Williams, Robin 1951(?)–

views updated Jun 11 2018

Williams, Robin 1951(?)–

(Ray DiTutto, Marty Fromage, Sudy Nim, George Spelvin, Ray D. Tutto)


Full name, Robin McLaurin Williams; born July 21, 1951 (some sources cite 1952), in Chicago, IL; son of Robert W. (an auto executive) and Laurie (a fashion model) Williams; married Valerie Velardi (an actress and dancer), June 4, 1978 (divorced, c. 1988); married Marsha Garces (a producer), April 30, 1989 (separated, 2008); children: (first marriage) Zachary Pym; (second marriage) Zelda Rae, Cody Alan. Education: Attended Claremont Men's College and College of Marin; trained with John Houseman at Juilliard School, 1973–76. Avocational Interests: Bicycling.

Addresses: Office—Blue Wolf Productions, 3145 Geary Blvd., Suite 524, San Francisco, CA 94118. Agent—Creative Artists Agency, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Manager—David Steinberg, MBST Entertainment, 234 North Maple Dr., Suite 200, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Publicist- I/D Public Relations, 8409 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069.

Career: Actor, voice artist, comedian, producer, director, and writer. Blue Wolf Productions, San Francisco, CA, cofounder and principal. Worked as a street mime in New York City; past member of the Committee (improvisational comedy troupe), San Francisco; member of comedy workshops in San Francisco and Hollywood, CA, 1970s; standup comedian in comedy clubs, including the Holy City Zoo, the Boardinghouse, the Intersection, and the Great American Music Hall, all San Francisco, the Improv, the Ice House, and the Comedy Store, all Los Angeles, and the MGM Grand casino, Las Vegas, NV, 2004; toured military bases in Iraq, 2004, 2007. Epcot Center, voice of General Knowledge for the attraction Cranium Command; Disney–Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer Studios, voice of guide for The Magic of Disney Animation; appeared in commercials, including an ad for St. Jude's Children's Hospital, 2004, and print advertisements, including one for a reading campaign, Association of American Publishers, 2001; host of an Internet weekly broad castseries, 2000. Rubicon (restaurant), San Francisco, co–owner; also owner of a vineyard in northern California. Worked at an organic ice cream parlor in Mill Valley, CA, and as a bartender in San Francisco, CA.

Awards, Honors: Golden Apple Award, discovery of the year, Hollywood Women's Press Club, 1978; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, Golden Globe Award, best actor in a television comedy series, People's Choice Award, best male performer in a new television program, all 1979, Golden Globe Award nomination, 1980, TV Land Award nominations, favorite fish out of water and superlatively supernatural character, 2004, and TV Land Awards, most out of this world character, 2006, 2006, all for Mork & Mindy; Grammy Award, best comedy recording, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1979, for RealityWhat a Concept; Grammy Award nomination, best new artist, 1979; Grammy Award nomination, best comedy recording, 1983, for Throbbing Python of Love; Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a comedy or musical motion picture, 1985, for Moscow on the Hudson; Emmy Award, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 1987, for A Carol Burnett Special: Carol, Carl, Whoopi, and Robin; American Comedy Award, funniest television star in a special, 1987, for Robin Williams: An Evening at the Met; Grammy Award, best comedy recording, 1987, for A Night at the Met; American Comedy Awards, funniest male performer of the year, 1987 and 1988; American Comedy Awards, best male standup comic, 1987, 1988, and 1989; Grammy Award, best comedy recording, 1988, for soundtrack album of Good Morning, Vietnam; Emmy Award, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 1988, for ABC Presents a Royal Gala; American Comedy Award, funniest male performer in a television special, 1988, for Comic Relief II; American Cinematheque Award, 1988; Golden Globe Award, best actor in a musical or comedy, American Comedy Award, funniest actor in a motion picture, and Academy Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a leading role, all 1988, and Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1989, all for Good Morning, Vietnam; Grammy Award (with Ry Cooder), best children's recording, 1989, for Rabbit Ears: Pecos Bill; named Hasty Pudding Man of the Year, Hasty Pud- ding Theatricals, Harvard University, 1989; Academy Award nomination, best actor, Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a film, and Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, all 1990, for Dead Poets Society; American Comedy Award, funniest male performer in a television special, 1990, for Comic Relief III; National Board of Review Award, best actor, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a motion picture drama, both 1990, for Awakenings; Golden Apple Award (with Kevin Costner), 1991; honorary doctorate, Juilliard School, 1991; Humanitarian Award, Crystal Awards, Women in Film, 1991; Golden Globe Award, best actor in a musical or comedy, Academy Award nomination, best actor, and Saturn Award nomination, best actor, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, all 1992, for The Fisher King; special National Board of Review Award, 1992, Golden Globe Award, special achievement, Saturn Award, best supporting actor, and MTV Movie Award, best comedic performance, all 1993, all for Aladdin; Saturn Award nomination, best actor, 1993, for Toys; Golden Globe Award, best actor in a motion picture musical or comedy, American Comedy Award, funniest lead actor in a motion picture, MTV Movie Award, best comedic performance, and MTV Movie Award nomination, best male performance, all 1994, for Mrs. Doubtfire; ShoWest Award, male star of the year, National Association of Theatre Owners, 1994; People's Choice Award, favorite comedy movie actor, 1994; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding guest actor in a drama series, 1994, for "Bop Gun," Homicide: Life on the Street; Annual Cable ACE Award, best entertainment host, National Cable Television Association, 1994, for Shakespeare: The Animated Tales; Saturn Award nomination, best actor, and nomination for Blimp Award, favorite movie actor, Kids' Choice Awards, both 1996, for Jumanji; American Comedy Award nomination, funniest supporting actor in a motion picture, 1996, for Nine Months; Emmy Award nomination (with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg), outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 1996, for Comic Relief VII; Screen Actors Guild Award (with others), outstanding cast performance, MTV Movie Award nominations, best comedic performance and best on– screen duo (with Nathan Lane), all 1997, for The Birdcage; Blimp Award nomination, favorite movie actor, 1997, for Jack; Academy Award, best supporting actor, Screen Actors Guild Award, best supporting actor, Golden Globe Award nomination, best supporting actor in a motion picture drama, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best supporting actor in a motion picture drama, International Press Academy, and Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding performance by a cast, all 1998, for Good Will Hunting; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actor or actress in a family film, and Blimp Award nomination, favorite movie actor, both 1998, for Flubber; Annie Award nomination, outstanding voice acting by a male performer in an animated television production, International Animated Film Society, 1998, for GreatMinds Think for Themselves; American Comedy Award nomination, funniest lead actor in a motion picture, Golden Globe Award nomination and Golden Satellite Award nomination, both best actor in a comedy or musical motion picture, all 1999, for Patch Adams; American Comedy Award nomination, funniest male performer in a television special, 1999, for Comic Relief VIII; Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actor in a comedy, and Blimp Award nomination, favorite movie actor, both 2000, for Bicentennial Man; AFI Star Award, U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, 2000; Saturn Award, nomination for Critics Choice Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association, and Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, all best actor, and Golden Satellite Award nomination, best actor in amotion picture drama, all 2003, for One Hour Photo; Saturn Award nomination, best supporting actor, 2003, for Insomnia; Emmy Award nominations, outstanding performance in a variety of music program and outstanding writing for a variety, music, or comedy program, both 2003, for Robin Williams: Live on Broadway; Grammy Award, best spoken comedy album, 2003, for Robin Williams—Live 2002; TV Land Award nomination, best move from small screen to silver screen, 2003; TV Land Award, big star—little screen favorite, 2004; Cecil B. DeMille Award, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, 2005; Lifetime Achievement Award, Hollywood Film Festival, 2006; Visual Effects Society Award nomination (with others), outstanding animated character in an animated motion picture, and Blimp Award nomination, favorite voice from an animated feature film, both 2006, for Robots; TV Land Award nomination, little screen—big star favorite male, 2006; People's Choice Awards, favorite funny male star, 2007, 2008; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding guest actor in a drama series, 2008, for "Authority," Law& Order: Special Victims Unit; received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Film Appearances:

Himself, Can I Do It'till I Need Glasses, 1977.

Boy on beach, Children of Babylon, Rainbow, 1980.

Title role, Popeye, Paramount, 1980.

T. S. Garp, The World According to Garp, Warner Bros.,1982.

Donald Quinelle, The Survivors, Columbia, 1983.

Vladimir Ivanoff, Moscow on the Hudson, Columbia, 1984.

Jack Dundee, The Best of Times, Universal, 1986.

Jack Moniker, Club Paradise, Warner Bros., 1986.

Adrian Cronauer, Good Morning, Vietnam, Buena Vista, 1987.

(Uncredited) Air conditioning salesman, Portrait of aWhite Marriage, 1988.

John Keating, Dead Poets Society, Buena Vista, 1989.

(As Ray D. Tutto) King of the moon, The Adventures ofBaron Munchausen (also known as Die Abenteuer des Baron von Muenchhausen), Columbia/TriStar, 1989.

Dr. Malcolm Sayer, Awakenings, Columbia, 1990.

Joey O'Brien, Cadillac Man, Orion, 1990.

Himself, Back to Neverland, 1990.

Dr. Cozy Carlisle, Dead Again, Paramount, 1991.

Parry, The Fisher King, TriStar, 1991.

Peter Banning/Peter Pan, Hook, TriStar, 1991.

Leslie Zevo, Toys, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.

(As Marty Fromage) Mime Jerry, Shakes the Clown, IRS Releasing, 1992.

Himself, I'm from Hollywood, 1992.

Voice of Batty Koda, Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest (animated; also known as FernGully 1), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.

Voice of the genie, Aladdin (animated), Buena Vista, 1992.

Voice of the timekeeper, Timekeeper (also known as From Time to Time and Le visionarium), 1992.

Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire, Mrs. Doubt-fire (also known as Madame Doubtfire), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1993.

Hector, Being Human, Warner Bros., 1994.

Alan Parrish, Jumanji, TriStar, 1995.

Dr. Kosevich, Nine Months, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1995.

(Uncredited) John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, ToWong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, Universal, 1995.

Armand Goldman, The Birdcage (also known as Birds of a Feather), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1996.

Jack Charles Powell, Jack, Buena Vista, 1996.

Osric, Hamlet (also known as William Shakespeare's"Hamlet"), Columbia, 1996.

(As George Spelvin) The professor, The Secret Agent (also known as Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Agent"), Fox Searchlight, 1996.

Voice of the genie, Aladdin and the King of Thieves (animated), Buena Vista, 1996.

Dale Putley, Father's Day, Warner Bros., 1997.

Mel, Deconstructing Harry, Fine Line, 1997.

Professor Phillip "Phil" Brainard, Flubber (also known as The Absent Minded Professor and Disney's "Flubber: The Absent Minded Professor"), Buena Vista, 1997.

Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting, Miramax, 1997.

Chris Nielsen, What Dreams May Come, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 1998.

Hunter "Patch" Adams (title role), Patch Adams, Universal, 1998.

Himself, Junket Whore, 1998.

Andrew Martin, Bicentennial Man (also known as Der200-Jahre Mann), Buena Vista, 1999.

Jakob Heym, Jakob the Liar (also known as Jakob le menteur), Columbia/TriStar, 1999.

Himself, Get Bruce! (documentary), Miramax, 1999.

Voice of Dr. Know, A.I. Artificial Intelligence (also known as Artificial Intelligence: AI), Warner Bros., 2001.

Seymour "Sy" Parrish, One Hour Photo, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2002.

"Rainbow" Rudolph (some sources cite Randolph) Smiley, Death to Smoochy (also known as Toetet Smoochy), Warner Bros., 2002.

Walter Finch, Insomnia, Warner Bros., 2002.

Alan W. Hakman, The Final Cut (also known as The Final Cut—Dein tod ist erst der anfang), Lions Gate Films, 2004.

Pappass, House of D, Lions Gate Films, 2004.

(Uncredited) Charlie Boyd/the priest, Noel, Red Rose Productions, 2004.

Voice of Fender, Robots (animated; also released as Robots: The IMAX Experience), Twentieth Century– Fox, 2005.

Paul Barnell, The Big White (also known as The Big White—Immer aerger mit Raymond), Capitol Films, 2005.

(In archive footage) Emmanuel's Gift, 2005.

The Aristocrats (also known as The @r!$t*(r@t$), Think-Film, 2005.

(In archive footage) Coming Attractions: The History of the Movie Trailer, 2006.

Gabriel Noone, The Night Listener, Miramax, 2006.

Bob Munro, RV (also known as Runaway Vacation, RV: Runaway Vacation, and Die Chaoscamper RV), Columbia 2006.

(Uncredited) Voice of Napoleon Cross, Everyone's Hero (animated), Twentieth Century–Fox, 2006.

Tom Dobbs, Man of the Year, Universal, 2006.

Voices of Ramon and Lovelace, Happy Feet (animated), Warner Bros., 2006.

Teddy Roosevelt, Night at the Museum, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2006.

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' about Him?), LSL Productions, 2006.

Reverend Frank, License to Wed, Warner Bros., 2007.

Maxwell "Wizard" Wallace, August Rush, Warner Bros., 2007.

Himself, Certifiably Jonathan, 2007.

(In archive footage) Der Geist des Geldes, 2007.

Dreams with Sharp Teeth (documentary), Creative Differences, 2008.

Film Work:

Producer, Mrs. Doubtfire (also known as Madame Doubtfire), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1993.

Executive producer, Jakob the Liar (also known as Jakob le menteur), Columbia/TriStar, 1999.

Television Appearances; Series:

The Big Laff Off, HBO, 1978.

Mork, Mork & Mindy, ABC, 1978–82.

Voice of Mork, "Mork & Mindy," The Mork & Mindy/ Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour (animated), ABC, 1982–83.

Host, Shakespeare: The Animated Tales (animated), HBO, 1992–93, 1996.

Voice of the genie, Genie's Great Minds Think forThemselves (animated), ABC, 1997.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Member of ABC team, Battle of the Network Stars V, ABC, 1978.

Sitcom: The Adventures of Garry Marshall, 1979.

The American Film Institute Salute to Alfred Hitchcock, 1979.

Catch a Rising Star's 10th Anniversary, 1982.

Host, E.T. and Friends—Magical Movie Visitors, CBS, 1982.

I Love Liberty, ABC, 1982.

Night of 100 Stars, ABC, 1982.

An Evening with Robin Williams, HBO, 1983.

(In archive footage) The Great Standups (also known as The Great Standups: Sixty Years of Laughter), 1984.

Witness, The Richard Lewis "I'm in Pain" Concert, Showtime, 1985.

Robin Williams Live, 1985.

Host (with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg), ComicRelief, HBO, 1986.

Barbara Streisand: One Voice, HBO, 1986.

Comic Relief: Backstage Pass, HBO, 1986.

Robin Williams: An Evening at the Met (also known as Robin Williams: Live at the Met), HBO, 1986.

The Young Comedians All–Star Reunion, HBO, 1986.

Narrator and voice of Baby–san, Dear America (also known as Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam), 1987.

Host, Will Rogers: Look Back in Laughter (also known as Will Rogers: An American Hero), HBO, 1987.

Tommy Wilhelm, "Seize the Day," Great Performances, PBS, 1987.

A Carol Burnett Special: Carol, Carl, Whoopi, and Robin, ABC, 1987.

Comic Relief II, HBO, 1987.

Jonathan Winters: On the Ledge, Showtime, 1987.

Superstars and Their Moms, ABC, 1987.

ABC Presents a Royal Gala, ABC, 1988.

An All–Star Celebration: The '88 Vote, ABC, 1988.

"An All–Star Toast to the Improv" (also known as "An All–Star Salute to the Improv"), HBO Comedy Hour, HBO, 1988.

The Comedy Store 15th Year Class Reunion (also known as Comedy Store Reunion), NBC, 1988.

Free to bea Family, ABC, 1988.

Jonathan Winters Special, Showtime, 1988.

Host, Comic Relief III, HBO, 1989.

The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 1989.

The Prince's Trust Gala, TBS, 1989

Saturday Night Live: 15th Anniversary, NBC, 1989.

Host, Comic Relief IV, HBO, 1990.

An Evening with Bette, Cher, Goldie, Meryl, Olivia, Lily, and Robin, ABC, 1990.

Time Warner Presents the Earth Day Special (also known as The Earth Day Special), ABC, 1990.

Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake, 1991.

(As Sudy Nim) Voice of the kiwi, A Wish for Wings that Work (animated), 1991.

The Dream Is Alive: The 20th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney World (also known as Walt Disney World's 20th Anniversary Celebration), CBS, 1991.

Entertainers '91: The Top Twenty of the Year, ABC, 1991.

Robin Williams Talking with David Frost, PBS, 1991.

Narrator, Thee Fool and the Flying Ship, Showtime, 1991.

Entertainers '91: The Top 20 of the Year, ABC, 1991.

(In archive footage) Saturday Night Live: The Best of Robin Williams, NBC, 1991.

Hockey player (in archive footage), Saturday Night Live Goes Commercial, NBC, 1991.

(In archive footage) 60 Minutes: The Entertainers, 1991.

(In archive footage) Johnny Carson's 29th Anniversary, NBC, 1991.

Host, Comic Relief V, HBO, 1992.

Free to Laugh: A Comedy and Music Special for Amnesty International, Lifetime, 1992.

A Spinal Tap Reunion: The 25th Anniversary London Sell–out (also known as The Return of Spinal Tap), NBC, 1992.

Dame Edna's Hollywood, NBC, 1992.

The Comedy Store's 20th Birthday, NBC, 1992.

Rock the Vote, Fox, 1992.

HBO's 20th Anniversary—We Hardly Believe It Ourselves, CBS, 1992.

Back to School '92, CBS, 1992.

Host, Comic Relief VI, HBO, 1993.

A Tribute to Sam Kinison, Fox, 1993.

Apollo Theatre Hall of Fame, NBC, 1993.

1993: A Year at the Movies, CNBC, 1993.

In the Wild: Dolphins with Robin Williams, PBS, 1994.

ButSeriously, Showtime, 1994.

Montreal International Comedy Festival /94, Showtime, 1994.

(In archive footage) The Best of the Don Lane Show, 1994.

(In archive footage) All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever!, 1994.

(In archive footage) Carol Burnett: The Special Years, 1994.

(Uncredited; in archive footage) The World of Jim Henson, 1994.

Voice of the genie, Aladdin on Ice (also known as Disney's "Aladdin on Ice"), 1995.

A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman, NBC, 1995.

Who Makes You Laugh?, ABC, 1995.

The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies, HBO, 1995.

Countdown to Comic Relief, Comedy Central, 1995

(In archive footage) 20 Years of Comedy on HBO, HBO, 1995.

Host (with Crystal and Goldberg), Comic Relief VII, HBO, 1996.

"Take Two: Mike Nichols and Elaine May" (also known as "Nichols and May: Take Two"), American Masters, PBS, 1996.

The Late Show with David Letterman Video Special 2 (also known as Late Show with David Letterman Primetime Video Special 2), CBS, 1996.

Spotlight: The Birdcage, Comedy Central, 1996.

Smithsonian Fantastic Journey, CBS, 1996.

Host, Comic Relief's 10th Anniversary, HBO, 1996.

Catch a Rising Star 50th Anniversary—Give or Take 26 Years, CBS, 1996.

(In archive footage) Classic Stand–up Comedy of Television, 1996.

I Am Your Child, ABC, 1997.

Banned in America: The Stars Speak Out, MSNBC, 1997.

All-Star Moms, CBS, 1997.

In My Life, Bravo, 1998.

Hollywood Salutes Arnold Schwarzenegger: An American Cinematheque Tribute, TNT, 1998.

Master of ceremonies, Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope, ABC, 1998.

Host, Comic Relief VIII, HBO, 1998.

Countdown to Comic Relief 8, Comedy Central, 1998.

Steven Spielberg: An Empire of Dreams, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.

Masters of Fantasy: Harlan Ellison, Sci–Fi Channel, 1998.

Hollywood & Vinyl: Disney's 101 Greatest Musical Moments, VH1, 1998.

(In archive footage) Robert Ellison, Anatomy of a "Homicide: Life on the Street," 1998.

Python Night: 30 Years of Monty Python, 1999.

The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize Celebrating the Humor of Richard Pryor, Comedy Central, 1999.

The Mark Twain Prize: Jonathan Winters (also known as Comedy Central Presents the Second Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize Celebrating the Humor of Jonathan Winters), Comedy Central, 2000.

AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies, CBS, 2000.

"Chuck Jones: Extremes and In–Betweens, a Life in Animation," Great Performances, PBS, 2000.

Stand and Be Counted, The Learning Channel, 2000.

Life of Python, Arts and Entertainment, 2000.

Jonathan Winters: On the Loose, PBS, 2000.

America: A Tribute to Heroes, multiple networks, 2001.

The Comedy Store: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2001.

The Kennedy Center: Mark Twain Prize—Celebrating Whoopi Goldberg, PBS, 2001.

The Firesign Theatre: Weirdly Cool, PBS, 2001.

Only a Teacher, PBS, 2001.

Gary Marshall, Bravo, 2001.

Robin Williams: Live on Broadway, HBO, 2002.

Hans Haenkie, The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch, NBC, 2002.

Intimate Portrait: Pam Dawber, Lifetime, 2002.

Reel Comedy: Death to Smoochy, Comedy Central, 2002.

Billy Connolly: A BAFTA Tribute, BBC, 2002.

Jeff Bridges: Building Bridges, Arts and Entertainment, 2002.

(In archive footage) The Best of Bert Newton, Nine Network, 2002.

AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Robert DeNiro, USA Network, 2003.

Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@! (also known as Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!— Uncensored), Comedy Central, 2003.

"Bill Irwin: Clown Prince," Great Performances, PBS, 2004.

Inside the Actors Studio: 10th Anniversary Special, Bravo, 2004.

(Uncredited; in archive footage) When Stand–up Comics Ruled the World, VH1, 2004.

(In archive footage) Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand–ups of All Time, Comedy Central, 2004.

(In archive footage) The First Amendment Project: No Joking, Sundance Channel and Court TV, 2004.

Steve Martin: An American Cinematheque Tribute, AMC, 2005.

Assembling "Robots": The Magic, the Music & the Comedy, Fox, 2005.

Earth to America!, TBS, 2005.

(In archive footage) A Fathera SonOnce Upon a Time in Hollywood, HBO, 2005.

(In archive footage) The Comedians' Comedian, Channel 4, 2005.

(In archive footage) I Love the '90s: Part Deux, VH1, 2005.

Mork from Ork (in archive footage), Happy Days: 30th Anniversary Reunion, ABC, 2005.

Moving Image Salutes Ron Howard, Bravo, 2006.

Host, Comic Relief 2006, HBO and TBS, 2006.

Happy Feet: European Premiere Special, ITV, 2006.

A Night at the Museum with McFly, 2006.

Hunter "Patch" Adams (in archive footage), De que te ries?, 2006.

(In archive footage) "30 Mistakes in 30 Years," The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 2006.

Reel Comedy: RV, Comedy Central, 2006.

AFI's 100 Years100 Greatest Movies: 10th Anniversary Edition, CBS, 2007.

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project, HBO, 2007.

Happy Birthday Elton! From Madison Square Garden, New York, MyNetwork, 2007.

AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Al Pacino, USA Network, 2007.

Bienvenue a Cannes (also known as Cannes: All Access), TCM, 2007.

That's the Way It Is: Celebrating Cronkite at 90, CBS, 2007.

Billy Crystal: The Mark Twain Prize, PBS, 2007.

(In archive footage) 100 Greatest Stand–ups, Channel 4, 2007.

(In archive footage) Camara negra: Teatro Victoria Eugenia, 2007.

History of the Joke, History Channel, 2008.

Hollywood Habitat for Humanity, DIY Network, 2008.

Also appeared in Robin Williams: Off the Wall, HBO.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

30 Years of Billy Connolly, 1998.

Bravo Profiles: The Entertainment Business, Bravo,1998.

Biography of the Millennium: 100 People—100 Years, Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

General Ulysses S. Grant, Freedom: A History of Us, PBS, 2003.

TV Land Moguls, TV Land, 2004.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Father, In Search of Dr. Seuss, TNT, 1994.

Fog City Mavericks, Starz!, 2007.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Mork, Mork & Mindy, ABC, 1978.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

The Alan Hamel Show, 1977.

Man with bad arm, premiere episode, The Richard Pryor Show, NBC, 1977.

John Brownstein, archaeologist, and shopper, The Richard Pryor Show, NBC, 1977.

Laugh–In, NBC, 1977.

"The Return of Auntie V," Eight Is Enough, ABC, 1977.

Jason Shine, "Jason Shine," America 2Night, syndicated, 1978.

Jason Shine, "Olfactory Distosis Telethon," America2Night, syndicated, 1978.

Mork, "My Favourite Orkan," Happy Days, ABC, 1978.

Mork, "Mork Returns," Happy Days, ABC, 1979.

Mork, "Random's Arrival," Out of the Blue, ABC, 1979.

Himself, "Mork Meets Robin Williams," Mork & Mindy, ABC, 1981.

(Uncredited) Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, and SNL), NBC, 1982.

Premiere episode, The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour, 1982.

Frog/Prince Robin, "The Tale of the Frog Prince," Faerie Tale Theatre (also known as Shelley Duvall's "Faerie Tale Theatre"), Showtime, 1982.

John Houseman, Slip Mahoney, and Reverend Gene Filler, "Jane Eyrehead," SCTV Comedy Network (also known as SCTV Network and SCTV Network 90), NBC, 1982.

Guest host, Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, and SNL), NBC, 1984, 1986, 1988.

Gabby, "Sax Education," Pryor's Place, CBS, 1984.

"Max Headroom's Giant Christmas Turkey," The Max Headroom Show, 1986.

"Just for Laughs," Short Stories, Arts and Entertainment, 1987.

Robert Klein Time, USA Network, 1988.

Narrator, "The Fool and the Flying Ship," We All HaveTales, Showtime, 1991.

"Naked Hollywood," A&E Premieres, Arts and Entertainment, 1991.

Wogan (also known as The Wogan Years), 1991.

Himself, "Hank's Contract," The Larry Sanders Show, HBO, 1992.

Robert Ellison, "Bop Gun," Homicide: Life on the Street (also known as H: LOTS and Homicide), NBC, 1994.

Himself, "Montana," The Larry Sanders Show, HBO, 1994.

"Political Correctness," Dennis Miller Live, HBO, 1994. Live & Kicking, 1994.

Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 1995, 2001.

(In archive footage) "Richard Pryor: Comic on the Edge," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1996.

(Uncredited) Thomas, "The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion," Friends, NBC, 1997.

"Father's Day," HBO First Look, HBO, 1997.

Hugo Kingsley, "Just Duet," L.A. Doctors (also known as L.A. Docs), CBS, 1999.

Whose Line Is It Anyway? (also known as W.L.I.A. and Whose Line?), ABC, 2000.

"Anxiety," Dennis Miller Live, HBO, 2001.

"Rod Steiger," Bravo Profiles, 2001.

Leute heute, 2002.

Supermarket Sweep, PAX, 2002.

Kevin Powalski, "Psychic," Life with Bonnie, ABC, 2003.

"E3 03, Playa," Player$, Tech TV, 2003.

"Players Halloweenie Televizzie," Player$, Tech TV, 2003.

(In archive footage) Celebrities Uncensored, E! Entertainment Television, 2003, 2004.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC, 2004.

(In archive footage) "1992: Andre Agassi," Class Of, 2004.

"Robots," HBO First Look, HBO, 2005.

(In archive footage) Cinema mil, 2005.

Cartelera, 2006.

"The DeAeth Family," Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, ABC, 2006.

"That's F**cking Historical," Mind of Mencia, Comedy Central, 2006.

Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire (in archive footage), 20 to 1, Nine Network, 2006.

Ramone and Lovelace, "Happy Feet," HBO First Look, HBO, 2006.

Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg, TV Land, c. 2006.

"'License to Wed': Behind the Vows," HBO First Look, HBO, 2007.

(Uncredited) Himself (in archive footage), "The Office," Comedy Connections, BBC, 2007.

"Robin Williams," Shrink Rap, Channel 4, 2007.

(In archive footage) The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News Channel, 2007, 2008.

Merritt Rook, "Authority," Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (also known as Law & Order: SVU and Special Victims Unit), NBC, 2008.

Ivan "Bob" Poppanoff the Russian Idol, "Idol Gives Back," American Idol: The Search for a Superstar (also known as American Idol and American Idol 4), Fox, 2008.

Himself, "Live Results Show: One Contestant Eliminated," American Idol: The Search for a Superstar (also known as American Idol and American Idol 4), Fox, 2008.

(In archive footage) A Current Affair, Nine Network, 2008.

Appeared in "One Hour Photo," Anatomy of a Scene, Sundance Channel; "The Films of Barry Levinson," The Directors; also appeared in episodes of An Evening at the Improv, Ninety Minutes Live, and Primetime Glick, Comedy Central.

Television Guest Appearances; Episodic:

Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, multiple appearances, between 1986 and 1992.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1987,1992.

Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, between 1987 and 2007.

Good Morning Britain, ITV, 1988.

Alan King: Inside the Comedy Mind, Comedy Central, 1991.

The Whoopi Goldberg Show, 1992.

Showbiz Today, 1992, 1996.

Late Show with David Letterman (also known as The Late Show and Letterman), CBS, between 1993 and 2008.

Nyhetsmorgon, 1994, 1998.

Primer plano, 1995, 1996.

Clive Anderson Talks Back, Channel 4, 1996.

Mundo VIP, 1996, 1998, 2000.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, between 1997 and 2002.

Hollywood Squares (also known as H2 and H2: Hollywood Squares), syndicated, 1998.

Noel's House Party, 1998.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, between 1998 and 2007.

Clive Anderson All Talk, BBC1, 1999.

The Daily Show (also known as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Global Edition, and Jon Stewart), Comedy Central, 2002, 2006.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, multiple appearances, between 2002 and 2008.

GMTV, ITV, 2003.

Tinseltown TV, International Channel, 2003.

Good Day Live, syndicated, 2004.

"Charities," Open Access, Tennis Channel, 2004.

Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, syndicated, multiple appearances, between 2004 and 2008.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!, ABC, multiple appearances, between 2004 and 2008.

The Oprah Winfrey Show (also known as Oprah),syndicated, 2005.

Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2005, 2006.

Real Time with Bill Maher (also known as Real Time with Bill Maher: Electile Dysfunction '08), HBO, 2005, 2006.

Corazon de 2005, 2006, (in archive footage), 2007.

The View, ABC, 2006.

CMT Insider, Country Music Television, 2006.

Film '72 (also known as Film 2006), BBC, 2006.

This Morning (also known as This Morning with Richard and Judy), ITV, 2006.

Parkinson, BBC, 2006.

Weekend Sunrise, Seven Network, 2006.

Getaway (also known as United Travel Getaway), Nine Network, 2006.

HypaSpace (also known as HypaSpace Daily and HypaSpace Weekly), Space Channel, 2006.

Total Request Live (also known as Total Request with Carson Daly and TRL), 2006.

Entertainment Tonight (also known as Entertainment This Week, E.T., ET Weekend, and This Week in Entertainment), syndicated, multiple appearances, between 2006 and 2008.

Larry King Live, Cable News Network, 2007.

CMT Top 20 Countdown, Country Music Television, 2007.

Access Hollywood, syndicated, 2007.

God kveld Norge, 2007.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 21st Annual TV Week Logie Awards, Nine Network, 1979.

Presenter, The 51st Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1979.

Cohost, The 58th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1986.

The 60th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1988.

Presenter, The 61st Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1989.

The 62nd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1990.

"The Walt Disney Company Presents the American Teacher Awards," The Magical World of Disney, The Disney Channel, 1990.

Dr. Malcolm Sayer (in archive footage), The 63rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1991.

The 64th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1992.

50th Annual Golden Globe Awards, TBS, 1993.

Presenter, The 68th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1996.

The 70th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1998.

Presenter, 5th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, TNT, 1999.

Presenter, The 71st Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1999.

The 72nd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2000.

The 1st 13th Annual Fancy Anvil Award Show Program—Special … Live!in Stereo, Cartoon Network, 2002.

Presenter, The 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2003.

Presenter, The 45th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 2003.

(Uncredited) The 75th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2003.

Presenter, The 2003 ESPY Awards, ESPN, 2003.

Presenter, The 76th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2004.

The 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2005.

Presenter, The 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards, Bravo and Independent Film Channel, 2005.

Presenter, The 77th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2005.

VH1 Rock Honors, VH1, 2007.

2007 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2007.

The 34th Annual People's Choice Awards, 2008.

Presenter, The 6th Annual TV Land Awards, TV Land, 2008.

Television Work; Specials:

Executive producer and director, Comic Relief, HBO, 1986.

Television Director; Episodic:

"The Mork Report," Mork & Mindy, ABC, 1982.

Stage Appearances:

V.I.P. Night on Broadway, Shubert Theatre, New York City, 1979.

Night of 100 Stars, Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1982.

Estragon, Waiting for Godot, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, New York City, 1988.

Voice, The Acting Company, Terrace Theatre, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC, c. 1989.

Robin Williams: Live on Broadway, Broadway production, 2002.



Comedy Tonight, 1977.

(Uncredited) Andy's grandmother, Andy Kaufman Plays Carnegie Hall, 1979.

An Evening with Robin Williams, 1982.

Catch a Rising Star's 10th Anniversary Show, Columbia/ TriStar, 1983.

Robin Williams Live, 1986.

Saturday Night Live—Robin Williams, 1986.

Robin! Tour de Face!, 1987.

Narrator, Rabbit Ears: Pecos Bill (animated), Sony, 1988.

An All–Star Toast to the Improv, 1988.

The Best of Comic Relief '90, Wea Video, 1990.

Narrator, Rabbit Ears: The Fool and the Flying Ship, 1991.

Florence with Robin Williams (educational), 1991.

More than a Movie (documentary on Awakenings), 1991.

Saturday Night Live: The Best of Robin Williams, 1991.

Voice of the genie, Disney Sing–Along–Songs: The Lion King Circle of Life (animated), 1994.

Voice of the genie, Disney Sing–Along–Songs: Friend Like Me (animated), 1996.

Nature in the Wild: Dolphins, Turner Home Entertainment, 1997.

To Be on Camera: A History with Hamlet, 1997.

The Making of"Good Will Hunting," 1997.

Voice of blue genie, Aladdin's Math Quest (videogame), 1998.

Lions and Monkeys and Pods … Oh My! The Special Effects of "Jumanji," 1999.

The Medical Value of Laughter (also known as The Medicinal Value of Laughter and Patch Adams: The Medical Value of Laughter), 1999.

(Uncredited; in archive footage) Slaves of Sin, 1999.

Himself, Film–Fest DVD: Issue 3—Toronto, Broadcast-DVD, 2000.

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (documentary), 2000.

The Making of "One Hour Photo," Twentieth Century–Fox, 2002.

Day for Night: The Making of "Insomnia," Warner Home Entertainment, 2002.

The Sound of "AI," Warner Bros., 2002.

Animating "AI," Warner Bros., 2002.

(In archive footage) Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin, 2004.

The Making of "Robots," Twentieth Century–Fox, 2005.

Nos Zamis Le Hyens, Studio Canal, 2005.

"Romanekian" segment, The Work of Director Mark Romanek, Palm Pictures, 2005.

Building the "House of D," Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment, 2005.

Barry Sonnenfeld: The Kosher Cowboy, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2006.

The Scoop on Poop, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2006.

JoJo: The Pop Princess, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2006.

RV Nation: The Culture of Road Warriors, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2006.

Himself and Teddy Roosevelt, Historical Threads: The Costumes of"Night at the Museum," Twentieth Century–Fox, 2007.

Himself and Teddy Roosevelt, The Making of"Night at the Museum," Twentieth Century–Fox, 2007.

(Uncredited) Paul Mooney: Jesus Is Black—So Was Cleopatra—Know Your History, 2007.

The Madness and Misadventures of Munchhausen, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2008.

Also appeared in Rome: Video Portrait of a City and Video Yesterbloop. Appeared in the music video "Don't Worry Be Happy," by Bobby McFerrin.

Comedy Albums:

Reality … What a Concept, Casablanca, 1979.

Throbbing Python of Love, Casablanca/Polygram, 1983.

Good Morning, Vietnam, A & M, 1987.

A Night at the Met, Columbia–CBS, 1987.

Robin Williams—Live 2002, 2002.

Audio Books:

Pecos Bill, Rabbit Ears Books, 1988.


Television Specials:

An Evening with Robin Williams, HBO, 1983.

Comic Relief, HBO, 1986.

Robin Williams: An Evening at the Met (also known as Robin Williams: Live at the Met), HBO, 1986.

(Uncredited) Young Comedians All–Star Reunion, HBO, 1986.

(Contributor) Time Warner Presents the Earth Day Special (also known as The Earth Day Special), ABC, 1990.

Robin Williams: Live on Broadway, HBO, 2002.

Television Episodes:

The Richard Pryor Show, NBC, 1977.

Also writer of material for An Evening at the Improv.


Robin Williams Live, 1986.

Saturday Night Live—Robin Williams, 1986.

An All–Star Toast to the Improv, 1988.

Saturday Night Live: The Best of Robin Williams, 1991.


Work represented in anthologies, including Mothers and Sons: In Their Own Words, edited by MarianaCook, 1996; also author of foreword, The Far Side: Gallery 4 by Gary Larson, 1993.



International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th edition, St. James Press, 2000.

Newsmakers, Issue Cumulation, Gale, 1989.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.


AARP, November, 2006, pp. 50–54, 100.

Entertainment Weekly, June 10, 1994, p. 13; September 6, 1996, p. 65; April 18, 1997, pp. 20–35; March 12, 1999, pp. 72–73.

Esquire, June, 1988, p. 114; June, 1989, p. 108.

Interview, August, 1986, p. 38.

Ladies Home Journal, October, 1999, p. 148.

Los Angeles Times Magazine, September 19, 1999, pp. 16–19, 36–37.

Newsweek, July 7, 1986, p. 52.

New York Times, April 15, 1984; May 28, 1989.

Parade, September 20, 1998, pp. 4–6; April 23, 2006, p. 16.

People Weekly, September 13, 1982, p. 92; February 22, 1988, p. 78.

Playboy, October, 1996, pp. 92–96.

Premiere, January, 1988, pp. 39–41; April, 1996, pp. 64–70; May, 2002, p. 100.

Request, April, 2003, pp. 26, 28, 121.

Rolling Stone, February 22, 1988, p. 28; February 21, 1991, p. 22; September 5, 2002, pp. 38–39.

Time, November 27, 1995, p. 107.

TV Guide, August 3, 1996, pp. 30–32; November 14, 1998, pp. 16–20.

USA Today, August 4, 2008, p. 2D.


Robin Williams Official Site, http://www.robinwilliams.com, September 14, 2008.

Williams, Robin

views updated May 29 2018


Nationality: American. Born: Chicago, Illinois, 21 July 1952. Education: Attended Marin College; Claremont Men's College; Juilliard School of Music and Drama. Family: Married 1) Valerie Velardi, 1978 (divorced), son: Zachary; 2) Marsha Garces, 1989, children: Cody and Zelda. Career: 1970s—cabaret performer in San Francisco and Los Angeles; 1978–82—in TV series Mork and Mindy; 1980—film debut in Popeye; 1986—recorded stage show in Robin Williams at the Met. Agent: Carol Bodie, c/o Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.

Films as Actor:


Popeye (Altman) (title role)


The World According to Garp (George Roy Hill) (as Garp)


The Survivors (Ritchie) (as Donald Quinelle)


Moscow on the Hudson (Mazursky) (as Vladimir Ivanoff)


The Best of Times (Spottiswoode) (as Jack Dundee); Club Paradise (Ramis) (as Jack Minoker); Seize the Day (Cook—for TV) (as Tommy Wilhelm)


Good Morning, Vietnam (Levinson) (as Adrian Cronauer); Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (Couturie—doc for TV)


Dead Poets Society (Weir) (as John Keating); The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Gilliam) (as King of the Moon)


Cadillac Man (Donaldson) (as Joey O'Brien); Awakenings (Penny Marshall) (as Dr. Malcolm Sayer)


Dead Again (Branagh) (as Dr. Cozy Carlisle); The Fisher King (Gilliam) (as Parry); Hook (Spielberg) (as Peter Pan)


Toys (Levinson) (as Leslie Zevo); Shakes the Clown (Goldthwait) (as Mime Jerry); FernGully: The Last Rainforest (Kroyer—animation) (as voice of Batty Koda); Aladdin (Musker and Clements—animation) (as voice of Genie)


Mrs. Doubtfire (Columbus) (as Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Iphegenia Doubtfire, + co-pr)


Being Human (Forsyth) (as Hector); The Road to Wellville (Alan Parker); In Search of Dr. Seuss (Paterson) (as the Father)


Jumanji (Johnston) (as Alan Parrish); Nine Months (Columbus) (as Dr. Kosevich); To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (Kidron) (as John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt)


The Birdcage (Mike Nichols) (as Armand Goldman); Jack (Coppola) (title role); Hamlet (Branagh) (as Osric); The Secret Agent (Hampton) (as the Professor)


Great Minds Think for Themselves (series for TV) (as voice of The Genie); Deconstructing Harry (Allen) (as Mel); Flubber (Mayfield) (as Professor Philip Brainard); Good Will Hunting (Van Sant) (as Sean Maguire)


What Dreams May Come (Vincent Ward) (as Chris Nielsen); Patch Adams (Shadyac) (as title role); In My Life (Benson—for TV) (as himself)


Get Bruce (Kuehn) (as himself); Jakob the Liar (Kassovitz) (as Jakob Heym + exec pr); Bicentennial Man (Columbus) (as Andrew)


By WILLIAMS: articles—

Interview in Interview (New York), August 1986.

Interview with B. Lewis, in Films and Filming (London), September 1988.

Interview with Lisa Grunwald, in Esquire (New York), June 1989.

"The Hairiest Man in Hollywood," interview with Frank Sanello, in Empire (London), December 1991.

Interview in Playboy (Chicago), January 1992.

Interview with Michel Cieutat, Hubert Niogret and Michel Ciment, in Positif (Paris), March 1994.

Interview with Alex McGregor and Brian Case, in Time Out (London), 19 January 1994.

"I Always Wonder If People Laugh At, Or With, Me," an interview with Andrew Duncan, in Radio Times (London), 16 December 1995.

Interview with B. Bibby, in Premiere (Boulder), April 1996.

On WILLIAMS: books—

Moore, Mary Ellen, Robin Williams, New York, 1979.

Allen, Steve, Funny People, New York, 1981.

Robin-Tani, Marianne, Robin Williams, New York, 1988.

David, Jay, The Life and Humor of Robin Williams: A Biography, New York, 1999.

On WILLIAMS: articles—

Current Biography 1979, New York, 1979.

Ansen, David, "King of Comedy," in Newsweek (New York), 7 July 1986.

Time Out (London), 17 August 1988.

"Actor: On the Job with Robin Williams," in Life (New York), Spring 1989.

Chevallier, J., "Protéiforme Robin Williams," in Revue du Cinéma (Paris), January 1990.

Lurie, Rod, "Motor Mouth," in Empire (London), October 1990.

Morgenstern, Joe, "Robin Williams: More than a Shtick Figure," in New York Times Magazine, 11 November 1990.

Giles, Jeff, and Mark Seliger, "Robin Williams: Fears of a Clown," in Rolling Stone (New York), 21 February 1991.

Ross, Lillian, "Mr. and Mrs. Williams," in New Yorker, 20 September 1993.

Kornbluth, Jesse, "Robin Williams's Change of Life," in New York, 22 November 1993.

Radio Times (London), 2 November 1996.

* * *

Buried under makeup as Popeye or dragging the literary fantasy apparatus of The World According to Garp, Robin Williams failed to make his mark in his first two movies. It took Michael Ritchie's messy contemporary comedy The Survivors to set loose the manic power of his stand-up persona. Williams's ability to create a character as it disintegrates makes his Donald, a man who tries to prepare for urban chaos by joining a survivalist camp, a wild original. Williams can assert his star personality and stay in character even while functioning as the most free-swinging element in very knockabout farce. The outlandishly thin-skinned Donald shows Williams in his most antic mode. This is also how he played Jack Dundee in The Best of Times, a man who cannot live down having blown his small-town high school football team's final game. Manipulating the old team into replaying the game enables him to get past it—he has to get much crazier before he can calm down. Similarly, as Parry in Terry Gilliam's Fisher King we first see Williams talking to "the little people" in conversational switches so fast he seems as much tic as man, and then learn how he became homeless and admittedly, cheerfully psychotic, and how he thinks he can recover. He sends co-star Jeff Bridges—as a burnt-out talk show DJ inadvertently responsible for the death of Williams's wife—on a quest for the Holy Grail which manages to reintegrate them both. If Fisher King is not cloying that is largely because of the extended conversations among the four leads. Williams pairs off with an equally whacked-out Amanda Plummer, and romantic comedy never threw screwier balls. These three performances of Williams's cohere wonderfully but are not for people hung up on gradual transitions.

But he can do shading, too. He remains himself while acting in a naturalistic vein in Paul Mazursky's Moscow on the Hudson, playing a Russian saxophonist who defects in Bloomingdale's, and in Dead Poets Society as a prep-school teacher receiving students in his cramped quarters. Williams can be precious, but he is almost always earthy, with an amazingly unforced broadness of spirit. And he is gone bare-assed in his movies surprisingly often, unthinkable in someone like Danny Kaye. Williams is both freakier and warmer than most big comedy stars—freakier because he fires from a solidly realistic launching pad.

The other side of his performance in Dead Poets Society is, of course, the stand-up, which he first played as the DJ in Good Morning, Vietnam. These pictures give him audiences for his motormouth outbursts within the stories, and then attach our feelings for Williams the entertainer to paltry melodramas in which his characters try to save young boys. Williams as cutup, as opposed to Williams's characters who are cutups, comes across best in Aladdin in which he improvised as the voice of the Genie, leaving the animators to keep up. He made the comedy play at five times the speed of any other Disney cartoon feature.

Probably because of Williams's unthreatening directness, several of his pictures function as baby-sitters—Hook, Toys, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji. Even as a negligent father or a bitter man, as in Hook and Jumanji, the scripts make him unpleasant only to redeem him. And Williams is not someone who needs help being likable. Mrs. Doubtfire is the most successful of these vehicles because we can see that Daniel, who loses his wife and custody of their children because he cannot assume adult responsibility, really is the loose cannon his ex-wife complains of. Even the way he thwarts her, by getting himself hired in drag as his children's nanny, seems more crazy than touching. This is hilariously clear whenever Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire cannot hold "her" tongue around the ex-wife's new boyfriend. In the climactic restaurant scene Daniel sprints from a table where he is supposed to be in drag, to one where he is not, but has so many drinks he loses track. When Daniel in drag snickers that "she" has "to piss like a racehorse," Williams adds burlesque pungency for the adults of all ages in the helpless audience.

As a middle-ground variation Williams can play the relative straight man—superbly to Tim Robbins's deranged husband holding Williams's philandering car salesman hostage in Cadillac Man, and less effectively to Nathan Lane as his drag queen "wife" in The Birdcage, a remake of La Cage aux folles. The Birdcage feels like something left onshore by a receding tide, but Williams plays it honest, unself-consciously adopting gay mannerisms. As a comedian Williams is commercial in the best sense and neither cynical or lazy. He has taken on a wide range of projects and varied his approach, letting co-star Bonnie Hunt in Jumanji provide the laugh-getting commentary on the action that we expect from Williams, or taking the less flamboyant role in The Birdcage in order to avoid simply repeating the formula of Mrs. Doubtfire. He challenges himself in a way that allows the audience to keep pace with him. And when he is sparking we feel juiced for life.

—Alan Dale

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