Most of you have probably heard the heartbreaking news regarding Robin Williams, who was found dead in his home a few days ago. At only 63 years old, his death was as unexpected as it was tragic. The joy and laughter he brought to multiple generations of people will not be forgotten as we grieve this loss. Comedy will never quite be the same.
I would be surprised to meet someone who was not familiar with the longtime actor and comedian. His talents spread across several genres, making him popular with adults, children and everyone in between. Mr. William’s impact on film is apparent, take his roles as the Genie in Aladdin, Flubber, Good Will Hunting, and of course Mrs. Doubtfire, for example- and that is just to name a few.
But there was even more to Robin Williams than most of us knew, making his talent and comedy even more admirable and memorable than it already is.
Below is a list of facts you may not have known about the beloved actor and his inspiring career:
1. Williams began his career as a struggling street mime in New York City.
2. He helped lift the spirits of many of our nation’s troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait during their own struggles.
3. He improvised most of his lines as Genie in Aladdin.
4. During the filming of “Schindler’s List,” Robin would call Steven Spielberg to tell him jokes and bring him some happiness.
Spielberg affectionately dubbed the calls, “comic care packages over the telephone.”
5. In high school, Williams was voted “funniest” and “least likely to succeed.”
Williams would grow up to receive five Grammys, two Emmys, and an Academy Award.
6. His favorite childhood book was “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” which he would read to his kids.
7. He dressed in scrubs and surprised his friend in the hospital after a career-ending accident.
Christopher Reeves and Robin Williams became good friends after both attending The Juilliard School. Reeves was devastated after an accident ended his career but Williams helped him feel better by showing up to the hospital in scrubs, glasses, and a surgical gown, speaking in a Russian accent. In his book, “Still Me,” Reeves recalls how that was the first time he laughed since his accident.
8. Williams helped a girl, Jessica Chastain, become the first person in her family to attend college by funding her a full-ride scholarship to Juilliard.
Even as Robin Williams grew into a famous actor and comedian, he never forgot where he came from and how he started out. Williams was always helping others whether it was through generous donations or the gift of laughter. He will surely be missed.