"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951-) is an American actor and comedian. Although he studied drama at Julliard (where his roommate was the late Christopher Reeve
), Robin's preferred stage was to be found in standup comedy clubs. There he was discovered (several times) by TV producers and agents. Technically first appearing on TV in a failed revival of Rowan and Martins Laugh-In
and The Richard Pryor Show
, Robin rose to fame as the zany alien star of Mork and Mindy
. In that series, his comedic brilliance at improvisation
was so irresistible, the writers decided to bank time in the scripts for Robin to cut loose
. During this time he struggled through addictions to cocaine and alcohol, and made his first major movie, Popeye
. The movie failed. (His first film was actually a sketch movie called Can I Do It Till I Need Glasses
. His scenes were cut out after the film's first release but restored for re-release just before Popeye
After Mork and Mindy
was cancelled, Robin still struggled on the big screen, through The World According To Garp
, Moscow on the Hudson
, and the very
poorly received Club Paradise
. It wasn't until Good Morning Vietnam
that people started taking this comic seriously, and he got his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He was nominated again for Dead Poets Society
two years later, and yet again for The Fisher King
two years after that. He didn't win either time. He continued to churn out classic roles, like the Genie in Aladdin
(which helped establish the Celebrity Voice Actor
as the "star" of an animated film) and the title role in Mrs. Doubtfire
. In 1996, he starred in the Francis Ford Coppola
and starred alongside Nathan Lane in the hit comedy The Birdcage
. In 1997, he finally won his rightfully-deserved Oscar for Good Will Hunting
. After that, he went through a period of overly-maudlin films such as What Dreams May Come
, Patch Adams
, and Bicentennial Man
When these films became critical failures (and even gave him a disturbingly sizable Hatedom
), he went into another period in 2002, one no one would have expected: his dark period. Death to Smoochy
, and One Hour Photo
established that he wasn't always so cute and cuddly, and all but Smoochy
got rave reviews. Although he returned to the stand-up stage that same year, he continued to make films of all sorts of genres. Dramas like House of D
, comedies like RV
, and animated family films like Happy Feet
prove that this man can somehow still make terrible movies worse and good movies amazing.
His hobbies include bike riding, Warhammer 40,000
, Getting Crap Past the Radar
in television shows and family movies, and hanging a lampshade
on just about everything in Real Life
. Fan of the San Francisco Giants. Known to wear suspenders and loud Hawaiian shirts
, but rarely both at the same time, although it has happened.◊
He's also One of Us
. His daughter's name is Zelda (and guess what: they made an ad
out of it for the Nintendo 3DS
remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
). His favorite TV show of all time is Neon Genesis Evangelion.
He plays Dungeons & Dragons
. He's also gone on record saying that if they ever make a Live-Action Adaptation
, he wants to play Professor Oak
. Has mentioned playing a sniper in the Battlefield
series of FPS
and was picked to demo Spore
Often dubbed by Koichi Yamadera
for Japanese releases of his films.
Williams is an Episcopalian, and is apparently the original author a the tongue-in-cheek list of "Top Ten Reasons to be Episcopalian/Anglican"
Not to be confused with English singer-songwriter Robbie Williams
, or that chick who writes the computer books
or the animator Richard Williams
Other tropes associated with him include:
- Accidentally Accurate: Crosses over with Hilarious in Hindsight. In Weapons of Self Destruction, Williams joked that, instead of a German pope like Benedict XVI, there would be a Latin American pope (like "Pope Enrique"). Four years later, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina would become Pope Francis.
- Blithe Spirit: A common trait among his characters.
- Butt Monkey: He seems to play either this or the villain in recent films.
- As of recently, he seems to be this in Real Life. Personal problems aside, the public's reception to the films he's made in the past 10 years have been less than stellar.
- Carpet of Virility: One of the most luxuriant in Hollywood, visible as many of his films have a Shirtless Scene.
- Central Theme: A lot of his movies are tied to childhood and growing up.
- Cloudcuckoolander: For the most part he is one, although he can be serious when he needs to be.
- Cluster F-Bomb: His stand-up routines are very salty.
- One side-splitting Easter Egg on his Live from Broadway DVD was a rapid-fire montage of all the cuss words he used in the routine.note
- In one routine, he notes that the parents in his audience apparently ignored the "18 and up" label on the performance flyers. "Kids, you're going to learn some new words today!"
- Dirty Old Man: Often references sex and porn in his stand-up routines.
- Drugs Are Bad: A staple of his later stand-up shows, often drawing from his own experiences (particularly involving cocaine and alcohol). One exception seems to be marijuana: While he brutally mocked stoners in 1986's Live At The Met, in Live On Broadway and Weapons Of Self Destruction he is more favorable towards pot (one routine in Broadway is about how pot is less harmful than alcohol).
- Harpo Does Something Funny: Several of the movies and television shows he gets cast in often have scripts that say stuff like "Robin can go off here" at numerous intervals.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Bobcat Goldthwait.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: He guest starred on a particularly memorable episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
- I Call Him "Mister Happy": Trope Namer.
- Improv: Billy Crystal said that you can't take him anywhere because he will riff on everything.
- Irony: Known as a motormouth, he also spent time as a mime.
- Large Ham: Does this really need justification? We're talking about Robin Freaking Williams here.
- Perhaps most noticeable when he appeared as the bit character Osric in Kenneth Branagh's HAMlet.
- Motor Mouth: When he gets going, he really gets going.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Whenever he stars in a dramedy, you can bet the trailers will play up his comedic scenes.
- One of Us: The presence of a Neon Genesis Evangelion action figure in One Hour Photo was his idea. He is an avid anime fan.
- His daughter is named Zelda, after the Nintendo Princess.
- He once joked that he can barely use a computer but he figured out how to play video games.
- Playing with Character Type: One Hour Photo subverted his cheery, friendly persona to disturbing effect.
- Promoted Fanboy: Williams is a fan of The Legend of Zelda video games and even named his oldest daughter Zelda. He and his daughter were both later given the opportunity to star in the commercials for Ocarina of Time 3DS and Skyward Sword for Western releases. Nintendo has also told him he would be their only choice to play Professor Oak if a live-action Pokémon movie was ever made.
- Throw It In: Known for fighting with the directors over how far he can vary from the script. Often it comes down to "One good take done straight, then you can have fun."
- Tom Hanks Syndrome: Zigzagged, he's shown in later years that he can definitely carry serious drama, but comedy is still what he's most famous for and he still does comedy flicks regularly.
- What Could Have Been: He was reported to have auditioned for the role of Gendo Ikari in the Rebuild of Evangelion movies.
- He was also in line to play the Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2.
- He had expressed interest in playing the Riddler in Batman Forever and was a fan favorite to do so, until Joel Schumacher took over the project and reworked the concept.
- He was supposed to play "Dr." Berlinghoff Rasmussen in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "A Matter of Time", but he was busy working on Hook at the time.
Like any celebrity, Robin gets parodied or caricatured a lot in popular media.: