Robin Williams: 1951-2014

The Academy Award-winning comedian was 63.

by | August 12, 2014 | Comments



Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams, whose manic energy and expressive dramatic range helped to make him one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, was found dead Monday morning in his Tiburon, CA home of an apparent suicide. He was 63.

Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams studied acting at the Juilliard School. His big break came in 1978 when he landed the role of Mork, an alien sent to Earth to study humanity, on the ABC hit Happy Days. The popularity of the character spawned a spin-off series, Mork & Mindy, which ran for four seasons. At the same time, Williams gained notoriety as a live-wire standup comedian, whose rapid-fire jokes and spot-on impressions led to a series of concert specials and sold-out live performances.

Williams’ first major film performance was the title character in Robert Altman’s Popeye (1980), but it was the made-for-TV feature Seize the Day (1986) — the tale of a down-and-out, recently fired salesman on the verge of divorce — that showed off his dramatic range. The following year, Williams expertly melded comedy and pathos in Good Morning Vietnam, and the result was his first Oscar nomination. In 1989, he was nominated for another dramatic role, playing an anti-authoritarian teacher at a posh private school in Dead Poets Society.

By the early 1990s, Williams had joined the ranks of cinema’s biggest stars, and his choice of projects proved both eclectic and challenging. From 1990 to 1992, he starred opposite Robert De Niro in the medical drama Awakenings; turned in a sinister cameo in the Hitchcockian thriller Dead Again; played a mad treasure hunter in the comedy/fantasy The Fisher King (for which he was nominated for another Oscar); and gave a vibrant voice performance as the genie in Aladdin (which ushered in an era of big stars in animated features).

Williams’ comic chops helped to make Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and The Birdcage (1996) big hits, but it was a smaller film — written by a pair of Hollywood fringe dwellers named Matt Damon and Ben Affleck — that gave him the role that would lead to his Best Supporting Actor Oscar win. Williams delivered a warm performance as the Boston-accented therapist Sean Maguire, who helps to keep scofflaw math wiz Will Hunting (Damon) on the straight-and-narrow.

Williams’ track record was admittedly spotty from the late 1990s on, but he still produced striking work from time to time; he delivered menacing turns in the dark thrillers Insomnia and One Hour Photo (both from 2002) and played a vulnerable writer in the critically acclaimed black comedy World’s Greatest Dad (2009). Most recently, Williams starred alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar in the high-profile CBS comedy The Crazy Ones, playing an oddball advertising executive.

Williams had been open about his struggles with sobriety, and was reportedly suffering from depression recently. The Marin County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that they will investigate the cause of death. Williams is survived by his wife Susan Schneider and three children from two previous marriages.


  • Robin Williams: 1951-2014
  • Robin Williams’ Filmography
  • More Total Recall

  • [rtimage]siteImageId=10265908[/rtimage]

    Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams, whose manic energy and expressive dramatic range helped to make him one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, was found dead Monday morning in his Tiburon, CA home of an apparent suicide. He was 63.

    Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams studied acting at the Juilliard School. His big break came in 1978 when he landed the role of Mork, an alien sent to Earth to study humanity, on the ABC hit Happy Days. The popularity of the character spawned a spin-off series, Mork & Mindy, which ran for four seasons. At the same time, Williams gained notoriety as a live-wire standup comedian, whose rapid-fire jokes and spot-on impressions led to a series of concert specials and sold-out live performances.

    Williams’ first major film performance was the title character in Robert Altman’s Popeye (1980), but it was the made-for-TV feature Seize the Day (1986) — the tale of a down-and-out, recently fired salesman on the verge of divorce — that showed off his dramatic range. The following year, Williams expertly melded comedy and pathos in Good Morning Vietnam, and the result was his first Oscar nomination. In 1989, he was nominated for another dramatic role, playing an anti-authoritarian teacher at a posh private school in Dead Poets Society.

    By the early 1990s, Williams had joined the ranks of cinema’s biggest stars, and his choice of projects proved both eclectic and challenging. From 1990 to 1992, he starred opposite Robert De Niro in the medical drama Awakenings; turned in a sinister cameo in the Hitchcockian thriller Dead Again; played a mad treasure hunter in the comedy/fantasy The Fisher King (for which he was nominated for another Oscar); and gave a vibrant voice performance as the genie in Aladdin (which ushered in an era of big stars in animated features).

    Williams’ comic chops helped to make Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and The Birdcage (1996) big hits, but it was a smaller film — written by a pair of Hollywood fringe dwellers named Matt Damon and Ben Affleck — that gave him the role that would lead to his Best Supporting Actor Oscar win. Williams delivered a warm performance as the Boston-accented therapist Sean Maguire, who helps to keep scofflaw math wiz Will Hunting (Damon) on the straight-and-narrow.

    Williams’ track record was admittedly spotty from the late 1990s on, but he still produced striking work from time to time; he delivered menacing turns in the dark thrillers Insomnia and One Hour Photo (both from 2002) and played a vulnerable writer in the critically acclaimed black comedy World’s Greatest Dad (2009). Most recently, Williams starred alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar in the high-profile CBS comedy The Crazy Ones, playing an oddball advertising executive.

    Williams had been open about his struggles with sobriety, and was reportedly suffering from depression recently. The Marin County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that they will investigate the cause of death. Williams is survived by his wife Susan Schneider and three children from two previous marriages.

    Written by Tim Ryan

    Tag Cloud

    teaser indiana jones Red Carpet travel CNN breaking bad Amazon Studios versus canceled Polls and Games animated TCA Awards 007 Apple blockbuster binge FX on Hulu ABC Family doctor who Comedy scary movies Rock Family Spectrum Originals cancelled TV series talk show strong female leads fast and furious Tarantino TCA Grammys screenings anthology unscripted hist a nightmare on elm street psycho Syfy Disney Election disaster emmy awards BAFTA 20th Century Fox thriller joker Shondaland Sundance IFC Sony Pictures DC Universe YouTube Premium vampires Hallmark Christmas movies Pop cancelled TV shows docudrama films justice league See It Skip It dc Year in Review Premiere Dates canceled TV shows Classic Film dark Marvel Television Thanksgiving dceu Apple TV+ series 2020 TCM CBS Pet Sematary classics war Marathons 72 Emmy Awards worst movies Spike natural history cops Oscars X-Men critics Country BBC Superheroe adaptation revenge Fox News Best and Worst asian-american BET Musicals Biopics stoner GIFs USA Network First Reviews Martial Arts Mary Poppins Returns Valentine's Day Hulu YouTube Amazon Prime Video Mary Tyler Moore documentary Rocketman Awards Tour nbcuniversal television Mary poppins Super Bowl Paramount Network technology cancelled television Shudder Hear Us Out Trophy Talk football sitcom anime comiccon GoT Drama Star Wars zombies Ovation BET Awards ITV IFC Films golden globes screen actors guild Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Showtime Bravo mutant Calendar comics Peacock Nominations game show The Witch TNT Horror spain zero dark thirty spider-man RT21 richard e. Grant cults parents stand-up comedy MTV Endgame Academy Awards romantic comedy OneApp cartoon facebook Teen 4/20 award winner Disney Channel superhero VICE NBC CMT Television Academy 21st Century Fox batman Rom-Com FXX Opinion DC streaming service nfl chucky criterion DGA remakes zombie 24 frames Crunchyroll Quiz CW Seed Winter TV Stephen King Set visit TV Land Watching Series San Diego Comic-Con BBC America The Arrangement Marvel Studios Writers Guild of America comedies TCA 2017 TruTV Holiday E! jamie lee curtis Adult Swim crime thriller Starz singing competition nature Chernobyl Amazon Film Lucasfilm Spring TV Kids & Family die hard Lifetime sports foreign Box Office Mindy Kaling E3 HBO DirecTV AMC History Mystery New York Comic Con political drama slashers Western politics obituary Mudbound cooking Reality National Geographic franchise dragons renewed TV shows MSNBC movie President 2018 Lifetime Christmas movies PaleyFest TV renewals game of thrones werewolf reboot The Walking Dead Pirates Star Trek HBO Go cars news 2019 police drama name the review Elton John RT History A24 Heroines dramedy Cannes independent Creative Arts Emmys Netflix Christmas movies Fall TV Holidays Women's History Month free movies Sneak Peek Cartoon Network adventure FX PlayStation Arrowverse documentaries American Society of Cinematographers tv talk Comedy Central harry potter hollywood miniseries Infographic 45 Christmas Comic Book diversity sag awards stop motion Black Mirror Esquire Ellie Kemper Captain marvel theme song TBS A&E dogs Emmys latino Tubi Winners Amazon Prime video directors transformers SDCC best rotten TCA Winter 2020 VOD boxoffice twilight USA all-time Disney streaming service Podcast supernatural Disney+ Disney Plus HBO Max spinoff festival Pixar discovery Funimation green book comic Anna Paquin PBS Fantasy what to watch SXSW Interview Universal The Purge Brie Larson Awards Paramount finale cancelled crime drama Musical ghosts ESPN biography crime space Walt Disney Pictures Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt WarnerMedia hispanic Sundance TV true crime Baby Yoda Music Nat Geo OWN book Video Games Lionsgate Tomatazos venice historical drama CBS All Access Turner FOX NYCC Animation spanish language christmas movies Sci-Fi Pride Month Cosplay crossover ABC witnail Hallmark Action halloween TV MCU Food Network Schedule Superheroes Trivia WGN VH1 71st Emmy Awards 2017 Apple TV Plus El Rey aliens Nickelodeon festivals Toys based on movie Comics on TV universal monsters The CW Character Guide Masterpiece psychological thriller casting Avengers TIFF toronto Epix concert TLC Acorn TV rotten movies we love video on demand Marvel GLAAD mockumentary YA Trailer movies cats Extras blaxploitation streaming Warner Bros. science fiction 2016 south america elevated horror worst Crackle SundanceTV Binge Guide social media robots Tumblr Logo Film Festival Rocky Sundance Now sequel Columbia Pictures serial killer Pop TV First Look satire BBC One Dark Horse Comics children's TV Ghostbusters Freeform Countdown Netflix Television Critics Association APB reviews Photos Emmy Nominations YouTube Red DC Comics LGBTQ composers child's play mission: impossible Britbox laika quibi Reality Competition cinemax Disney Plus toy story indie spy thriller ratings Turner Classic Movies Song of Ice and Fire Travel Channel Summer medical drama Vudu Black History Month Discovery Channel kids 2015 Certified Fresh LGBT period drama scorecard romance sequels