The world recoiled in shock today as news outlets across the globe announced the death of the loveable actor, Robin Williams who was 63. Many of us here in the United Kingdom woke to the news that the thespian, known for roles in Mrs. Doubtfire, one of my favourite films, Good Will Hunting and Night at the Museum had committed suicide at his California mansion.
Tributes have been flooding in from all corners of the planet, showing just how he managed to touch the lives of millions of people. I was going to do a MM Top 5 of his most-loved roles, but as such a versatile actor it was impossible to pick between them. Instead I’ve decided to simply pay tribute the one of the world’s greatest funnymen.
There was never any doubt in the minds of those who watched William’s career that his eclectic and haphazard personality had become more recently a facade. His life had become stained with drug and alcohol addiction, divorce and severe depression, but he still managed to make the world laugh.
In 1993, Robin starred as Daniel Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire, which went on to become one of his most iconic roles and one of my favourite films of all time. The loveable English nanny became an instant hit with audiences across the globe and it was hard to see anyone else in that role – to this very day, no one could have done it better.
20th Century Fox announced earlier this year that a sequel was in the works with Williams destined to return to the role; one can only hope that with today’s awful news that the film can die with him, as a classic piece of comedic cinema at its very best.
The Night at the Museum series became a more recent addition to William’s ever-increasing curriculum vitae and despite starring Ben Stiller as the lead, it was Robin’s performance which stole the show. Playing a museum version of Theodore Roosevelt, Robin managed to make a museum exhibit have some heart.
Another personal favourite of his work was the ridiculous sci-fi comedy Flubber in which he played Professor Philip Brainard, a scientist who managed to synthesise a ‘living rubber’. Despite its poor critical response, it has a massive cult following and was a huge box office draw – proving the power of the Robin Williams name.
Of course it wasn’t just comic roles that Robin Williams took on. In 1997 he played the role of Dr. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting, a role which won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and was one of four Academy Award nominations in total – though this was the only one he managed to get his hands on.
Who can forget A.I. and of course Patch Adams, but hugely different and both divisive when it came to the critics, but massively successful at the box office and thoroughly enjoyable for completely different reasons.
Robin wasn’t just an actor though, his charity work is something that he liked to keep hidden but is now out in the open for all to see. Stories have been coming in all day about what type of person he was, and each one of them say practically the same thing – he had a huge heart.
Despite his troubled personal life, Robin always managed to find the time for an interview, with no question off limits as well as visiting poorly and dying fans, standing out in the cold to sign autographs and going well above what most other famous faces would do once they had become successful enough.
Let’s take a look at some of the tributes that have come in today
Steven Spielberg – Robin was a lightening storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal and I can’t believe he’s gone.
President Obama – Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind.
Steve Martin – I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.
Mara Wilson – Very sad, very upset, very glad I did not have to hear about this through Twitter.
Ellen DeGeneres – I can’t believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I’m devastated.
Chris Columbus (Director of Mrs. Doubtfire) – We have lost one of our most inspired and gifted comic minds, as well as one of this generation’s greatest actors. To watch Robin work, was a magical and special privilege.
Today, the world lost a true great of acting talent, pay your respects to Robin in the comment box below.