Welcome back all Black Sheep! We hope that you are all great and well on your path to success and purpose. We wanted to bring you today one of my personally favorite actors, Robin Williams, also fondly known as the funnyman. Most known as a creative American comedian and actor. He is loved by both children and adults because of the fact that he always put smiles on their faces. Talented with his witty dialogues, quirky expressions, charming clumsiness, and amazing antics, not to mention his big heart. He is also well-known for his improvisation skills. He continues to live in the hearts of viewers through his iconic roles in various films. So without further adieu lets dive in to our Black Sheep of the Month, Robin Williams.
Robin Williams was born on July 21, 1951 in Chicago, USA. His father Robert Fitzgerald Williams was a senior executive at Ford Motor Company and his mother Laurie McLaurin worked as a model. Robin was of mixed ancestry with two other male siblings. When he was a boy, his family relocated to Michigan. There, he joined the Detroit Country Day School.
He was an intelligent kid and he also participated in various sports activities. However, he didn’t have a very good experience in the school as he was often bullied.
Since Robin’s parents were always away at work, he spent much of his time alone playing with toys. He graduated from Redwood High School in 1969. At a younger age, he developed passion for acting which let him to win scholarship to attend the Julliard School in NYC in 1973. But he left the institute in the junior year as it had nothing left to teach him. His parents were disappointed with his choice but they still tried to support him.
Career and Successes
Robin Williams started his career in the 1970s performing as a standup comedian in various shows. In 1977, he was performing at the Comedy Club in Los Angeles when a TV producer George Schlatter asked him to make an appearance on his “Laugh-In” show. This led to Robin’s debut TV appearance in the late 1977.
In 1978, the standup comedian auditioned for the role of Mork the Alien for “Happy Days”. When asked to take a seat, he immediately sat on his head which impressed the show producer. His character became so successful that it set off a sequel. It was a huge success that made the actor popular in the comedy genre. In 1979, the recording of his live comedy show “Reality…What a Concept” won him a Grammy Award.
Robin Williams got his first big break in the year 1980 when he played Popeye the Sailor Man.
More roles soon followed and in 1984, he found himself playing as Vladimir Ivanoff in “Moscow on the Hudson”, a comedy-drama that he got nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. After that in 1987, the actor portrayed a radio DJ in “Good Morning, Vietnam” which earned him great fame.
In 1989, Robin continued to break boundaries as he appeared in “Dead Poets Society”, a drama film that saw a massive success. “Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)” is one of his most memorable comedy films which fans will surely never forget. In 1997, the actor starred in “Good Will Hunting” and even though he played a serious role in it, it won him many awards.
The success of Robin William’s career continued and in the next several years, he performed in many popular films, including “One Hour Photo”, “License to Wed”, “Old Dogs”, “Robots”, and more. “Night at the Museum: Secrete of the Tomb (2014)” was Robin’s final appearance on the big screen.In 2015, the movie “Absolutely Anything” was released in which he voiced Dennis the Dog. The film closed out his 38-year long career.
Apart from being a great actor and comedian, Robin Williams was also a known philanthropist. In 1996, along with fellow celebrities Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg, he founded the charity foundation Comic Relief, USA to help the homeless. He also created the Windfall Foundation with his second wife to help donate money to various noble causes. Robin was also very passionate about supporting the military. Around the world, he performed at many bases in different countries and throughout his career, he entertained more than a hundred thousand troops.
Challenges and Setbacks
Robin Williams went through a lot of hardships. The actor always had problems with drug abuse and alcoholism. He suffered from depression as well. While he managed to quit cocaine and alcohol in the early 1980s, he lapsed back into alcohol abuse in 2003 when he was working on the film “The Big White” in Alaska.
Robin’s new TV show “The Crazy Ones (2014)” got cancelled after the first season. After this incident, he was back in rehab. Around that time, he learned that he had Parkinson’s Disease which was later confirmed to be actually Lewy body dementia when he died.
Robin’s first two marriages also had setbacks.
His first wife Valerie Velardi left him after 10 years because she eventually refused to put up with his drug abuse and alcoholism. His second marriage with Marsha Garces lasted until 2007. After the divorce, he was in rehab for a long time because he could no longer beat his alcoholism and depression by himself.
In 2011, Robin got married for the third time. His third wife Susan Schneider did everything in her powers to stop his drug abuse and alcoholism from remitting. After his death in 2014, she revealed that he had been having prolonged and severe episodes of anxiety and fear, stress, constipation, insomnia, and hand tremors for more than a year.
What Made Robin Williams Special/Black Sheep?
A true genius in the comedy genre and a prestigious actor, Robin Williams united children and adults alike with his undeniable talent and infectious personality. From comic television and standup roles to winning an Oscar, he excelled in creating his personal brand of comedy while also being able to cope with the spectrum of human suffering. His accomplishments despite the hardships over the years and his legacy as one of the most well-known celebrities make him the Black Sheep of the Month. Let us not forget his charitable character, most known for requiring the employment of the homeless, he also spearheaded several charitable organizations for both adults and children alike.
Even though he was originally a comedian, he emerged in the history of cinema as one of the greatest drama actors as well. His iconic roles and the characters he played throughout his career will forever remain trademarks of high art. We hope you enjoyed this segment and cant wait for next months pick. Till Next Time!– The Black Sheep