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August 12th, 2014
The world was stunned to hear of the sudden death of Robin Williams on August 11th. It is suspected that the legendary comedian and actor committed suicide after a long battle with depression.
The news has left his legions of fans, both young and old, reeling with sadness, while every celebrity in Hollywood from Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus to Jared Leto and Questlove took to social media to express their shock and condolences.
Conan O’Brien broke the news to his studio audience during yesterday’s taping of Conan. Conan, Andy Richter and guest Will Arnett were all visibly shaken, and Conan ended the show by simply saying “God Bless Robin Williams”.
Perhaps the most touching and talked-about tribute came from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who tweeted this image last night:
Robin Williams’ death is a huge loss to the Hollywood community, as he was one of the most beloved and versatile actors in the business. In a career that spanned almost 40 years, Robin Williams did everything from stand-up comedy to TV sitcoms to movies, winning multiple Emmy Awards, Golden Globes and even Grammys. He was also nominated for four Academy Awards, eventually winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1998 for his role in Good Will Hunting.
While he leaves behind a truly impressive body of work, today we will look back on the five most iconic roles in Robin Williams’ career.
Mork in Mork & Mindy, 1978-1982
Robin Williams got his big break on the ’70’s sitcom Mork & Mindy. He played an alien named Mork, from the planet Ork, who arrived on Earth in a small, one-man egg-shaped spaceship. Sound familiar? This is where we first got a glimpse of Williams’ unique brand of wacky comedy. Check out the pilot – it’s still hilarious stuff.
Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire in Mrs. Doubtfire, 1993
This just might be Robin Williams’ most famous role, adored by kids and adults alike. Playing a father who’s willing to dress up as an old English nanny just so he can be with his kids, Williams was both hilarious and touching in this role. Mrs. Doubtfire was a total blockbuster, and is definitely one of the most popular family movies of all time.
The Genie in Aladdin, 1992
Who doesn’t LOVE this movie? For real, we challenge you to find even one person! Robin Williams proved that he didn’t even have to be on screen to completely steal a movie with 1992’s Aladdin, where he provided the voice of the Genie. This is the performance other actors look to when they consider doing voice work – it basically set the gold standard.
John Keating in Dead Poet’s Society, 1989
Robin Williams earned his second Academy Award nomination for Dead Poet’s Society, where he plays a fun-loving poetry professor in a stuck-up boarding school. His unusual, out-of-the-box teaching methods challenge and inspire his students, who really grow to love him. This role proved that Williams had serious dramatic chops too.
Dr. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting, 1997
The role that finally earned Robin Williams an Academy Award, from the film that also put Ben Affleck and Matt Damon on the map. Williams shines as a therapist who helps a young math prodigy overcome his anger and become a better person. It left absolutely no doubt about his versatility as an actor, which paved the way for even more serious roles in the coming years.
As a bonus, check out Robin Williams’ acceptance speech from the 1998 Academy Awards. Try to watch this without getting misty-eyed, we dare you.
Remember when Robin appeared in this classic Bobby McFerrin video? It seems especially poignant today.
He also partied with Cobra Starship.
And in perhaps his greatest musical moment… Robin Williams as Elmer Fudd singing Bruce Springsteen.
Rest In Peace, Mr. Williams. You will definitely be missed.