Robin Williams was a singular supernova, a comedic force of nature who literally sent audience members to the hospital with laughter. And yet over the course of his three decade career he also showed an emotional range as an actor and elder statesman that few other funny men can touch. With his tragic passing last night, we wanted to take a minute to remember some of his hilarious and powerful work for film, television, and stage.
An amazing standup set at The Roxy from 1978, early in Williams career, that seems him bounding offstage, climbing up into the mezzanine, playing the harmonica, and flying through dozens of impressions in rapid fire sequence.
Williams had begun to attract notice as a standup comic and regular on Richard Pryor's television show. But he really launched his career with an oddball role as an extraterristrial visiting earth in the sci-fi sitcom Mork and Mindy. Here's the pilot episode in its entirety.
Already well know for his standup comedy and role as Mork, Williams showed the world another side of himself in Good Morning Vietnam. The role featured his trademark rapid fire comedy and impersonations, but also gave audiences their first glimpse at the serious side of the Juilliard-trained actor.
Over the course of his career, Williams received four Golden Globes, two Emmys, and five Grammys. In 1997, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Good Will Hunting. The Boston bench seen in the scene above served as an impromptu memorial this week.
James Lipton's Inside the Actor's Studio is a forum for serious actors to relax and unwind. For Williams, it was an opportunity to simply launch into the stratosphere. Here is a four minute clip rounding up the best moments from his more than five hours of riffing and rambling.
As a testament to his multi-generational appeal, Williams appeared in numerous Sesame Street episodes from 1990 to as recent as 2012. Here is his latest teaching the word "conflict" along with the Two-Headed monster.
In one of his most intensely personal interviews, Robin Williams sits down with Marc Maron in April 2010 for a discussion that touches on comedy, family, and his struggles with alcohol and depression. By turns hilarious, heartfelt, and bittersweet, it's a deeply moving conversation that illustrates the many facets of the man. Maron has reposted the episode with a new intro for download.
And finally, a tribute from Williams daughter Zelda, posted last night on Twitter.
Important: If you're struggling and need to talk to someone, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.