Robin Williams - When the Laughter Stops 1951-2014
With his twinkling eyes, boundless energy and unrivalled natural wit, Robin Williams was the comedian who brought laughter to a generation.Through roles in cherished films such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Aladdin and Hook, he became the genial face of family comedy. His child-like enthusiasm was infectious, sweeping viewers away. Allied to his lightning-quick improvisation and ability to riff lewdly off any cue thrown at him, Robin was that rare thing - a true comic genius who appealed to adults and children equally.He could also play it straight, and empathetic depth came to him naturally. A poignant performance in Good Will Hunting won him an Academy Award whilst his masterfully chilling turn in psychological thriller Insomnia shocked audiences and hinted at a darker side.What truly caught the imagination, though, was his good-heartedness. Warmth radiated from him on-screen, but he was legendary for his off-screen acts of selfless generosity. Where most Hollywood A-listers demand outrageous pampering in their contract riders, he always insisted that the production company hire a full quota of homeless people to help make his movies.But behind the laughter lay a deeply troubled man, and tragedy would follow. At midday, on 11 August 2014, Robin Williams was pronounced dead at his California home. The verdict was suicide. He had battled depression and addiction for many years and was allegedly beset by financial difficulties.Virginia Blackburn's sensitive and thoughtful biography celebrates his genius and warmth, but also attempts to understand what could have driven such a gentle and gifted man to so tragic an end. This is Robin Williams, the life, the laughter, and the deep sorrow of the man who made the world smile.
massive guys that were tossing the shot, picked up one of the heavy steel balls, and, well, use your imagination on the comment that came forth from the mouth of Robin Williams. Same in Drama Club – no script was safe, no line sacred. Two words summarise Robin: passion and compassion. He was focused and passionate about everything he did, and, as he demonstrated in his later years, was compassionate about others.’ But it was time to move on, to start thinking about the future and decide what to
departure. According to some versions of the event, he dropped out of his own accord – again. But in the book Juilliard: A History, author Andrea Olmstead recounts that the school told him to leave, although she did include this in a list of ‘blunders that would eventually embarrass the school’. Indeed, The Juilliard has made a great play of talking up the association with Robin Williams and, whatever they might have thought at the time, certainly became pretty proud of the association. He
and a serious A-lister. He had, beyond a doubt, grown up. Miranda: What happened? Mrs. Doubtfire: He was quite fond of the drink. It was the drink that killed him. Miranda: How awful. He was an alcoholic? Mrs. Doubtfire: No, he was hit by a Guinness truck. So it was quite literally the drink that killed him. MRS. DOUBTFIRE (1993) CHAPTER TEN PICASSOS AND PRINCES ‘The only reason Mickey Mouse has four fingers is because he can’t pick up a cheque.’ ROBIN WILLIAMS, ON HIS FINANCIAL
but she is also sensitive. The greatest compliment of all was that she was not only a good actress; she was also kind to people. She treated all the other kids well. She ate lunch with everybody. She did not have an attitude with them and was decent with all the crew. People said, “Your daughter is good but she is also nice.” That is kind of the double bill.’ And then there came The Night Listener (2006). From the original book by Armistead Maupin (of Tales of the City fame), it’s the story of
all of sudden I would be going, “Wow, I am really kind of rundown”,’ he told the New Zealand Herald. ‘It wasn’t like normal, where I was tired but feeling great. So I was in Miami, about to do some shows, and it was “No, no, you have to get this looked at. You have two weeks to decide where you want to have your surgery”. That was like, “Beep! Put the brakes on and do the valve grind”, which I think sounds like a great sexual dance. The tour really kind of pointed out, “You have got to do