Robin Williams

American actor and comedian (1951–2014)

Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) was an American actor and stand-up comedian.[5] He first became famous on the television show Mork and Mindy. He starred in many movies.

Robin Williams
Williams in 2011
Robin McLaurin Williams

(1951-07-21)July 21, 1951
DiedAugust 11, 2014(2014-08-11) (aged 63)
Cause of deathAsphyxiation due to suicide by hanging
Resting placeCremated; ashes scattered in San Francisco Bay
Alma materJuilliard School
  • Actor
  • comedian
Years active1976–2014
  • Valerie Velardi
    (m. 1978; div. 1988)
  • (m. 1989; div. 2010)
  • (m. 2011; "his death" is deprecated; use "died" instead. 2014)
3; including Zelda Williams
Comedy career
  • Stand-up
  • film
  • television
InfluencesJonathan Winters,[1][2] Warner Bros. Cartoons,[3] Dudley Moore,[4] Peter Sellers,[4] Peter Cook[4]

On August 11, 2014, Williams was found dead in his home.[6] His death was believed to have been a suicide by asphyxiation.[7]

Early life


Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 21, 1951. His father Robert Fitzgerald Williams (September 10, 1906 – October 18, 1987) worked for Ford Motor Company. His mother Laura McLaurin (née Smith, September 24, 1922 – September 4, 2001) was a former model from New Orleans, Louisiana.[8] His great-great-grandfather on his mother's side was Mississippi senator and governor Anselm J. McLaurin.[9] Williams' ancestors were English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, German, and French.[10][11][12]

When he was young, Williams lived in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and in Marin County, California. He studied at Redwood High School and at Claremont McKenna College. He studied to become an actor at the Julliard School in New York City and at the College of Marin.



After his family moved to Marin County, Williams began his career doing stand-up comedy shows in the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-1970s. His first performance took place at the Holy City Zoo, a comedy club in San Francisco, where he worked his way up from tending bar to getting on stage.

Williams became famous for his role as Mork in the television series Mork & Mindy (1978–1982). His idol Jonathan Winters also appeared in the show. Williams went on to a successful career in both stand-up comedy and movie acting.

He acted in the movies The World According to Garp, Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Good Will Hunting, Popeye, Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, The Birdcage, Night at the Museum, and Happy Feet.

Williams appeared in the music video for "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin. In 2013, Williams starred as President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Lee Daniels' The Butler.

Before his death, Williams starred in the short-lived comedy The Crazy Ones. It was cancelled shortly before his death.

Once Williams got angry with Disney for using his voice as the Genie in Aladdin to sell merchandise for the movie. Disney tried to apologize to Williams. The Disney company bought a Picasso painting for him.[13]



Williams was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times. He received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting. He received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards.[14][15]

Personal life


Williams married Valerie Velardi in 1978. They divorced in 1988. In 1989, Williams married Marsha Garces. She divorced him in 2008. Williams married Susan Schneider in 2011. Their marriage lasted until Williams' death in 2014. Williams had a son with Velardi. He had a daughter and son with Garces. His son, Zak Williams, is an actor, businessman, and filmmaker. His daughter, Zelda Williams, is an actress.

Williams lived in San Francisco and Paradise Cay in California.



Williams was an alcoholic. He was also addicted to cocaine.[16] He had strong depression in the final years of his life.[7] On March 13, 2009, he had surgery to fix an aortic valve.[17] The surgery was successful.[18][19] One month before his death, Williams went to rehab for his alcoholism.[20] Williams' widow stated that he had been diagnosed with early stage Parkinson's disease before his death, but the actor was "not yet ready to share publicly" this information.[21] In November 2014, it was revealed that Williams had Lewy body dementia.[22]

On August 11, 2014 at about 11:45 am, Williams was found at his home by his personal assistant.[7] About ten minutes later, a 911 call was made saying that Williams was not reacting or breathing.[23] He was pronounced dead at 12:02 pm, shortly after emergency personnel arrived.[24][25] The Marin County Sheriff's department said the cause of death was probably asphyxia by hanging.[7] Williams was also found with cuts on his wrist.[26]

Williams was cremated. His ashes were scattered in the San Francisco Bay.[27] On December 16, 2014, it was revealed that, as a result of his death, Williams was the fastest growing search term on Google in 2014.[28]


Title Year Role Director(s) Notes
Can I Do It... 'Til I Need Glasses? 1977 Lawyer / Man with Tooth Ache I. Robert Levy
Popeye 1980 Popeye Robert Altman
The World According to Garp 1982 T.S. Garp George Roy Hill
The Survivors 1983 Donald Quinelle Michael Ritchie
Moscow on the Hudson 1984 Vladimir Ivanov Paul Mazursky
The Best of Times 1986 Jack Dundee Roger Spottiswoode
Club Paradise Jack Moniker Harold Ramis
Seize the Day Tommy Wilhelm Fielder Cook
Good Morning, Vietnam 1987 Adrian Cronauer Barry Levinson
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1988 King of the Moon Terry Gilliam Credited as Ray D. Tutto
Portrait of a White Marriage Air Conditioning Salesman Harry Shearer Uncredited cameo
Dead Poets Society 1989 John Keating Peter Weir
Cadillac Man 1990 Joey O'Brien Roger Donaldson
Awakenings Dr. Malcolm Sayer Penny Marshall
Shakes the Clown 1991 Mime Class Instructor Bobcat Goldthwait Cameo
Dead Again Doctor Cozy Carlisle Kenneth Branagh
The Fisher King Henry "Parry" Sagan Terry Gilliam
Hook Peter Banning / Peter Pan Steven Spielberg
FernGully: The Last Rainforest 1992 Batty Koda (voice) Bill Kroyer
The Timekeeper The Timekeeper (voice) Circle-Vision 360° film
Aladdin Genie and Peddler (voices) Ron Clements
John Musker
Toys Leslie Zevo Barry Levinson
Mrs. Doubtfire 1993 Daniel Hillard / Euphegenia Doubtfire Chris Columbus Also producer
Being Human 1994 Hector Bill Forsyth
Nine Months 1995 Dr. Kosevich Chris Columbus
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt Beeban Kidron Uncredited cameo
Jumanji Alan Parrish Joe Johnston
The Birdcage 1996 Armand Goldman Mike Nichols
Jack Jack Powell Francis Ford Coppola
Aladdin and the King of Thieves Genie (voice) Tad Stones Direct-to-video
The Secret Agent The Professor Christopher Hampton Uncredited
Hamlet Osric Kenneth Branagh
Fathers' Day 1997 Dale Putley Ivan Reitman
Deconstructing Harry Mel Woody Allen
Flubber Professor Philip Brainard Les Mayfield
Good Will Hunting Sean Maguire Gus Van Sant
What Dreams May Come 1998 Chris Nielsen Vincent Ward
Patch Adams Patch Adams Tom Shadyac
Jakob the Liar 1999 Jakob Heym Peter Kassovitz Also executive producer
Bicentennial Man Andrew Martin Chris Columbus
Get Bruce Himself Andrew J. Kuehn Documentary
A.I. Artificial Intelligence 2001 Dr. Know (voice) Steven Spielberg Cameo
One Hour Photo 2002 Seymour "Sy" Parrish Mark Romanek
Death to Smoochy "Rainbow" Randolph Smiley Danny DeVito
Insomnia Walter Finch Christopher Nolan
The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch Hans Hänkie Eric Idle TV movie
The Final Cut 2004 Alan W. Hakman Omar Naim
House of D Pappass David Duchovny
Noel Charlie Boyd / The Priest Chazz Palminteri Uncredited
Robots 2005 Fender (voice) Chris Wedge
The Big White Paul Barnell Mark Mylod
The Aristocrats Himself Penn Jillette
Paul Provenza
The Night Listener 2006 Gabriel Noone Patrick Stettner
RV Bob Munro Barry Sonnenfeld
Everyone's Hero Napoleon Cross (voice) Christopher Reeve
Daniel St. Pierre
Colin Brady
Man of the Year Tom Dobbs Barry Levinson
Happy Feet Ramon and Lovelace (voices) George Miller
Night at the Museum Theodore Roosevelt Shawn Levy
License to Wed 2007 Reverend Frank Ken Kwapis
August Rush Maxwell "Wizard" Wallace Kirsten Sheridan
World's Greatest Dad 2009 Lance Clayton Bobcat Goldthwait
Shrink Jack Holden Jonas Pate
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Theodore Roosevelt Shawn Levy
Old Dogs Dan Rayburn Walt Becker
Happy Feet Two 2011 Ramon and Lovelace (voices) George Miller
The Big Wedding 2013 Father Monighan Justin Zackham
The Butler Dwight D. Eisenhower Lee Daniels
The Face of Love Roger Arie Posin
Boulevard 2014 Nolan Mack Dito Montiel
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn Henry Altmann Phil Alden Robinson
A Merry Friggin' Christmas Mitch Tristram Shapeero Posthumous release
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt &
The Garuda Artifact
Shawn Levy
Absolutely Anything 2015 Dennis the Dog (voice) Terry Jones


  • 1979: Reality...What a Concept!
  • 1983: Throbbing Python of Love
  • 1986: A Night at the Met
  • 1987: Good Morning Vietnam Soundtrack
  • 1988: Pecos Bill; narrated a children's book, with music by Ry Cooder
  • 2003: Live 2002; recorded from a tour on Broadway, 2002
  • 2010: Weapons of Self Destruction; filmed in Washington D.C. during Williams' national tour[29]


  1. "Rolling Stone Interview" (PDF). 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  2. "Jonathan Winters, who influenced Jim Carrey and Robin Williams, among others, dead at 87". National Post. April 12, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  3. Williams, Robin (November 14, 2006). "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (Interview). Interviewed by Conan O'Brien. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Williams, Robin. "Robin Williams, Parkinson interview 2002" (Interview). Interviewed by Michael Parkinson. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  5. "Robin Williams Biography". IMDb.
  6. "Actor Robin Williams found dead in apparent suicide: sheriff". Yahoo! News. August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Levs, Josh; Duke, Alan. "Officials: Robin Williams apparently hanged himself with a belt". CNN. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  8. "If Robin Williams' comedies are inspired by his life no wonder he's been in therapy". Sunday Herald. 1999-03-14. Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  9. Rubenstein, Steve (2001-09-08). "Laurie Williams – comedian's mother – SFGate". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  10. "People News". Archived from the original on 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  11. "Full text of "Anselm J. McLaurin (late a senator from Mississippi)"". 1911. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  12. The Official and Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi, 1908, Pg. 977; "He [Anselm J. McLaurin] was married at Trenton, Miss., February 22, 1870, to Laura Elvira Victoria Rauch, daughter of John Rauch and wife, Epsilon Rauch, of Trenton, Miss. Mrs. McLaurin's paternal ancestors immigrated to America from Germany; maternal from England and Germany."
  13. "8 Facts You Might Not Have Known About Robin Williams". Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  14. Thomas, Mike (February 24, 2002). "A nose for laughs". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  15. McMullen, Marion (October 5, 2002). "Article: Weekend TV: Star profile. (Features)". Coventry Evening Telegraph. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  16. Aitkenhead, Decca (September 20, 2010). "Robin Williams: 'I was shameful, did stuff that caused disgust – that's hard to recover from'". The Guardian. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  17. Jones, Kenneth."Robin Williams' Spring Broadway Bow Postponed Due to Heart Surgery",, March 5, 2009
  18. "Robin Williams's Heart Surgery Called a Success".[permanent dead link]
  19. "Robin Williams' heart surgery goes 'extremely well'". CNN. March 23, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  20. "Robin Williams in Rehab to Maintain Sobriety". TMZ. July 1, 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  21. "Robin Williams 'had Parkinson's'". BBC. August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  22. "Report: Williams had Lewy body dementia". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  23. "Investigation into Death of Actor Robin Williams" (PDF). Huffington Post. August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  24. Itzkoff, Dave; Fitzsimmons, Emma G. (August 11, 2014). "Robin Williams, Oscar-Winning Comedian, Dies at 63". New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  25. "Robin Williams Dies of Suspected Suicide". The Hollywood Reporter. August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  26. "Robin Williams Autopsy Report Update: Coroner Confirms Belt Around Actor's Neck, Wrist Cut". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  27. Dillon, Nancy (August 20, 2014). "Robin Williams' ashes scattered in San Francisco Bay". New York Daily Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  28. Robin Williams tops 2014 list of Google searches Archived 2014-12-19 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 18 December 2014
  29. "Robin Williams Discography". 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2015-08-19.

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