Robin Williams


Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014, USA) was an American actor, screenwriter, producer, and comedian (stand-up comedian).

During his acting career, Williams starred in approximately 100 motion pictures. His film career included many works by famous directors, such as “Popeye” (1980), “Moscow on the Hudson” (1984), “Dead Poets Society” (1989), “Captain Hook” (1991), “Jumanji” (1995) and others, filled with many strong and sad events. Williams also voiced the character Jeannie in the cartoon “Aladdin” (1992).

He received three Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. Williams won the statuette for Best Supporting Actor in Good Will Hunting (1997). He has won two Emmy Awards, six Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and four Grammy statuettes. The Hollywood Walk of Fame has a star named after Williams for his contributions to the film industry. He has earned the title of “Einstein of Comedy.

Robin McLorin Williams was born July 21, 1951, at St. Luke”s Hospital in Chicago, USA. His father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams (1906-1987), born in Evansville, Indiana, was a member of Ford”s Midwest leadership, and his mother, Lori McLorin Williams (née Smith, 1922-2001), born in Jackson, Mississippi, was the great-granddaughter of Mississippi Senator and Governor Anselm McLorin.

Robin had English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, German and French blood in his veins. Robin grew up with two older siblings from his parents” previous marriages: Robert Todd Williams, who later founded the Toad Hollow wine company, and McLorin Smith, who became a physics teacher in Memphis.

Robin was raised in the tradition of the Episcopal Church, while his mother was a Christian Science supporter (he later produced a mock list, “Ten Reasons to be in the Episcopal Church”). In his early childhood, he loved to play in the sandbox and attended Gorton Community Elementary School and Deer-Path High School. Later school friends remembered him as very funny. In the fall of 1963, when Robin was in 7th grade, his father was transferred to work in Detroit and the family moved from Chicago to a 40-room house in suburban Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where Robin began attending a private Detroit County day school. He quickly excelled academically, became class president, and was on the school”s soccer and wrestling teams. When Robin turned 16, his father took early retirement and moved with his family to Woodacre, Marin County. There Robin enrolled at Redwood High School in nearby Larkspur.

For a time Robin attended Clermont Men”s College and took improvisation classes. In between classes, Robin studied theater arts at College of Marin, where with Professor Jim Dunn he took part for the first time in a theater production, the musical Oliver!”Subsequently, Robin”s teacher, Jim Dunn, noted that “he was at his peak on stage, there were no limits for him. And then he started supplementing the plays we were doing in college. And then we realized that his talent was that he could play almost anywhere, any role, and in all sorts of circumstances.”

Sharing memories in an interview, Williams described himself as a quiet child who could not overcome his shyness until he was in high school drama club, where he was called “the funniest guy. As a child, to avoid being bullied because he was so overweight, Robin took different routes home; to make his mother laugh and draw attention to himself, he told her jokes and parodied his grandmother, and spent almost all his free time alone in the big house with two thousand toy soldiers: “My only companion, my only friend as a child was my imagination. Williams said that his mother and father were too busy at work to raise him, leaving him to be “bailed out” by the maids. But his father, who had served on an aircraft carrier during World War II, taught him a lesson he remembered for life, according to Robin:

My father told me some absolutely horrible stories… How the kamikaze plane crashed into the bridge… How he lay there bleeding for eight hours. How he bandaged himself. Anyway, he said to me: “Look. There is nothing more terrible than saying goodbye to the notion of glory (in dying for one”s country) – Dulce Et Decorum Est…” All these passions inspired terror and loneliness. And it gave me wisdom.

In 1973 Robin was accepted to Juilliard School and went to New York – to study drama under John Houseman among 20 students, among whom were Christopher Reeve, William Hurt, Kelsey Grammer, and he shared a room with the future “main voice of Batman” – Kevin Conroy. During his studies he performed comedy routines on the stages of makeshift nightclubs, moonlighted as a waiter, and tried his hand at pantomime on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the suggestion of Hausman, who said there was nothing Juilliard could teach him.After a while Williams moved to Los Angeles, where he made several appearances on various television shows. Because of this, his teacher at Juilliard, Gerald Friedman, later noted that Williams was a genius, the conservative and classical style of teaching did not satisfy him, and so no one wondered why he left school.And Reeve said, “He was not a standard Juilliard product. Robin ignored conventions easily…Together we were on a prospect team at the end of his third year. They asked him to go back to his first year level and start again, I think just because they knew he would make it.”

Williams began doing standup in the early 1970s, after his family moved to San Francisco Bay Area Marin County. His first performance was at the Holy City Zoo Club. Williams would later confess that he learned then what “drugs and happiness” were, but added that he saw “the best minds of my time turn to filth.” After moving to Los Angeles, Robin continued to perform at various clubs, including Comedy Club, where in 1977 he was seen by television producer George Schlatter, who realized that Williams could be a star and asked to appear on a revival of his show Laugh-In. The first airing took place in late 1977 and was his television debut. The revival failed, however, and Williams continued to perform at comedy clubs such as The Roxy, which helped keep his improvisational skills sharp

Williams also performed in comedy clubs in Britain, notably The Comedy Store in London, which in the 1970s adhered to “non-sexist, non-racist” jokes. Viewers who saw Williams perform later noted that his “appearance was greeted with British elitist indifference. Nevertheless, an hour and 10 minutes later, the game plan changed. Most people”s speeches were 10 minutes each, 20 minutes tops. There was a gong, so if the audience shouted at them loud enough, the entertainer would come and strike the gong, after which the performer would leave the stage humiliated,” but with Williams” arrival things changed – there he “could make even furniture laugh,” being as if on a “geyser of comedy.” Influenced by the unafraid experimenter Richard Pryor, Williams appeared on the cast of his short-lived Richard Pryor Show in 1977, but it was an honor that not every comedian could receive at the time.

In 1978, director Garry Marshall”s sister, Penny, watched Williams perform at a nightclub and offered him the role of a space alien in her brother”s new series. After an audition in which Williams sat on his head instead of taking his seat, the producers, impressed by his sense of humor, gave Robin the role of the alien Mork in several episodes of the fifth season of the television series Happy Days. After the audience success for him specially created a spin-off – “Mork and Mindy”, where Robin again played the role of the same alien who came to Earth from the planet Orc to study local life, and right during the filming he came up with most of the plot moves. The series was broadcast on ABC from 1978 to 1982 and quickly became a great success, symbolized by Williams” appearance on March 12, 1979 on the cover of Time, the leading news magazine in the United States, which was installed in the National Portrait Gallery in the Smithsonian Institute soon after his death so that visitors could honor his memory.The same year his picture by Richard Avedon appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. By the time the show closed in 1982, due to low ratings, Robin Williams had already become a popular actor – his incarnation as Mork was featured on posters, coloring books, lunchboxes and other merchandise, and figurines of him were sold in toy eggs.

First film roles and talent development

In 1977 Williams appeared in his first big movie for himself – in the unremarkable role of a lawyer in the movie I Can Do It While I Don”t Need Glasses? After several cameo roles, Williams starred in Popeye (1980) directed by Robert Altman, playing the spinach-loving sailor Popeye, which was his first truly memorable movie role. Film critic Roger Ebert said that “fully convincing Williams with his eternal squint and crooked smile” contributed to the entry of this film in the treasury genre of musical comedy Altman.The film enjoyed a certain success with viewers – so, on a budget of $ 20 million, “Popeye” has collected according to various estimates from 49.

Beginning in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Williams began working for wider audiences, starring in comedy shows and series for HBO – Strangers to Conventions (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1982), and Robin Williams: Live at the Metropolitan Opera (1986), tickets to which sold out within 30 minutes of going on sale. In 1982 he got the role of the hero of the novel-best-selling – unsuccessful writer T. S. Harp in the movie “The World according to Harp. Ebert noted that the main point in the source material is “the tragicomic counterpoint between the breakdown of middle-class family values and the rise of random violence in our society,” and “the protest against this violence provides the most memorable image of the book,” but in this film, “although Robin Williams plays Garp relatively plausibly, sometimes as an ordinary man, the film never once expresses concern about the uneven contrast between his fun and the anarchy around him.The following year was Survival School, where Williams, by Almost during this same “heady time of instant fame” Robin Williams became addicted to cocaine and alcohol, but after the death of John Belushi, whom he had seen hours before it, and the birth of his son, there was a sobering realization that using it all was a bad idea. Williams began exercising and riding a bicycle to beat depression on the recommendation of bicycle store owner Tony Tom, to whom Robin told him that “riding a bike saved my life. “As a result, Williams quickly got over his addiction by 1983.

In the 1984 film Moscow on the Hudson he starred as the Russian musician Vladimir Ivanov, who became a non-returner while on tour in New York.As Ebert put it, “Williams completely disappears into his quirky, sweet, complex character, playing quite a believable Russian,” and the film itself is “a very rare, patriotic film that has a liberal rather than conservative heart. It made me feel that it”s good to be an American, and it”s good that Vladimir Ivanov is going to be one of us, too.”

Williams went on to produce solo shows, and in 1986 he won the highest award for his solo prowess – he was invited to host the Oscars, along with Jane Fonda and Alan Alda. In that year”s film, The Paradise Club, Williams reincarnated himself as former Chicago firefighter and current Caribbean club owner Jack Moniker. In his review, Roger Ebert noted that Williams “is very funny on stage. On television and in some films, where he is allocated a well-defined character to play, he not only laughs but also improvises, as in “Moscow on the Hudson,” but here “he sometimes seems invited to lead the film instead of its star,” primarily because he has become “desperately dependent on witticisms.”

Dramatic reincarnations in serious films

In 1987, Williams played the role of pacifist DJ Adrian Cronauer at an American army radio station in Saigon in Barry Levinson”s Good Morning Vietnam, which made him famous and nominated him for an Academy Award for Best Actor, a film that marked a real breakthrough in Williams” career, bringing also a considerable box office total of $123.9 million domestically. Speaking of the main character, Ebert remarked that “we don”t know where he”s from, what he did before the war, whether he was ever married, what his dreams are, or what he”s afraid of. Everything in his world comes down to material for his program,” he jokes constantly, “exercises cynicism,” goes against the establishment, and “in witticisms against them also tries to insist that he is always on stage, that there is nothing real, that all war is basically just material.” But after surviving a terrible attack, “by the end of the film, Cronauer has transformed into a better, deeper, wiser man, different from who he was at the beginning; this film is the story of his transformation…In this film Cronauer changes. War erases the smirk from his face. His humor becomes a humanitarian tool, not just an opportunity to keep his ability to talk, and for us to listen.” Ebert noted that Williams is “like Groucho Marx, using comedy as a strategy to conceal identity,” but in this film that tactic backfired on him–Williams has found virtuosity in “by far the best work he has never done in film before.”

In 1988, Williams played the Moon King with a removable and flying head in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Terry Gilliam.That same year, Williams took to the theater stage – with Steve Martin in the play Waiting for Godot at Lincoln Center.

Williams was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the film Dead Poets Society (1989) directed by Peter Weir. In it he played English language and literature teacher John Keating, who with the help of William Shakespeare and unorthodox teaching methods urges his students to cast aside academia and bring back to life the Dead Poets Society literary club, and asks them to call themselves “Oh, Captain! My Captain!” Roger Ebert said that “”Dead Poets Society” is not the worst of countless recent films about good kids and hardened, authoritarian older people. Nevertheless, it may be the most shameless in its attempt to please a teenage audience.” Though critical of the film as a whole, he praised his performance, saying that “for the most part Williams is an intelligent, quick-witted, well-read young man.” Irène Lacher of the Los Angeles Times observed that the movie “put Williams firmly in the category of serious actors, in part because it was a box-office success ($140 million overseas and $94.6 million at home). Critic Sarfraz Mansour of The Guardian admitted that the film is his favorite and “one of the most inspiring films of all time,” but it “is not about school or teaching poetry: it”s about death. In the very first frame of the film, as the boy is getting ready for school, a picture of long-dead former students hangs over him. Death is literally looking down. It is death that became the driving force in John Keating”s lessons in his classroom. It is there, in one of the first lines of poetry, that he tells his students, “gather your rosebuds, for still old time flies: and the same flower that opened in the day, tomorrow will begin to die.” And most importantly, there is my favorite scene in the film, where Keating points his young students toward the black-and-white photographs of former high school students displayed in a glass cabinet:

They”re not so different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. The feeling of invulnerability, like you… They believe they are destined for great things, like many of you, their eyes full of hope, like yours… now these boys are narcissist fertilizer. But if you listen hard, you can hear them whispering a message to you… Carpe Diem, seize the moment, boys, make your lives extraordinary.

In The Fisher King (1991), also an Oscar nominee, Robin reincarnated as Parry, a former professor and crazy drifter who lost the meaning of life due to radio host Jack (Jeff Bridges) – being under the impression of his program, a maniac kills 7 people, including Parry”s wife. Jack is tormented by guilt and decides to help Parry, who communicates with the little people, find the Holy Grail. Irene Lacher of the Los Angeles Times said that the film blurs the line between genius and insanity and, by appealing to Williams” qualities of innocence and meekness, encourages the viewer to discern dignity in the fallen.”

In the movie “The Man in the Cadillac” (1990), Williams appeared as Joey O”Brien – both unsuccessful and desperate car salesman, who in the end, at work and in life, everything gets better. In addition, in The Awakening, Williams played the quiet, shy and science-driven Dr. Malcolm Sayer, who in 1969 finds himself in a New York hospital with living people who have suffered an epidemic of encephalitis. Sayer decides to help them and develops an experimental drug to lead patients out of a catatonic attack, among them Leonard Law (Robert De Niro), who does not lose courage in all the complexity of the situation. In Kenneth Branagh”s Dying Again, after a flood of warm and sentimental films, Robin played the occasional “cold” role – this time of the disgraced Dr. Cosy Carlyle, in reference to which Matt Zoller Seitz on the website of film critic Roger Ebert noted, that Williams “was a comic and dramatic actor who had been at one point for more than a decade, but in these two very different films, you could probably see the third act of his career, already as a character actor.”

On December 12, 1990, the Hollywood Walk of Fame at Grauman”s Chinese Theater unveiled Robin Williams” name star for his contributions to the film industry, number 6900.

Serious films for children and cartoon voiceovers

In the 1991 film Captain Hook, Williams played the role of a businessman and at the same time the grown-up Peter Pan, who set out to save his children from Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), who wanted revenge. The film”s director, Steven Spielberg, said that on the set, “Robin”s comic genius was a ferocious lightning bolt and our laughter was the thunder that kept him going,” and the film”s producer Kathleen Kennedy said that “the minute Steven heard that Robin wanted to play Peter, he was thrilled. He felt that Robin embodied everything childish about us, and that was exactly the message he was trying to convey in this movie. “On January 10, 1991, Williams appeared on the comedy show Johnny Carson – “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. That same year, Williams voiced Genie the Genie in the Disney cartoon Aladdin, later doing so again in the third part of the cartoon (he was replaced by Dan Castellaneta in the second part and in the cartoon series). Much of his dialogue was improvisation and impromptu, in which regard Roger Ebert noted that “Robin Williams and animation were born for each other, and in ”Aladdin” they finally met. The speed at which Williams comes up with his jokes has always been too fast for flesh and blood; the way he jumps from one character to another is truly impressive. In Disney”s new animated film “Aladdin,” he finally broke free, playing a genie with complete freedom from his physical state–he can instantly be nobody and nothing,” but “”Aladdin” is good, but not great, except for the consistent Robin Williams, with a life and energy of his own.” Williams used his voice talent again in voicing the bat Fern Coda in the cartoon “Fern Valley: The Last Rainforest” (1992), continuing the theme of pollution and how the most dangerous animal on Earth is man; The holographic Dr. No in Artificial Intelligence (2001), the robotic speculator-salesman Fender in Robots (2005), the two penguins Ramon and Lovelace in the Oscar-winning animated feature film Do It, and its sequel Do It 2, which was an opportunity for true creative fulfillment as Williams himself acknowledged. He also lent his voice to the timekeeper in the Disneyworld show, about a robot who travels through time and meets Jules Verne, who showed him the future.

In many ways Williams became known for his participation in comedy films. Thus, in the tape “toys” (1992) he played Leslie Zivo – son toy tycoon, who after the death of his father begins to fight with his uncle who wants to militarize everything and everyone. As Roger Ebert noted, “”Toys” is visually one of the most extraordinary films I”ve seen — a delight to the eye, a bright new world. Everything takes place in a completely fictional world of a giant toy corporation that emerges from a limitless area as if there were no other buildings on earth,” also saying that “Williams seems to have been born to live in this toyland,” and the film itself “deserves recognition from the Film Academy.” “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) was Williams” production debut, and it was also produced by Blue Wolf Productions, the company he and his wife founded. Robin plays Danil Hilliard, a man who has lost both his family and his job and in desperation decides to pretend to be Mrs. Doubtfire”s nanny with a strange Scottish accent in order to be there for his children and take care of them. Ebert noted that “any criticism of ”Mrs. Doubtfire” must take into account Dustin Hoffman”s reimagining comedy, ”Tootsie,” which is by far the best film: more believable, cleverer and funnier. “Tootsie” grew out of real wit and insight; “Mrs. Doubtfire” has values and comedic depth. Hoffman as an actor was able to successfully play a woman. Williams, who is also a good actor, seems to have been more himself, playing a woman.” Nia Jones of The Guardian placed this film at number one in the top 10 movie fathers because it is “one of Robin Williams” best performances,” showing “to us that sometimes there is a long and rocky road to a happy decision.” “Mrs. Doubtfire” came in at number 88 on the list of the 100 highest-grossing films in American film history because, despite a not insignificant budget of $25 million, it grossed $441 million worldwide, becoming the second highest-grossing film of 1993. Anne Fine, the author of Mrs. Doubtfire, later admitted that she owed Williams, who “put a tremendous amount of feeling and energy into the film,” more than anything in her life: “Because of the success of Mrs. Doubtfire, my novel–and many others I wrote–can now be read in more than 40 languages. The movie paid for my mortgage, and gave me the freedom to write what I wanted at my own pace. However, I still haven”t seen “Mrs. Doubtfire” … But everyone knows that the author is the last person who should be allowed to judge an adaptation. In the next film, Jumanji (1995), Williams plays, as Ebert puts it, “with fire in his eyes” Alan Parrish, who as a young boy gets sucked into a board game he finds. Twenty-six years later, new children have already rescued Parrish, and together with them, going through dangerous trials, performing feats and saving loved ones, he finds happiness and changes the course of history.Later the filming of “Jumanji 2” was planned, but nothing came of it, but in 2015 Sony Pictures announced the filming of a remake. The sequel, titled “Jumanji: Call of the Jungle” starring Dwayne Johnson, was released on December 20, 2017.Williams” character, Parrish, will appear in flashbacks compiled from archival footage and footage from the first film.

The End of the 1990s: Unrealized Projects and Best Roles

Williams had plans to play Enigma in Batman Forever (1995), but after Tim Burton gave up directing, Robin also left the project. He had previously expressed interest in playing the Joker in Batman (1989) and later in Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), where the Joker was eventually played by Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In the early 2000s, Williams was supposed to play Liberace, but the movie “Behind the Candelabra” came out 13 years later with Michael Douglas.Later, he tried out for the role of the giant Rubeus Hagrid in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher”s Stone,” who ended up being played by Robbie Coltrane. At the same time, filming began on a documentary about a pair of Indian elephants who moved from a zoo in Sri Lanka to a new home in Croatia, where Williams was to be the narrator, but production was halted due to administrative problems. In 2008, Williams sued in Los Angeles with the intention of getting $6 million under contract for delaying the start of production on “Double KOPec,” which eventually came out two years later. The possibility of Williams reincarnating as Susan Boyle was later discussed.

In 1996, Williams and Billy Crystal played small cameo roles (Thomas and Tim) in episode #24, “The Ultimate Fighting Champion Episode” of the third season of the television series “Friends,” finding themselves in the main characters” favorite café. As a result, only five minutes spent on screen Robin, long remembered by fans of the series.In the same year came the film “The Birdcage,” in which Williams played Armand Goldman, who lives for 20 years with Albert, whose son wants to marry the daughter, as it seems, a very conservative senator. Critic Roger Ebert noted that although the film is a remake of a French film, “it is slightly striking how fresh it sometimes looks in the American version. The biggest surprise was Robin Williams, in a role that seems specifically written for a bright, garish character, he looks more restrained than in any film since “The Awakening” (1990) “.In the movie” Jack “Williams got the role of ten-year schoolboy, looking because of the unusual disease as a forty-year man. After overcoming the attacks of bullies and making friends with the whole school, he, unable to cope with his illness and the outside world, eventually goes into voluntary exile. His school friends help him cope, however, and he graduates as an older man, reminding his classmates in his farewell speech that life is short and urging them to “make your life exciting.” In connection with Williams” reincarnation in this and past roles, Ebert observed:

In his choice of characters, Robin Williams seems to feel more comfortable playing loners–people who stand out with special abilities or problems. Think of him in “Jumanji,” trapped in time. Or in “Popeye,” where “I eat what I eat.” Or in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” where he breaks the gender barrier. Or take his unclassifiable roles in “Kingfisher” and “Toys.” The closest he comes to a three-dimensional adult is in “The World According to Harp” and “Good Morning, Vietnam.” The impression is that Williams feels most comfortable in looks that don”t fit in many places. Maybe that”s why he so enjoyed voicing the genie in “Aladdin.” Apparently, he was the first choice for the lead role in Francis Ford Coppola”s “Jack,” where he plays a boy who ages four times fast. He was born fully formed after a two-month pregnancy, and at the age of 10 he looks exactly like a 40-year-old man.

1997 brought Williams many landmark roles. In the movie “Father”s Day”, a remake of the French comedy “Dads” (1983), he and Billy Crystal play fathers looking for their seventeen-year-old sons who ran away from home. However, in the process of searching it turns out that they are looking for the same guy. Ebert called the film a “brainless feature-length situation comedy” that has too much situation with no comedy at all, and the cleverly constructed script hides the strengths and exposes the weaknesses of two of the brightest talents in American filmmaking, Robin Williams and Billy Cristal. According to Ebert, these actors are so good that if they had even played impromptu, the film would have come out much better. At the same time, Joe Queenan of The Guardian noted that introducing “Robin Williams and Billy Cristal into this predictably moving film is like inviting Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini to burn books; it”s more than enough for them.” In the film Flubber, Williams took on the role of a distracted professor, Philip Brainard, who invents a metastable substance and “keeps his college, his career and his novel alive.” The film, “Unscrambling Harry,” starring Woody Allen, has, as Ebert puts it, “a rich comic powerhouse–Robin Williams as an actor troubled by loss of attention.” Finally, there”s Gus Van Sant”s Good Will Hunting. Here Williams played college professor Sean Maguire, a part-time psychologist at the request of an old student dorm friend who is troubled by the character of an orphan, a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and mathematical genius Will Hunting (Matt Damon), who in the end, with the help of a professor who recalls the pain of losing his wife to cancer, begins to overcome crushing insecurities and class resentment. For this role, Williams won his only Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1998, and fellow screenwriters Ben Affleck and Matt Damon for Best Original Screenplay. Roger Ebert said the role is one of the best of Williams” career. Williams himself, in a speech at the award ceremony, confessed, “I want to thank my father — the man who, when I informed him I was going to be an actor, said: ”Wonderful, but it would be good to get a back-up profession, like a welder. Thank you,” and then Robin raised the Oscar above his head as if to show it to his father.

In 1998, Williams starred in Where Dreams Lead, directed by Vincent Ward. He later confessed that “this film was very important for me in terms of my spiritual search. After all, I had to deal with emotions, with the problem of loss and redemption. I lost my father a few years ago and filming brought back memories of what I was going through. It was an ordeal.” The film tells the story of Chris (Williams proper) and Annie Nielsen (Annabella Shiorra), who lose their two children in a disaster. Chris went headlong into his job as a doctor, and things seemed to be starting to get better, but here he is in a car accident himself. Once in heaven, the epitome of Annie”s magical and vivid pictures, he suddenly learns that she has committed suicide and sets out to rescue her from hell. Roger Ebert said that “Vincent Ward”s ”Where Dreams Lead” is so breathtaking in the beauty and boldness of its imagination” and “brings us to an emotional edge” and ends “on a curious but unconvincing note,” noting that this film “might be the best film of the year. Whatever its flaws, this is a film to treasure.” Ebert especially noted the role of Robin Williams — he “has a quality that makes him the center of imaginary universes. Remember him in “Popeye,” “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,” “Toys,” “Jumanji,” and his animated incarnation in “Aladdin”? His reality, despite his mercurial wit, creates fantastic images around him that seem almost believable. He”s good, too, emotionally: he carries it all with us.” In “Healer Adams,” Williams appeared as a doctor who realized that official medicine was a business and decided to heal with the best medicine possible: laughter. Some critics noted that Williams was “more organic and natural than ever in this role,” but Ebert trashed the film, calling it “shameless” because of its overt use of heartbreak:

I have nothing against sentimentality, but it has to be earned. Cynics scoffed at Robin Williams” previous film, Where Dreams Lead, in which he went to heaven and then descended into hell to save the woman he loved. Is it corny? Perhaps – but with the masculinity of his (the movie”s) convictions. This is not apologetics; no formula is being exploited here. It was real. “Healer Adams” is quackery.

The real-life doctor on whose life the film was based, Hunter Adams, criticized the film for seeking to portray him as just a funny doctor. Although the film made Adams world famous, he repeated that “Williams as me is undesirable because he made $21 million on it. If he had been a little more like the real me, that money would have been donated to the hospital we”ve been trying to build for 40 years. But it didn”t even come to $10.” However, Williams is known to have been active in charity work, and in particular has financially supported St. Jude Children”s Research Hospital.

The film Jacob the Liar, released a year later, was not a success at the box office, despite the fact that Williams played the tragicomic role of the Jew Jacob, who lives in an unnamed Polish town turned into a ghetto by the Nazis, and who convinces its inhabitants that there is hope (the film had a budget of over $15 million, but only collected just under five at the box office in the United States). Ebert explained that this “contrived and manipulative” film was only seen for Williams, and not all of his fans: in Toronto, “Williams received more applause on his way out on stage before the screening than he subsequently received for the entire film.”

In the 1999 Chris Columbus film Bicentennial Man, based on the 1991 novel of the same name by Isaac Asimov and his novel Positron Man*, co-written with Robert Silverberg, Williams played the role of Andrew, a robot who arrives in a packing box at one family”s home as a household appliance. Andrew notices that while living among humans, he becomes a human with a special soul from within and becomes imbued with feelings for his now native family, and decides to save them from death. Andrew begins to produce synthetic organs for humanity, and implants them himself, wishing to become and be officially recognized as human. However, his immortality prevents him from doing so, and Andrew replaces his synthetic blood with biological blood. He dies at the age of two hundred years, moments before a judge recognizes him as human, giving up his immortality for humanity. Roger Ebert observed that in this film we are dealing with “problems of self-determination and individual rights. As in many of Asimov”s robot stories, it describes a mystery with human intelligence, but without rights or feelings. “Bicentennial Man” could have been an intelligent, sci-fi movie, but it was too timid, too eager to please. He wanted us to be like Andrew, but it”s hard on a human deathbed to identify with aluminum sorrow.”

Early 2000s: the flowering of talent

On March 26, 2000, at the 72nd Academy Awards, Robin Williams performed the award-nominated song “Blame Canada” from the animated film South Park: Bigger, Longer and No Bills. Taking the stage at Los Angeles” Shrine Auditorium Theater with his mouth taped shut, Williams began mumbling something, impersonating Kenny McCormick, and then, tearing off the tape, shouted, “Oh my God! They killed Kenny!” He sang the song accompanied by the chorus, and when “fuck” was to be heard, Robin turned to the chorus, which gave a loud gasp.

On November 16, 2000, Williams appeared in the ninth episode of the third season of the American version of “So Whose Line Is It Now?” where, in the “What Robin Williams Thinks Now” skit of the “Scenes From the Hat” segment, Williams stated that “I have a career. What the hell am I doing here?” In 2001, Williams visited a research center in Northern California where Koko, a sign-language gorilla, lives. He quickly befriended her and made her smile for the first time in six months since the death of her friend, 27-year-old gorilla Michael. As Dr. Penny Patterson noted, he cheered Coco up, but “Robin seemed to feel a change in himself, too.”

The year 2002 marked an uncharacteristic trio of dark and criminal roles for Williams. In Danny De Vito”s favorite genre film, the $50 million black comedy Kill Smoochy, he played children”s television show host Randolph Smiley, fired for bribery and trying to kill his rival Rhino Smoochy (Edward Norton). In Christopher Nolan”s Insomnia, a remake of the Norwegian film of the same name by Erik Sköldbjerg, Williams played the hapless writer and cold-blooded killer on the run Walter Finch, hiding in Alaska from Los Angeles cop Will Dormer (Al Pacino). In this psychological thriller, the characters blackmail each other, playing a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Drinking lover Dormer accidentally shoots his partner, after which he covers up his guilt, quarrels with his girlfriend Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank) and simultaneously tries to catch Finch, which he never succeeds, because Finch, being a writer, is always one step ahead – knowledge of detective psychology helps him avoid capture. Philip French in The Guardian opined that Nolan found in Williams his “dark side,” and the role of Finch was the best work of the actor in years. But the film also had a negative impact on Williams” career – due to the heavy workload, he snapped and started drinking again.

In Mark Romanek”s psychological thriller, Photo in an Hour, Robin reincarnated as Seymour “Say” Perrish, a lonely and emotionally withdrawn photo-shop worker who becomes obsessed with the family for whom he prints pictures. After learning of the cheating head of the family from the photographic films brought in by his mistress, Sey decides to interfere in their relationship, determined to bring everything to his own idea of an ideal world, unaware of how empty his life is. For this role, Williams won the 2003 Saturn Award for Best Actor, in addition, there were rumors of a possible Oscar nomination.

Williams himself, speaking of these three villainous films, said that “for me it”s like a blue period Picasso. They”re dark films. I asked an agent to find me one movie. He found three – with three really weird, bizarre roles. In “Photo in an Hour,” for example, you don”t even know what kind of darkness is waiting for you. People come in thinking, “Oh, he”s a good man,” and even to the movie also, “Ah, he”s a good man.” And when things get creepier and stranger and more disturbing, and that”s when I think why it all works – because people don”t expect it from me.” Noting the unexpectedness of fights with Al Pacino, Williams said that inside “there”s an animal, a kind of animal adrenaline release when you suddenly start saying ”motherfucker!” And then you start kicking the shit out of the man. And then we all had lunch.”

In July 2002, Robin Williams performed a new comedy program, Robin Williams: Live on Broadway, which was later recorded and broadcast on HBO. In 2004, Williams was listed as number 13 on Comedy Central”s “100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time,” and was later cast in the biographical TV movie “Behind the Scenes: The Unofficial Story of Mork and Mindy” (2005), which tells the documented story of the comedian”s entry into the world of Hollywood.

In 2005 Williams played a cameo role in Noel, to quote Ebert, “the usual story of sad strangers looking for happiness on Christmas Eve, but with the change in that most of the characters are completely insane. Robin is Charlie Boyd, an immobile invalid lying in a dark ward of a nursing home, who one night in desperation says to Rose, a forty-year-old publisher who has come to see his mother, “I love you!”.In Secrets of the Past, Williams reincarnated as Pappas, a friend of protagonist Tom Warshaw (David Duchovny) who has mentally gone back in time to revise his assessment of past events. The same year – and another film, echoing “Photo in an Hour” – about people”s dirty work, “The Final Cut”. In this connection, Roger Ebert noted that:

There is another Robin Williams, a lonely recluse hiding inside an extrovert. Williams is able to embed this secret, reticent character in roles very far removed from Mork, Mrs. Doubtfire and Genie in Aladdin. Ever since Catch the Moment (1986), the little-noticed adaptation of Saul Bellow”s novel of the same name about a man who loses everything important, Williams has taken roles as characters withdrawn, prone to self-contemplation, obsessed or withdrawn. As an example, his work in The Secret Agent (in Photo in an Hour (2002), where he plays a lonely man who lives someone else”s life through photographs, and in Insomnia (2002), where he plays a killer who forgives himself because… well, these things happen. Williams brings his detachment of sorts to perfection in “The Final Cut,” Omar Naim”s sad sci-fi drama. He plays an editor, a man who edits memories. He lives alone, spending most of his time in a room with his equipment.

Mid to late 2000s: Roosevelt to Roosevelt

In 2006, Williams began drinking again after a 20-year hiatus and underwent treatment for alcohol addiction at Oregon”s Hazelden Springbrook Rehabilitation Center, admitting to being an alcoholic. His secretary, Mara Brooksbaum, said that “he decided to take active steps to combat it for his own well-being and that of his family.” Williams later said that “for the last two years I thought I could handle this contagion myself, but I couldn”t. It”s very hard to admit that you need help, but when you do, it gets easier.” After that, he quickly returned to intense filming. In Barry Sonnenfeld”s “Deranged on Wheels,” as Ebert put it, “Robin Williams once again demonstrated that he”s more effective on screen when he”s serious than when he”s trying to be funny.” His character, wealthy California farmhand Bob Munro, and his entire family take a camping trip to Colorado in a motor home instead of the promised Hawaii. Wanting to reunite the family, he unwittingly destroys it, but dissatisfied with all and everything children and his wife in the end begin to understand each other and become a full family, finding a simpler and more honest way of life. In Man of the Year, Williams plays comedian Tom Dobbs, who became president and got into trouble because of the electronic voting system. The plot of the film echoes the scandal of the recount in Ohio, the state that was crucial to the victory and second term of President George H.W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. Williams, explaining these parallels, noted that “our film is not about political parties, it”s about the whole system failing:

In the same year, Williams again played the president, but this time waxed Theodore Roosevelt in the film Night at the Museum, who helped the hapless Larry Daly with the revived exhibits and harmful guards of the Museum of Natural History. In Night Listener, Williams played the role of radio host Gabriel Noon, who decided to intervene in the plight of a 14-year-old boy from a family with AIDS and child abuse problems. Ebert noted that The Night Listener is “more atmospheric than the Hitchcockian thrillers (more “Vertigo” than “Psycho”), shows some of Williams” finest work as an actor,” though lately “his screen persona has become unbearable, or the cheesy “love me!” (“Moscow on the Hudson,” “Dead Poets Society”) or “look at me!” (“Good Morning Vietnam,” “Mrs. Doubtfire”) – or both (“Healer Adams”). He reached a point of unviewability, but then slowly began to re-create himself as an actor. He deliberately learned to be creepy (“Insomnia,” “Photo in an Hour”) in a way that made the plot work. And he disciplinedly doesn”t rely on manic energy alone.” In addition to starring in films, Williams appeared on the Jan. 30 reality show “House Closed for Renovations,” and on April 1, Fool”s Day, he was unexpectedly the target for laughs at an awards show. In the 2007 film, August Rush (according to Ebert, “a very loose modern adaptation of elements from Oliver Twist”), 11-year-old Evan Taylor runs away from the orphanage in search of his parents. In Washington Square Park, he spots street musicians who lead him to the Warlock (Williams proper), who sends his “little army” into the streets to raise money. Seeing Evan”s talent, he gives him a new name, August Rush. After gaining popularity, Evan-August meets his real parents (Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers) through music. In the movie License to Marry, Williams played a priest who agrees to marry Ben (John Krasinski) and Sadie (Mandy Moore) only after they take his special training course for spouses.

In February 2009, after a six-year hiatus, Robin Williams presented at the Neil Simon Theatre his new mono-performance, Weapon of Self-Destruction, planned as a tour from Santa Barbara, California to 80 American cities. But in Florida, the performance had to be cut short because of health problems. Robin went to the hospital for a bout of shortness of breath, and on March 13 underwent surgery to replace his aortic valve, which, in his words, “just exploded.” The tour ended in New York City on December 3, and was broadcast on HBO on December 8.

In spite of everything, Robin continued to shoot actively, and in 2009 Williams-Roosevelt again takes part in saving his native museum, this time in the Battle of the Smithsonian – “Night at the Museum 2”. In the drama The Psychoanalyst, Williams plays loser actor Jack Holden, who comes to psychoanalyst Henry Carter (Kevin Spacey) with the conviction that all problems are due to sexual addiction, not alcoholism. In The Best Dad Ever, Robin plays Lance, a high school teacher and divorced father of an obnoxious teenager. His son dies in an accident of self-inflicted asphyxiation and, thanks to his father, he becomes an object of worship, reverence and grief at the school where he was a student and his dad still teaches. According to critics, the picture was a reflection of all the genius of Williams, who is, as Ebert noted, “sometimes better at drama than comedy,” and Decca Aitkenhead of The Guardian said the film was “brilliant. After shooting a lot of sentimental slag over the last few years, here at last is a smart and thoughtful, dark, slightly weird comedy that touches on a lot of interesting themes,” So Farewell Vacation, Williams and John Travolta have to babysit two young children on the eve of an important deal with Japanese businessmen, which results in them having to choose: which is better – soulless work and the desire to make ever more money or loving families and children in their life-affirming mess. At the same time Williams took part in many comedy programs, recorded three comedy albums and held an annual “Laughter Discharge” event, which he himself organized in 1986 to help the homeless.

On December 4, 2010, Robin appeared with Robert De Niro in the skit “What”s the deal with that?” of the comedy show “Saturday Night Live” on NBC. In 2011, Williams took part in the pseudo-documentary “Certifiably Jonathan” about comedian Jonathan Winters. On that occasion, Roger Ebert noted that Winters “deserves better than this,” and of all his famous friends, “only Robin Williams is funny,” as on old TV shows. On March 31, Williams played Richard Rodgers at the Broadway Theater, in the play “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

Last roles: 2012-2014

In 2012, Williams was a guest actor in the role of himself in two FX Channel series, Louie and Wilfred.In February 2013, CBS announced the start of filming of a comedy series by David E. Kelly called Crazy, starring Williams as Simon Roberts, a father working with his daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar) in an advertising agency. Filming began on May 10, and the pilot episode premiered on September 26, 2013, but the series was not a success with viewers and was closed after the first season. The series was the last major television project of his career and received mixed reviews, ranging from a barrage of criticism of “this lame and bizarre show” to being listed as one of Williams” most memorable works.

In The Big Wedding (2013), accompanied by an all-star cast including Robert De Niro and Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon, Williams reincarnated as the saintly Father Monaveen, and as Ebert”s replacement critic Ignacy Vishnevetsky said, “surprisingly tolerable,” since “this is a film in which no one felt compelled to do a good job–and that”s why no one should feel compelled to see it.” In The Butler, a film about the centuries-old rift between domestic Negroes (middle class) and the field (working class) on the life of the White House butler, Williams again plays the president, but this time Dwight Eisenhower, engaged in, according to critics, an analysis of his actions.

Among Robin Williams” last films of 2014 were “The Face of Love” – the role of Roger, a widower who wants to be closer to a single woman” – the role of a corrupt and dishonest politician and “This Morning in New York” – the role of a harmful man who finds out that he has only 90 minutes to live (this film was harshly criticized). It is noteworthy that in an interview, when asked what he would have done if he had only 90 minutes to live, Robin said that he would just be with his children and his wife, “who made my life amazing. In the comedy Night at the Museum 3, Williams again played the role of the waxwork Theodore Roosevelt, and in the film Anything You Want, he voiced a talking dog named “Dennis.” That film”s screenwriter, Terry Jones, later said that production was delayed for four years, but Williams, having agreed in 2010, inspired and brilliantly voiced the dog in 2014. The screenwriter also noted, “First of all, what I remember about Robin was his humility. He could be funny like no one else – it was like he had another monumental voice telling him – be funny – don”t wait!” Williams also had roles in It”s a Shit Christmas Miracle, the story of Boyd Mitchler deciding to spend Christmas with his relatives, and Boulevard, where he played a bank clerk trying to escape a dreary existence and forced to hide his sexual orientation.

Williams had plans to star in a sequel to “Mrs. Doubtfire,” which will probably never be released again. The story with “Mrs. Doubtfire 2” began back in 2001 with Bonnie Hunt. Williams was supposed to return as the same nanny, but due to some problems in early 2006, a rewrite of the script began and the film was expected to be released in late 2007, but the sequel went into “scrap” in mid-2006. The story consisted of Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire “on duty” at her daughter”s college, looking out for her. In an interview for Newsday, Williams attributed the reasons for the cancellation to the fact that “the script just wasn”t working.” In May 2013, Chris Columbus said he had talked to Robin about a sequel and the studio was interested. As of April 17, 2014, the sequel was in development with Fox 2000, and “Elf” screenwriter David Berenbaum had taken over the script. However, Williams” premature death, as well as his personal ban on using his character, put an end to work on the film at an early stage.

In 1986, Williams teamed up with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Cristal to create an annual HBO television show, “Laughing Out Loud,” to bring attention to homeless issues. In total, from 1986 to 1998 (plus the 2006 Hurricane Katrina events), Williams, Cristal and Goldberg visited many homeless shelters and service centers across the country, raising $80 million as of 2014, explaining that Williams felt lucky because he came from a wealthy family but wanted to do something to help those less fortunate. Williams also advocated for women”s rights, increased literacy and veterans” benefits. On May 9, 1990, Robin Williams, along with Whoopi Goldberg, spoke at a U.S. congressional Senate hearing in support of the Homelessness Prevention Enhancement Act, which would have created a system of support services for the homeless with financial assistance from mental health services and housing support centers. That same year, the act passed with increased funding.

Robin Williams has consistently participated in United Service Organizations events: traveling around the world entertaining and encouraging soldiers and their families deployed both overseas and at home. According to the organization, Williams spoke to a total of 89,000 soldiers in 13 countries from 2002 to 2013: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Spain, UAE, Turkey and the United States. Robin Williams was beloved by the American military, perhaps even more so than the American public, but like any sane person, he made a clear distinction between public policy and the needs of ordinary people. After the actor”s death, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel noted in a special statement that the entire “Defense Department community mourns the loss of Robin Williams. Robin was a gifted actor and comedian, but he was also a loyal friend and supporter of our troops. Entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, with his philanthropy and helping veterans fight the hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform. He will be missed by the men and women of the ministry – as many of them were personally touched by his humor and generosity.” And Pentagon spokesman Admiral John Kirby recalled in a microblog on Twitter that “I once asked Robin Williams what advice to give my son, who will soon turn 18. ”Follow your heart,” he said. “The head is not always right.”

Together with his second wife Marsha Williams founded the Windfall Foundation, a charity that helps many foundations. In December 1999, he inspired celebrities from many countries to perform a cover of “It”s Only Rock ”n Roll (But I Like It)” by The Rolling Stones together to help the Children”s Promise Foundation. For several years, Williams supported St. Jude Children”s Research Hospital. After the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, Williams donated all proceeds from his performance of Weapons of Self-Destruction to the rebuilding of Christchurch, a city in New Zealand

In addition, Williams has also helped individuals. As proof, he recorded a video message to 21-year-old Vivian Waller of New Zealand. After doctors diagnosed her with cancer in January 2014, the girl made a list of five things she wanted to complete before she died: get married, celebrate her 21st birthday, see her daughter Sophie celebrate her first birthday, visit the Cook Islands, and meet Williams. Because of her health, she was unable to fly to the U.S., whereupon one of her friends contacted Williams and asked him to record a message, later emailed, in which he said: “Hi, Vivian! This is Robin Williams. How”s it going in New Zealand? I”m sending you all my love, you, Jack and Sophie, so you can cross me off your ”to-do list”” and then sang a short song and sent an air kiss. Vivian and Jack Waller got married in February; their daughter celebrated her first birthday in April. The only thing she hasn”t been able to do is visit Rarotonga because she”s in hospice care in Oakland – because her chemotherapy course has failed. Jack said she couldn”t believe that Williams had fulfilled her dream, and noted that he didn”t discuss his death because it was too painful a topic for Vivian: “We just enjoy life and spending time together.” He admitted that he decided to publish the video after he and his wife learned of Robin”s death, and to show everyone what a wonderful man he was. Williams once rented a private jet to meet up with the seriously ill Jessica Cole. Robin also autographed Henry Cravitt, whose nephew, David, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of cancer, to activate a fundraiser for the treatment, after which he invited them to the set in New York.

Family and Children

In 1976, when Williams was working as a bartender in a San Francisco tavern, he met model and actress Valeria Velardi. On June 4, 1978, they were married. Valerie gave birth to Robin”s son, who was named Zachary Tim Williams (b. 1983). In 1984, Williams had an extramarital affair with waitress Michelle Tish Carter. After 10 years together, Williams and Velardi divorced in 1988.

On April 30, 1989, Robin married Zachary”s nanny, Marsha Garces, who was pregnant with his child. In this marriage he had two children: daughter Zelda Ray (b. 1989) and son Cody Allen (b. 1991). In March 2008, Garces filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.

Robin Williams” third marriage to graphic designer Susan Schneider was officially registered on October 23, 2011, in St. Helena, California. Williams himself believed that the new relationship would help relieve his depression. The location of their residence was Williams” home in San Francisco”s Sea Cliff neighborhood.


During his time at Juilliard, Williams became friends with Christopher Reeve. After an accident in 1995 (Reeve fell from a horse and was paralyzed until his death in 2004) they became even closer friends, Williams visited him often, made him laugh and cheered him up, and even saved him from severe depression. Williams dedicated the Cecil B. DeMille Award to his memory at the 62nd Golden Globe Awards and became an advocate for his family foundation, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. By becoming a member of the foundation”s Board of Directors, he took on the role of advocate for that community, leading to a massive increase in donations. After Reeve”s health insurance ended, Williams paid many of his bills out of his own pocket, and after Reeve”s widow, Dana, died in 2006, he mentally and financially helped their 14-year-old son, William.

Interests and hobbies

Williams supported two sports teams: the San Francisco Forty Niners for soccer and the San Francisco Giants for baseball. He was a sportsman himself: he participated in professional road cycling races when Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France. His pet was his pug “Lenny,” with whom Robin often walked around his San Francisco home.

Although Williams belonged to the Protestant Episcopal Church and often joked about it, he called himself an “honorary Jew. In 2008, on the 60th anniversary of Israel”s Independence Day, Williams appeared at a celebration in Times Square, and congratulated Israel “on its birthday. At the same time, while not practicing any particular religion, Williams read the Koran, wanting to see what lies beyond the Western interpretation of Islam as “a religion with a clause from Smith & Wesson–if you kill an unbeliever, you get the right to heaven.”

Williams was a video game fan and named his two children after video game characters: his daughter after Princess Zelda from “The Legend of Zelda,” but he did not talk about the name choice for his son, Cody. He enjoyed tabletop RPGs and online video games – “Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos,” “Day of Defeat,” “Half-Life,” having previously been a fan of the “Wizardry” series of role-playing games, and also actively played the multiplayer online game “World of Warcraft” by Blizzard Entertainment. Williams spoke at the 2006 Google Consumer Electronics Show program session, a live demo of Spore at the invitation of its creator Will Wright at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Exposition, and was one of several celebrities who participated in Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day 2007 in London.

Robin Williams was an active user of social media, particularly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In his last tweet, dated July 31, 2014, he wished his daughter Zelda a happy birthday: “Happy Birthday, Miss Zelda Williams. You”re a quarter of a century old today, but you”ll always be a baby girl to me,” and on Aug. 1, he posted a picture of her.

Williams” favorite books were the Founding series by Isaac Asimov and, as a child, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Clive Staples Lewis, which Robin, in turn, shared with his children. In music, Williams preferred jazz, particularly Keith Jarrett”s piano solos, and listened to Tom Waits, Radiohead, Prince, and Genesis (in 2007, Williams was personally inducted into the VH1 Rock Honors Hall of Fame).

Circumstances and assumptions

On August 11, 2014, at 11:56 a.m. local time, Robin Williams was found unconscious in his own home at 95 St. Thomas Way in Tiberon, California”s Marin County.Death was pronounced at 12:02 p.m. The Marin County Sheriff”s Office stated that the presumed cause of Williams” death was asphyxiation (suffocation), but final cause of death was determined after a forensic examination and a toxicology test.

Earlier it was reported that in July Williams was undergoing a “sobriety maintenance” program at the Hazelden Foundation rehab center in Lindstrom, Minnesota due to alcohol and drug problems.The actor”s personal assistant stated that he was “struggling with severe depression,” but did not confirm the suicide theory. In addition, Williams tried to sell the 640-acre Villa Smiles estate in California for $29.9 million because of financial difficulties and agreed to star in the unsuccessful series “Crazy”.But in 2012 his fortune was estimated at $130 million, and in 2009 he created a fund for his children that pays them his inheritance upon reaching a certain age.

On August 12, Lieutenant Keith Boyd of the Marin County Police Department officially pronounced Williams” cause of death to be asphyxiation, namely hanging from a belt. In addition, several cuts were found on his arm and a penknife was found nearby. Boyd reported that around 10 p.m. Aug. 10, Robin Williams was last seen alive by his wife. On August 11, she thought Robin was sleeping in another bedroom and left the house at 10:30 a.m. Around noon, Williams did not respond to a knock on the door of Rebecca”s personal assistant and close friend, Erwin Spencer. She rushed into the bedroom and found Robin dressed by a chair “in a sitting position with a belt fastened around his neck, the other end of the belt wedged between the door leading to the dressing room and the door frame,” and then called 911 emergency services.

On August 14, Susan Schneider reported that Robin Williams suffered from Parkinson”s disease at an early stage and “was not prepared to share it with the public,” and had pathological anxiety and depression before his death. She rejected versions of Williams” drug and alcohol use, saying that “his greatest legacy is, in addition to his three children, the joy and happiness he gave to others, especially those who faced personal problems.” An unnamed friend of Williams reported that the day before his death they had discussed plans for the future, saying Robin was sad but “was totally immersed in the conversation” and asked many clarifying questions. Williams” close friend, actor and comedian Rob Schneider, noted that Robin had begun taking a new medication for Parkinson”s disease, one of the side effects of which is suicidal moods.

Several prominent publications, including The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, and The Guardian, published telephone numbers for psychological help at the end of articles about Williams.


Robin Williams” body was cremated the day after his death and his ashes scattered in Marin County over the San Francisco Bay. At the same time, community activists began collecting signatures in support of a petition to rename the Waldo Tunnel stretching north from the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County in Williams” honor. After receiving consent from Williams” family and 57,000 online signatures on the petition, California State Assemblyman Mark Levin formally introduced a bill to rename the site the “Robin Williams Tunnel.” The tunnel was officially renamed in 2016.

Final results of the investigation

Williams” autopsy results, including toxicology tests, were supposed to be released on September 20, 2014, but their publication was delayed until November 3, and then a later date because the studies took more than six weeks to complete.

On November 7, Marin County Assistant Deputy Coroner Lieutenant Keith Boyd reported the outcome of an investigation into Williams” death that concluded he died as a result of suicide. According to the results of the examination, the deceased had no alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of death, but only four varieties of medication: two types of antidepressants and two types of caffeine compounds prescribed in therapeutic concentrations. Next to the body was a sealed bottle of seroquel prescribed to Williams two weeks before his death. According to the report, the body was found around 11:45 a.m. by a personal assistant who had left the house at 11:30 a.m. and had used paper clips to open the locked bedroom door. Williams was found in a sitting position on the bedroom floor with a belt tied around his neck and the other end wedged between the closet door and the door frame. Williams was wearing a black, short-sleeved T-shirt and black, fully buttoned jeans with a discharged phone in the pocket, which showed no messages. There were several cuts on the inside of his left arm with little blood drained out, a pocket knife lying nearby, and a damp washcloth with suspected blood traces in the bathroom. The last phone call lasted 38 seconds and was made at 7:09 a.m. to Susan Williams” wife to report a selection of magazines at the bookstore. On the evening before he died, Williams took some wristwatches and placed them in a sock and took them to someone”s house for “safekeeping.” According to Williams” wife, this was a sign of developing paranoia, and Williams himself may have learned about the suicide technique from his role in the movie The Best Daddy, in which the main character”s son dies of autoerotic asphyxiation.

In the first interview since Williams” death, Susan Schneider spoke about his life to journalist Amy Roback, host of ABC”s “Good Morning America,” broadcast Nov. 3, 2015.Schneider stated that depression did not kill Robin. She said depression was only a small part of about 50 symptoms.The widow described Robin”s disease, dementia with Levi”s bodies, as “chemical warfare in the brain,” like a sea monster with fifty tentacles that show themselves when they please. Schneider said he had had a “never-ending parade of symptoms” since the fall of 2013, and not all of them showed up at once. She noted that Robin had been sober for about eight years, but the last few years had been a nightmare, as he had difficulty moving and talking — he could be completely himself one moment and then five minutes later start saying something unintelligible. She acknowledged that the doctors did everything right. “It”s just that this disease was faster and bigger than us. We still would have come to the same thing,” Susan said. She explained that had Robin not taken his own life, he would have died within the next three years anyway, in the time frame given by doctors after being diagnosed with Parkinson”s disease in the early stages, because in the final weeks before his death he was fading before his eyes, and there was a possibility of his being involuntarily hospitalized. Speaking about the reasons for the suicide, Schneider said she spent the last year after her husband”s death trying to figure out what they were struggling with and what killed Robin, and one of the doctors told her: “Robin was well aware that he was losing his mind and there was nothing he could do about it.” The actor”s widow said she did not condemn Williams in any way, calling him “one of the bravest people she ever knew. “At the end of the interview, Schneider recalled Williams” last words and said: “I was lying in bed and he came into the room a couple of times … and said – ”Good night, my love.” Then he came back in again. He came out with his ipad, looking into it and doing something. And the thought flashed through – “I think he”s getting better.” And then he said: “Good night, good night.” That was goodbye. “Dementia with Levi”s corpuscles is the third most common type of dementia after Alzheimer”s disease and vascular dementia, characterized by abnormalities in the brain manifested by dramatic changes in the level of mental abilities, recurrent visual persistent hallucinations, problems with movement and motor skills, as a result of which the affected person cannot live an ordinary life: think normally, sleep, stay awake, believe what he sees, move, understand what is happening, be happy

Family, actors, officials

Mara Buxbaum, a spokeswoman for the actor, stated: “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He had been struggling lately with severe depression. This is a very unexpected loss for us. Relatives and loved ones ask that you show respect for their privacy during such a difficult time.” Williams” wife Susan Schneider noted, “I lost my husband and my best friend, and the world lost one of its most beloved artists and most beautiful people. I am absolutely heartbroken. We hope the focus will not be on Robin”s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.” Williams” daughter, Zelda Rae, posted a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry”s “The Little Prince” on her microblog on Twitter: “You will look up at the sky at night, and there will be a star like that where I live, where I laugh – and you will hear that all the stars are laughing. You”ll have stars that can laugh!” adding, “Love you, miss you, I”ll try to look up at the sky.” However, Zelda later deleted her account because of the bullying and insults by users against her father, asking on Instagram to respect family and friends, otherwise “to those who will send negativity … his giggling part will send a flock of pigeons to the house to desecrate their car. Just the one that just got washed. After all, he liked to laugh too much.” Shortly after Zelda contacted Twitter”s administration, senior director of security Del Harvey said on behalf of company management, “We are not going to tolerate this kind of behavior. We are currently evaluating the situation and working through a series of policy improvements to avoid similar tragic incidents in the future. However, shortly after receiving letters of support from users, Zelda returned to Twitter, writing “thank you,” and the company”s promises had no discernible effect.

Immediately after the news of the actor”s tragic death, his home in Tiburon was slowly surrounded by bouquets of flowers from neighbors and well-wishers.On Williams” name star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, fans began to bring flowers and parting notes, constructing a makeshift memorial. Flowers began to be brought to iconic locations of Williams” television and film career, such as the Boston Public Garden bench from Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire”s home in Pacific Heights, and the house in Boulder used for the filming of Mork and Mindy.On the evening of August 13, the lights on the gables of Broadway theaters in New York were turned off in memory of Williams. At the screening of the musical “Aladdin,” the audience joined the cast in singing the song “Friend Like Me,” which Williams sang in the 1992 animated film of the same name.At the same time, a video compilation of Williams” best performances hit number one on YouTube”s list of most viewed videos of the week, garnering 4 million views. In this regard, University College London professor Thomas Chamorro-Premusik noted that public reaction to the death of a celebrity “can often be expressed in mourning without true grief,” based “more on polite cultural etiquette and mindless media consumption than a symptom of collective suffering,” but “on the other hand, when popular mourning is accompanied by genuine grief-as in the case of true loss-the media can act as a social buffer for human loneliness. When others see our mourning, social media can play a positive role for the mourners, eliciting a strikingly altruistic response from others.

Many celebrities have paid tribute to Williams” talent and personality. One of the first was his friend comedian Steve Martin, who wrote on Twitter: “I couldn”t help but be shocked by the death of Robin Williams, a real man, a great talent, a scene partner, a genuine soul.” Billy Crystal simply wrote on his Twitter page: “No words,” and Whoopi Goldberg responded, “Billy Crystal is right … Really, no words.” Ben Affleck wrote on Facebook that he was “heartbroken,” and Matt Damon said, “Robin brought so much joy into my life that will stay with me forever. He was such a wonderful person. I was lucky enough to know him, and I will never, ever forget him.” Mel Gibson admitted he was shocked by the news and also called Williams “a compassionate man with a big heart.” Ellen DeGeneres wrote on her microblog, “I can”t believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. My heart is broken.” Danny DeVito also said of his broken heart, later adding that “It”s sad to think about it. It”s hard to say. It”s hard to say. It”s hard to accept. All I can think about is the joy it brought. I am devastated. I send my love to his family and everyone who loves him. My heart breaks at this news.” Steven Spielberg wrote that “Robin was a thunderous discharge of humor, and he drew his genius comic potential from the thunderous roar of our laughter. He was a friend, and I can”t believe he”s gone.” Hugh Jackman, who met Williams at the voiceover of the cartoon “Do the Feet 2,” posted a photo with him backstage at the Tony Awards on Instagram, with the caption, “Robin Williams – You made us laugh while we cried. Rest in peace, brother.” John Travolta noted that “I have never known a nicer, brighter, more considerate person than Robin. Robin as an artist and uplifter makes us happier than anyone else. He loved us all, and we loved him too.” Meryl Streep said in an interview with NBC that “it”s hard to imagine, but the unstoppable energy stopped. He was such a generous soul.” Stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard said, “Robin Williams died and I”m very sad. On behalf of every comedian here at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we bless him and say goodbye.” Terry Gilliam noted on Facebook that “Robin Williams – the most amazing, funny, brilliant, profound and silly wonder of the mind and spirit – has left the planet. He had a huge heart, a friend of the fireball, a wonderful gift from the gods. Now the selfish bastards have taken him back. To hell with them!” Comedian Judd Apatow confessed that “when I was 18, I took a job as an intern on ”Laughing Diffuse” just to be around him. A genius and a truly kind man who made the world a better place.” Actor Steve Carell also noted that “Robin Williams made the world a little better. Rest in peace.”

Meanwhile, there was also criticism of the late Williams. Musician Henry Rollins, for example, while acknowledging Williams” acting talent and “that his personal struggles were very real,” said: “How can you be a parent and kill yourself? How can you do that to your own children? I don”t care how independent your children are. Choosing suicide instead of ”staying with your children” is horrible, tragic, and strange,” adding that “after this act I can no longer take this man seriously.” These words drew criticism from the actor”s fans, and Rollins apologized on his website, noting that “I feel disgusted that I was able to offend so many people. Offending you was not my intention. I”ve had depression in my life, at times very distressing. Having experienced it all, I thought I should have known all about it, but I didn”t. I am always angry when I hear that someone died this way. I wasn”t angry at them, I was angry at what led them to it and at the fact that no one miraculously managed to save their lives. Some time later, director and writer Sam Shepard philosophically compared Robin Williams to Philip Seymour Hoffman, whom he had seen the week before his death, saying he suspected nothing of their fate:

He was overweight, even too overweight, you might say. And he was very tired. He said he was going to go back and take a nap… See, I don”t think by that he meant suicide; I think he had bad heroin. I didn”t realize then that he was acting like most of these junkies. I knew Robin very well, and Robin knew he wanted to get over it-he had Parkinson”s. The two guys were very similar in that they were both overwhelmed with their own affairs. I know a lot of people who have died–who have put their hands on themselves. But you know, Patti is a good old friend of mine,” she wrote a review of Murakami”s new book that appeared in the New York Times, and at the end she added: “I don”t want to kill myself if I”m interested in life.” And that”s for sure. I believe her.

Sesame Street”s Twitter posted a photo of Williams with one of the characters from the program and wrote that “we mourn the loss of our friend Robin Williams, who always made us laugh and smile.” On the same social network, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences posted a photo from the “Aladdin” cartoon with the caption “Genie, you are free. “However, the tweet sparked a negative reaction from media and community organizations, with Christina Mutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, saying that “if he is not crossing the line, he is getting too close to it. Suicide should never be presented as a solution. It”s potentially ”contagious” and can lead to copycats,” and Ged Flynn, executive director of the youth outreach charity Papyrus, noted that “using a tweet can be seen as testing vulnerable young people as to whether suicide is an option. The most important conclusion after this sad death is this: if you feel suicidal intentions, talk to someone who can help you to guide you through the dark times.”

On August 24 at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Williams was honored with a 23-second video featuring a selection of photos of him in famous looks, accompanied by the song “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay. However, some viewers found the video to be mediocre, comparing it to a beginner”s PowerPoint presentation. It has been reported that Williams” memory will be memorialized by his appearance in the game World of Warcraft as a non-player character, as pointed out by lead developer Jon Hatzikostas, based on a personality or role he played in the past.

On August 25, Williams was honored at the Hollywood Emmy Awards, with Robin”s friend Billy Crystal hosting a segment, “In Memoriam.” Earlier, ceremony producer Don Mischer said that “while we”re all recovering from this week”s tragic news, we”re working to give Robin Williams the decent and meaningful tribute he deserves.” As a result, a tribute to James Avery, Maya Angelou, Lauren Bacall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Casey Kaysem, Don Pardo, Harold Ramis, Mickey Rooney, Elaine Stritch, and Sarah Barellis” performance of the classic Charlie Chaplin song, “Smile,” was performed, Shirley Temple and many other film personalities who have passed away over the past year, and the ceremony concluded with a special speech by Cristal about Williams, accompanied by a display of photographs and videos from his life and career, in which Bill said

Every time you saw him–on TV, in movies, in nightclubs, arenas, hospitals, homeless shelters, troops overseas, and even in the living room of a dying girl for her last wish–he made us laugh. Very much so. I spent many happy hours with Robin on stage. The brilliance was astounding, the indefatigable energy breathtaking. I used to think if I could just back him up for even eight seconds, everything would be fine. Being a genius on stage, he was the best friend you can imagine: supportive, protective, loving. It”s very hard to talk about him in the past tense, because he”s still present in all of our lives. For nearly 40 years he was the brightest star in the comic galaxy, but some of the brightest celestial bodies have actually died, their molten energy long since cooled, but miraculously, because they float so far away from us in the sky now, their beautiful light will continue to shine for us always. And the glow will be so bright that it will warm your heart and make your eyes water, and you will think to yourself, Robin Williams, what a creature it was.

In 2018, Dave Itzkoff, an American journalist and reporter for The New York Times Magazine, released a biography of the actor titled “Robin Williams. The Sad Comedian Who Made the World Laugh” (original title “Robin”). Meeting with relatives and friends of the actor, the author recounted notable facts about Robin Williams” life and career. Including the revelations concerned the actor”s moral and physical state just before his death.

Dispute about inheritance and rights

Nearly six months after Robin Williams” death, his wife and children initiated legal action. In December 2014, Williams” widow Susan Schneider filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court in which she claimed that some items had been removed from their shared home in Tiburon without her knowledge and asked the court to exclude the $7 million home, along with all of its contents, including jewelry, memorabilia and other items that Williams had bequeathed to his children, from the will altogether. In January 2015, Williams” children from previous marriages, Zach, Cody and Zelda, filed a countersuit, noting that Schneider “insulted the memory” of their father by inflicting “terrible trauma” through her attempts to alter the terms of a contract that outlined his desire to dispose of his assets, drawing the court”s attention to the fact that she had been married to him for less than three years and therefore had no rights to items Williams acquired and acquired before the union, including his second home in Napa. The two parties also disagreed on the items deposited, including Williams” watch collection. Williams” estate totals $45 million and includes his personal effects, clothing, photographs, printed novels, filmography, collectibles and awards, including Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy and Grammy statuettes.


  1. Уильямс, Робин
  2. Robin Williams