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Robin Williams

Robin WilliamsAKA Robin McLaurin Williams

Born: 21-Jul-1951 [1]
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Died: 11-Aug-2014
Location of death: Tiburon, CA
Cause of death: Suicide
Remains: Cremated (ashes scattered in San Francisco Bay)

Gender: Male
Religion: Anglican/Episcopalian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Comic, Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Mork from Ork

The young Robin Williams was a manic comic, shooting off bizarre but hilarious improvisations like a Fourth of July sparkler. He wrote and performed for The Richard Pryor Show, a brilliant but censor-saddled sketch comedy show that lasted just four episodes in 1977 before NBC pulled the plug. In 1978 Williams made a guest appearance on Happy Days, playing the space alien Mork from Ork. This quickly led to his own sitcom, Mork & Mindy, co-starring Pam Dawber.

His first big-screen role was the perplexing Popeye, with Robert Altman directing a screenplay by Jules Feiffer, music and lyrics by Harry Nilsson, Shelley Duvall perfect as Olive Oyl and Williams giving a spot-on rendition of the spinach-eatin' sailor's hug-gug-gug. In his second film, Williams played T. S. Garp in an enjoyable albeit saccharin and sentimental adaptation of John Irving's The World According to Garp, and he has been a major star ever since. His better films include Moscow on the Hudson, Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, and, if you have a high tolerance for schmaltz, Patch Adams.

As Williams' youth faded and his fans grew older, the audience for his wacky comedy ebbed. The same schtick that seemed cute and mischievous in his mid-20s, la Mork & Mindy, could seem a little sad when performed by someone in his 40s or 50s (see Flubber). So Williams tiptoed away from comedic films, and reinvented himself as a 'serious' actor, headlining somewhat overwrought melodramas like One Hour Photo and Insomnia. He won an Oscar as Matt Damon's psychologist in Good Will Hunting.

Williams was reportedly one of the last people to see John Belushi alive, as they snorted cocaine together. An '80s live-in girlfriend of Williams, cocktail waitress Michelle Tish Carter, sued Williams in 1986, claiming she had contracted herpes from him. She demanded $6.2 million, and the suit was settled in 1992 when Williams forked over an undisclosed amount. Williams was a good friend of Christopher Reeve, but there's no truth to the talk that Williams picked up the tab for years of Reeve's medical expenses.

Williams continued performing stand-up, often headlining "Comic Relief" events for charity, and donating his services for liberal fundraising events. He was an outspoken critic of President George W. Bush. "The W stands for 'where the hell is it?' You know, you look at George W. and you realize some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some get it as a graduation gift. So sad. I just want to ask the Secret Service, is it true that his Secret Service code name is Gilligan?"

Reportedly deep in depression, he took his own life in 2014. His widow later revealed that Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.

[1] Sources vary, 1951 or 1952.

Father: Robert Williams (Ford Motor Company executive, b. 1901, d. Oct-1987)
Mother: Laurie Williams (model, b. 1922)
Brother: Robert Todd Williams (stepbrother, winemaker, d. 14-Aug-2007)
Christy Canyon (porn star, dated in 1980s)
Wife: Valerie Velardi (then a dancer, now an NPR producer, m. 4-Jun-1978, div. 1988, one son)
Son: Zachary Williams (b. 1983)
Girlfriend: Michelle Tish Carter (cocktail waitress, cohabited 1984-86)
Wife: Marsha Garces (Williams' personal assistant, b. 1957, m. 30-Apr-1989, div. 2008, two children)
Daughter: Zelda Williams (b. 31-Jul-1989)
Son: Cody Williams (b. 25-Nov-1991)
Wife: Susan Schneider (graphic designer, m. 23-Oct-2011 until his death)

    High School: Redwood High School, Larkspur, CA (1969)
    University: Political Science, Claremont Men's College (dropped out)
    University: Drama, Marin College
    Conservatory: Drama, Juilliard School

    Al Franken for Senate
    Amnesty International
    Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation Board Member
    The Creative Coalition Advisory Board
    Dean for America
    Sigma Nu Fraternity
    Endorsement of Google Consumer Electronics Show keynote, Las Vegas, NV (6-Jan-2006)
    Endorsement of Mars Snickers (2013)
    Visited Burning Man
    Oscar for Best Supporting Actor 1998 for Good Will Hunting
    Golden Globe 1979 for Mork & Mindy
    Golden Globe 1988 for Good Morning, Vietnam
    Golden Globe 1992 for The Fisher King
    Golden Globe 1993 for Aladdin (special award for vocal work)
    Golden Globe 1994 for Mrs. Doubtfire
    Emmy 1987 for Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin
    Grammy 2003 for Robin Williams\: Live 2002 (spoken comedy album)
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 6901 Hollywood Blvd. (motion pictures)
    unknown detox facility Aug-2006
    Scottish Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Cocaine, Alcoholism, Dyslexia, Parkinson's

    The Crazy Ones Simon Roberts (2013-14)
    Mork and Mindy Mork from Ork (1978-82)

    Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (Jan-2018) · Himself
    Absolutely Anything (12-Aug-2015) [VOICE]
    Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (17-Dec-2014)
    A Merry Friggin' Christmas (17-Oct-2014)
    Altman (1-Aug-2014) · Himself
    The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (23-May-2014)
    Boulevard (20-Apr-2014)
    The Face of Love (12-Sep-2013)
    Lee Daniels' The Butler (5-Aug-2013)
    The Big Wedding (26-Apr-2013)
    Happy Feet Two (17-Nov-2011) · Lovelace [VOICE]
    Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) (2010) · Himself
    Old Dogs (25-Nov-2009) · Dan
    Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (14-May-2009) · Teddy Roosevelt
    World's Greatest Dad (25-Apr-2009) · Lance
    Shrink (5-Feb-2009)
    Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story (2009) · Himself
    Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth (May-2008) · Himself
    August Rush (20-Oct-2007)
    Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (13-Oct-2007) · Himself
    License to Wed (3-Jul-2007)
    Certifiably Jonathan (1-Mar-2007) · Himself
    Night at the Museum (21-Dec-2006)
    Happy Feet (16-Nov-2006) [VOICE]
    Man of the Year (13-Oct-2006)
    Everyone's Hero (15-Sep-2006) [VOICE]
    R. V. (28-Apr-2006)
    The Night Listener (21-Jan-2006)
    The Big White (13-May-2005) · Paul
    Robots (10-Mar-2005) [VOICE]
    The Aristocrats (Jan-2005) · Himself
    House of D (7-May-2004) · Pappass
    The Final Cut (11-Feb-2004) · Alan Hakman
    Robin Williams: Live on Broadway (14-Jul-2002) · Himself
    Insomnia (3-May-2002) · Walter Finch
    Death to Smoochy (28-Feb-2002)
    One Hour Photo (13-Jan-2002) · Seymour Parrish
    America: A Tribute to Heroes (21-Sep-2001) · Himself
    Artificial Intelligence: AI (26-Jun-2001) [VOICE]
    Bicentennial Man (13-Dec-1999)
    Jakob the Liar (24-Sep-1999) · Jakob
    Get Bruce (24-Jan-1999) · Himself
    Patch Adams (21-Oct-1998) · Patch Adams
    What Dreams May Come (28-Sep-1998) · Chris Nielsen
    Good Will Hunting (5-Dec-1997) · Sean
    Flubber (26-Nov-1997) · Prof. Philip Brainard
    Deconstructing Harry (26-Aug-1997)
    Father's Day (9-May-1997)
    Hamlet (25-Dec-1996)
    Aladdin and the King of Thieves (13-Aug-1996) [VOICE]
    Jack (9-Aug-1996) · Jack Powell
    The Birdcage (8-Mar-1996) · Armand Goldman
    Jumanji (15-Dec-1995) · Alan Parrish
    Nine Months (12-Jul-1995) · Dr. Kosevich
    Being Human (6-May-1994)
    Mrs. Doubtfire (24-Nov-1993) · Daniel Hillard
    It's the Monty Python Story (1993) · Himself
    A Spinal Tap Reunion: The 25th Anniversary London Sell-Out (31-Dec-1992) · Himself
    Toys (18-Dec-1992) · Leslie Zevo
    Aladdin (11-Nov-1992) [VOICE]
    FernGully: The Last Rainforest (10-Apr-1992) · Batty Koda [VOICE]
    Shakes the Clown (13-Mar-1992)
    I'm From Hollywood (1992) · Himself
    Hook (11-Dec-1991) · Peter Banning
    The Fisher King (13-Sep-1991)
    Dead Again (23-Aug-1991) · Dr. Cozy Carlisle
    A Wish for Wings That Work (1991) · The Kiwi [VOICE]
    Awakenings (20-Dec-1990) · Dr. Malcolm Sayer
    Cadillac Man (18-May-1990) · Joey O'Brien
    Dead Poets Society (2-Jun-1989) · John Keating
    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (8-Dec-1988)
    Good Morning, Vietnam (23-Dec-1987) · Adrian Cronauer
    Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (Oct-1987) [VOICE]
    Seize the Day (9-Sep-1986)
    Club Paradise (11-Jul-1986) · Jack Moniker
    The Best of Times (31-Jan-1986) · Jack Dundee
    Robin Williams: Live at the Met (1986) · Himself
    Moscow on the Hudson (6-Apr-1984) · Vladimir Ivanoff
    The Survivors (22-Jun-1983)
    The World According to Garp (23-Jul-1982)
    Popeye (12-Dec-1980) · Popeye
    Can I Do It 'Till I Need Glasses? (Aug-1977) · Himself

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