Robin Williams the comical mastermind behind the electric mind, whose variety of abilities left us gasping. The one whose life’s work was to make other people smile and laugh; he amazed and amused us right up until death. He seemed to enjoy life to the fullest, jumping from one famous film part to the next. In reality, Robin Williams was a sensitive and delicate man who was severely depressed and tortured by his own demons, despite his outwardly pleasant and manic demeanor.
Robin Williams enjoyed a level of popularity rarely seen among comedy greats. His life has been riddled with tragedy. It encourages us to see behind the facade of those who seem to have it all together. His legacy will be remembered long after his own works have been forgotten. We recognize the life and untimely death of a really remarkable comedic icon…and one of the greatest comedians of all time.
Childhood and Adolescence
Robin Todd Williams entered the world on July 21, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois. Williams came from a prestigious background. Robert, his father, was a high-ranking executive at Lincoln-Mercury Motors in charge of the Midwest region. His mother, Lauren, was a former model from New Orleans. Robin and his family relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area while he was a freshman in high school. Robin was a quiet child who seldom ever opened his mouth. His spot-on portrayal of his grandma was one of the few indicators that he might one day become a comedian. After that, he didn’t start to truly open himself until he started acting in high school plays.
Robin graduated from Redwood High in Larkspur, California, and then went on to College of Marin in Kentfield. Afterward, he moved to New York City to attend the illustrious Julliard School. There, Robin would make a lifelong buddy in future Super Man actor Christopher Reeve. At Julliard, Robin was advised by a professor to pursue stand-up comedy instead of drama. After receiving this recommendation, Williams started performing stand-up comedy all throughout New York. His unpredictable antics and hilarious one-liners won the hearts of the audience in no time.
The doors of Hollywood opened for him, and he was cast as the alien Mork on the TV show Happy Days. After his time on the program was so well received, creator Garry Marshall started working on a new series that would focus entirely on Robin’s character. That sitcom, of course, was “Mork & Mindy,” and it ran for four seasons (1978–1981). For each episode of Mork Robin was paid $35,000, which is equivalent to almost $130,000 in today’s dollars. With his newfound notoriety, Robin went on to create three highly successful comedy specials for HBO.
A live-action “Popeye” and “The World According to Garp” were Robin’s first two cinematic roles. Robin acted in scores of hit movies, both humorous and dramatic, during the next 30 years. Good Will Hunting, The Fisher King, and One Hour Photo are just a few of his most well-known dramatic roles. Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji are two of his other hugely successful films. Both “Good Will Hunting” and “Good Morning, Vietnam” earned Robin an Academy Award nomination, and the former won the award for best-supporting actor.
Lifestyle and Demise
Robin had three wives: first, Valerie Velardi, with whom he was married from 1978 to 1988; second, Marsha Garces, with whom he was married from 1989 to 2010; and third, Susan Schneider, with whom he was married from 2011 until his death.
The combined divorce payments he paid out to his first two spouses apparently totaled over $30 million. It appears that Robin Williams committed suicide on August 11, 2014, at his home in Tiburon, California. At 63 years old, he apparently suffered from acute depression. He left behind two sons and a daughter from his second marriage.