Any time a person who has had so much impact on so many people’s lives passes away, it is understandably hard to comprehend. Robin Williams was one of these people. He used his talents to become much more than just a comedian. He was an entertainer. As tribute to all of the great accomplishments in his career, we’ve decided to share our favorite memories. Feel free to join us by adding your own.
I was pretty young when Robin Williams first rose to stardom as Mork from Ork, but I was a dedicated fan. I bought a pair of official Mork suspenders and wore them all the time. For my birthday in 1980 I was given my birthday wish as a gift: the Talking Mork from Ork doll. He came with a backpack that delivered corny lines in his voice, including “Shazbot,” Nano-Nano,” and my favorite, “Never go to Pluto: it’s a Mickey Mouse planet.” I even bought the Mork action figure, that came in his own “egg spaceship.” Needless to say, I was a rabid Mork fan.
Though critics hated it, and with good reason, I always loved Robert Altman’s Popeye. Williams is perhaps the only actor alive who could have done the character justice, and he brought a ray of light into what was otherwise a dour musical. Most may focus on his more popular, critically acclaimed roles in Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, and Mrs. Doubtfire, but for me, it is those early roles as Mork and Popeye that I cherish the most. Thanks for the laughs, Robin.
I think the first time I was introduced to Robin Williams was in Mrs. Doubtfire. I just remember how hilarious and charismatic he was. He instantly became my absolute favorite actor. I had to watch everything he made afterward from Aladdin to Jack to Hook to Birdcage to RV to Good Will Hunting, etc. Point is, I can watch anything that man is in.
He was the reason I decided to get into comedic writing/acting. I honed my comedy style by watching the likes of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey. Such quick, funny, goofy styles with the range to go dramatic at a whim. It is really sad to see a man that I idolized, growing up, pass away far earlier than his time. However, while it is shocking and disheartening to see our idols pass, we can choose to celebrate their life and all of their accomplishments by remembering and watching the art that they made. I choose to do the same for Robin Williams. Instead of being bummed, I choose to go home and binge watch all my favorite Robin Williams movies. Farewell Mork, Genie, Mrs. Doubtfire, Patch, Jack, Peter, Robin may you be just as random on the other side, as you were here.
Finding out about the death of Robin Williams was devastating. I am still in shock. The thing is, you don’t have to have an interpersonal relationship with a person to understand that person.
My fondest memories of Robin Williams started when I was about six. Popeye, the self titled movie, had already been out of theater for five years and was playing on cable or local TV. My parents had recorded it to VHS, and I discovered it on the shelf along with other classics like the original Parent Trap, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, and The Cat from Outer Space. At the time I did not know it was Robin Williams. However, I was familiar with the comic strip so I watched, and watched, and watched. He IS Popeye. Always was and always will be. Then came the Mork and Mindy reruns on Nick at Nite. Watching his performance of an egg-hatched alien on Earth was priceless. He has been and always shall be my favorite actor.
I can honestly say that Celebrity deaths don’t normally affect me. The last time I felt truly impacted by a death was with Roger Ebert (because of the influence he had on me and what I do as a writer) and Ray Harryhausen (his movies and VFX work is what got me interested in filmmaking). When I heard the news about Robin Williams, I was shocked by how upset I was.
The man’s films had been a large part of my childhood. Aladdin, Ms. Doubtfire, and Hook were all films I watched time and time again as a kid, and still continue to enjoy. His more serious films were equally good and showed the truth depth of his abilities as an actor. His passion showed through in everything he did, and while he was sometimes over the top, he always could make us laugh.
I’ll never forget the way Robin Williams was able to make me laugh, cry, and bring out more emotions from me than most films ever get close to doing. I hate to hear about his struggles and that he took his own life. Depression is a very real illness and I urge everyone to get help if they need it. It’s not a bad thing to do and no one should judge you for it.
While I will always remember Robin Williams for his most famous roles (Aladdin, Flubber), my favorite performances from him are in smaller roles. One that comes to mind is as the Moon King in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. He was wonderfully wacky and completely out-of-his mind. A perfect traditional Robin Williams role if there ever was one. Another unforgettable performance that comes to mind is his role in The Birdcage opposite Nathan Lane. Like in Mrs. Doubtfire, his ability to act like he is pretending to be someone else was very convincing. I can’t think of any other actors who seemed so comfortable with roles where things got out of control very quickly. He became the anchor of those films, both entertaining the audience but keeping the plot moving.
Speaking of moving, let’s not forget William’s formidable resume as a dramatic actor. Films like Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, and even What Dreams May Come showed us that he didn’t just have to make us laugh in order to merit screentime. More importantly, he fit well into those roles and audiences could really feel the emotion that he poured into them. He opened himself up in ways that few other actors ever do, let alone comedians. It was his ability to express himself so openly that allowed us to see both the happy and the sad. When he took us to darker places, such as in Insomnia or One Hour Photo, our attentions were captivated, and we came to understand who these horrific people were. This, if anything, is his legacy. He taught us what it is to be human, and gave us the whole rainbow of emotions on the way.