He may have been best known for his fast-talking, funnyman roles, but he mesmerised in serious ones as well and was memorable well beyond the big screen: on television, on the comedy stage, even on Broadway.
Robin Williams took on many characters during a long and versatile career and here are 10 of our favourite roles.
- A rare but welcome serious role for Williams, who played the stubborn yet empathetic therapist who was somehow able to help maths prodigy Will Hunting (Matt Damon) figure out how to handle his life. For this role Robin won a supporting actor Oscar.
– Who couldn’t love a bumbling father who dressed up as a portly nanny – with a latex mask, a wig and a Scottish accent – in order to spend time with his young children? (A sequel had been planned.)
– Will it ever be possible to see a cartoon genie and not think of Williams? Remember him shooting out of that bottle: “Ten thousand years will give you SUCH a crick in the neck!”
“You ain’t never had a friend like me”
– “Goooooodddddd morning Vietnam!”
Williams’ fast-talking style was perfect for the role of a DJ on Armed Forces Radio during the Vietnam War. This was Robin’s first Oscar nomination.
– Played an unconventional poetry teacher who taught his Vermont boarding school students to stand on their desks, think on their own, and “seize the day”. Robin earned his second Oscar nomination for this role.
– Mork from Ork. Nanu, nanu. What more needs to be said? This TV series, a spin-off from Happy Days, is how many of us first learned of Williams’ sublime nuttiness.
– Appearing on Broadway, Williams gave an admirably thoughtful performance in the role of a tiger – actually, the ghost of a dead tiger – locked up at the Baghdad Zoo at the time of the US invasion in 2003.
- Playing Theodore Roosevelt, he gives Larry all the secrets to the Museum that comes to life.
- Alongside Rober De Niro, Robin Williams tells the true story of British neurologist Oliver Sacks who, in 1969, discovers beneficial effects of the then-new drug L-Dopa.
- Robin plays Patch Adams, a medical student in the 70's who treated patients, illegally, using humor. A tear jerker to say the least.
“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.”
With such a versatile actor we found it hard to stop at 10 … so here's one more.
- Robin plays an adult Peter Pan who returned to Neverland to reclaim his youthful spirit to challenge his old enemy.
"There you are Peter!" gets us everytime.