindy||Mork||Appeared in 92 episodes|
|1979||Happy Days||Mork||Episode: "Mork Returns"|
|Out of the Blue||Episode: "Random's Arrival"|
|1981||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Host/Various|
|1982||The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour||Himself||Episode: #1.1|
|Faerie Tale Theatre||Frog/Prince Robin||Episode: "Tale of the Frog Prince"|
|SCTV Network 90||Various||Episode: "Jane Eyrehead"|
|1984||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Host/Various|
|Pryor's Place||Gaby||Episode: "Sax Education"|
|1986||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Host/Various|
|The Max Headroom Show||Himself||Episode: "Max Headroom's Giant Christmas Turkey"|
|1988||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Host/Various|
|1992||The Larry Sanders Show||Himself||Episode: "Hank's Contract"|
|1994||Homicide: Life on the Streets||Robert Ellison||Episode: "Bop Gun"|
|Live & Kicking||Himself|
|The Larry Sanders Show||Himself||Episode: "Montana"|
|Nyhetsmorgon||Himself||Episode: "Filmen 'Mrs. Doubtfire' svensk premiär"|
|In the Wild||Himself||Episode: "In the Wild: Dolphins with Robin Williams"|
|1996||American Masters||Himself||Episode: "Take Two: Mike Nichols and Elaine May"|
|HBO First Look||Himself||Episode: "Fathers Day"|
|1998||Nyhetsmorgon||Himself/Sean Maguire||Episode: "Filmen 'Good Will Hunting"|
|Hollywood Squares||Himself||Guest appearance|
|Noel's House Party||Himself||Episode: #8.10|
|1999||L.A. Doctors||Hugo Kinsley||Episode: "Just Duet"|
|2000||Whose Line Is It Anyways?||Himself||Episodes: #3.4 and #3.9|
|2002||Comedy Central Canned Ham||Himself||Episode: "Death to Smoochy"|
|2003||Player$||Himself||Episodes: "E3 03, Playa;" "Players Halloweenie Televizzie"|
|Freedoom: A History of Us||Josiah Quincy/Ulysses S. Grant/Missouri Farmer/Wilbur Wright/Orville Wright||Episodes: "Wake Up America," "A War to End Slavery," "Liberty for All," and "Safe for Democracy"|
|Life With Bonnie||Kevin Powalski||Episode: "Psychic"|
|2004||This Hour Has 22 Minutes||Himself|
|2005||Just For Laughs||Himself|
|2006||Extreme Makeover: Home Edition||Himself|
|Mind of Mencia||Himself||Episode: "That's F**king Historical"|
|2008||American Idol: The Search for a New Superstar||Ivan "Bob" Poppanoff the "Russian Idol"/Himself||Episodes: "Idol Gives Back" and "Live Results Show: One Contestant Eliminated"|
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Merrit Rook||Episode: "Authority"|
|2009||SpongeBob SquarePants||Himself||Episode: "Truth or Square"|
|TV Land Moguls||Himself||Episode: "The 80s"|
Williams sings a version of "Come Together" with Bobby McFerrin on In My Life, a Beatles tribute album produced by George Martin. He also sings "A Mi Manera (My Way)", on the Happy Feet soundtrack. For the 1993 soundtrack of Mrs. Doubtfire, and the film, he sings a rendition of a fragment of Gioachino Rossini's "Largo al factotum" from The Barber of Seville.
Robin Williams entertaining the crew of USS Enterprise in the Persian Gulf in December 2003
Robin McLaurin Williams|
July 21, 1951
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Valerie Velardi (1978-1988) (1 child)|
Marsha Garces Williams (1989-present) (2 children)
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