Personality of Robin Williams
“On stage you‘re free. You can say and do things that if you said and did any place else, you ‘d be arrested.”
He was a man whose smile never faded away from his lips. He had a bright face, sparkling eyes and a heart full of love generosity and kindness. He was a talented but tormented soul and wore his happiness like a mask every day carrying his audiences away with his humorous stories and his satire.
Only a few people really knew him – sadly he was often misjudged. He was a talented comedian and an exceptionally gifted actor with a profound influence on many generations. He grew on people and won the world’s warmest adoration. He was a man of genius who found his way into people’s hearts with his humor like no one ever did before and fulfilled his potential. This man changed the stand-up comedy with his free-flying improvisational style.
He was a one-of-a-kind professional, a truly talented and respectful man that influenced his audiences and gave them smiles that reached deep into their chests and warmed their hearts. Robin Mclaurin Williams’ unique life story inspired people all around the world. His sudden death sent shockwaves through the world and gave rise to many questions.
“I’m a born entertainer. When I open the fridge door and the light goes on, I burst into song.”
The Lonely Childhood of Robin Williams
Robin Williams was born on July 21, 1951 in Lake Forest, Chicago. He came from a wealthy family and had two elder half brothers, Robert Todd Williams and McLaurin Smith-Williams. Unfortunately, due to their parents’ divorce, Robin grew up and was raised as an only child and had no sibling relationship with his brothers whatsoever.
The siblings were divided between households and Robin ended growing up with his grandparents. He had a wealthy upbringing along with an exceptional education. He spoke six languages: English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German and French. His multilingual education was an asset to his acting career as it made him adept at vocal imitation.
Character and Phobias
Back in the days no one could ever predict that this quiet child would become such a exceptional comedian. Robin felt lonely and neglected by his own parents. Having no parents, friends or siblings around, he took comfort in his huge toy collection of nearly 2.000 toys.
He was a shy introvert, overweight, chubby boy with depression in his eyes often staring into space, but also restless from time to time seeking adult attention.
The time spent with his father was limited since he was constantly away for business, as it was with his mother who was caught up in her own life being a model and a nonprofit founder of nonprofit organizations. As a result, Robin grew up with plastic toys instead of loving interaction.
Parenthood creates a special bond that spans the years. Even though every parent wishes for that to happen, at times bad parenting gets in the way of achieving it. Many parents are often so caught up and stuck in their own personal and working lives that fail to care for their children. But there is no excuse for neglect. It is a form of emotional abuse that traumatises the child and has life-long effects.
Children have an especially difficult time with divorce as well. They have to cope with a changing family environment and loose daily contact with one or even both parents. Every divorce causes a turbulent transformational time in a child’s life, leaving a childhood trauma.
“Comedy is acting out optimism.”
His parents’ divorce and the abandonment had an immediate effect on Robin. He became utterly quiet and reserved; he often seemed lost in his own thoughts and never talked much. He was often stressed out, had tremendous fear of the dark, especially of dark corners as well as shadows, loneliness and strangers.
Smiling and laughter were totally absent from his life. He closed himself off and sat home all alone gazing at the empty walls or at his toys. He didn’t eat much and he avoided going to school.
But when he did go to school, he felt good, seeing that he had his friends’ and teachers’ attention. He was an average student, neither the funniest nor the most introvert one. Robin attended Deer Path Junior High School until the age of 12. Later on, he moved along with his grandparents in a huge apartment in Detroit. Little did it matter to him, that he had a whole floor to himself.
“We were talking briefly about cocaine…yeah. Anything that makes you paranoid and impotent, give me more of that!”
First Steps into Acting
Robin’s loneliness made him come up with stories and fictional characters in his mind as well as talk to imaginary friends. He used his vivid imagination as a cure to loneliness.
Robin was then enrolled in Detroit Country Day School, a private all-boys school, where he was on the school’s soccer team and wrestling team, and was elected class president. But Robin wasn’t always famous at school. He had a strange behavior from time to time due to the various problems he was struggling with, such as the lack of affection and attention from his mother and the isolation from his peers and relatives.
As a result, he became victim of intellectual bullying and an outcast at school. His classmates made fun not only of his height and weight, but also of his dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Robin however was smart enough to realize that he had to find an alternative way to fight off the negativity around him and get closer to his classmates. This was also what made him famous later in life: humor. He began to cultivate an understanding that making people laugh was a way of avoiding bullying.
For him, the only way to bridge the distance between himself and his audience was by telling jokes. He finally started getting along with his classmates and this was the first time Robin got to “be somebody” at school, though he felt “a nobody” deep inside. He participated in his school’s Drama Club and performed in plays. At that time, he realized that, in this way, he could gain the respect of his peers. Getting the attention he so much desired, was also what gave him strength and seeing other people laugh with his jokes filled the empty hole in his soul. He’d been doing the same thing at home as a way to get attention and impress his family with his comic talent.
“I like my wine like my women – ready to pass out!”
Humor and Communication
When he turned 16, he moved for one last time with his grandparents in Woodacre, California, where he lived most of his life. He started at a new school, Redwood High School, Larkspur, and he began to use his wit to win over his classmates there as well. He also joined the Club of Performing Acts and school’s official Drama Club for this reason. Bullying was a thing of the past for him as he made new friends really quickly – his sense of humor was his superpower. Right before his graduation he was awarded with the “funniest” and the “less likely to succeed guy” awards.
His family acknowledged his humor value as well, with it being something that played a great deal in their communication. Although things seemed to take a positive turn in their relationship, Robin knew this was not the case. Humor bound them together but Robin knew it wasn’t enough to bridge the communication gap between himself and his parents.
The lack of love and attention from the most important people in his life made Robin use jokes and other funny stories to keep them closer. He had an obsessive and compulsive need to constantly make his parents laugh.
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ’Let’s party!’”
Humor as an Integral Part of his Life
As the years were passing by, Robin evolved his joke-telling talent and took it one step further. He developed a talent for mimicry and began to experiment with doing different voices. He poked fun at his own experiences and worries and difficulties of his everyday life. He felt joy in making others happy and feel better about life. But behind his smile, the joy and his jokes, was a hurting heart, and that was the grim reality of his bitter life. He could easily improvise and joke about his bad experiences, making them sound hilarious. Some of his favorite topics were:
- motherly attention
He always used humor to cope with difficult and stressful situations in his life and one would think it worked as a remedy for him.
He graduated high school in 1969 and it was time to decide about his future. After long talks with his father und under a lot of pressure he applied and got accepted to Claremont Men’s College, California, in Political Science department.Soon, he realized that this new field he was getting into was completely strange and dull, and, thus, he dropped out after first semester.
Since he gave up on his father’s dream to become a politician, he chose his own path and broke into the world of comedy and acting.
“I went to rehab in wine country, just to keep my option open.”
The Drama School that Changed his Life
Robin decided to study theatre at the College of Marin, one of the most prominent acting schools worldwide, in Kentfield, California. His natural talent in acting and his improvisational skills helped him stand out and succeed as a student. As a matter of fact, his professor James Dunn once said: “I first knew he was more talented than the other kids… I remember calling my wife at 2 p.m. and telling her that this young man was going to be something special.”
In 1973 Robin received his first big break and left College of Marin for The Juilliard School in New York City, where he was awarded a full scholarship. Juilliard School is a prestigious performing-arts conservatory in Manhattan which is one of the world’s best institutions of performing arts and only 20 freshmen are admitted in Juilliard School per year. Moreover, he even was one of the two students who were admitted in the Advanced Program by John Houseman, a legendary acting veteran and a prominent film producer, at the Juilliard School. Christopher Reeve and Williams gained the two places at the beginning of their freshman year.
“You‘re only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it.”
A Peculiar Student
The main courses at the Juilliard School were dance, drama, and music, and although it addresses to upcoming actors and not comedians per se, it played a significant role in Robin’s life and career.
His wealth and privileged background as well as his exceptional education at Juilliard School, a school ranked as one of the top of its kind worldwide, turned him into a highly educated actor.
During his studies he had the chance to meet some of the acting world’s most renowned people in entertainment industry such as John Houseman, a Romania-born British American actor, the actor and singer Kevin Kline, the actress and singer Patti Lupone, and the actor, tenor and comedian Mandy Patinkin.
Robin was an excellent student but quiet and shy; he had a sensitive soul and he was full of energy. He lived alone, away from his family, the way he wanted in Broadway, one of the most vibrant places in the world. Things could be even better if it wasn’t for the demons of his past that followed his every step and haunted his thoughts. His peers loved both his character and his unique way of telling jokes. At the time, no one could even guess the burden inside him.
“The only reason Mickey Mouse has four fingers is because he can’t pick up a cheque.”
Robin left- or more preciously was cut off– Juilliard School during his junior year in 1976 without actually graduating. During his studies, he stayed true to his real passion of comedy. That may have been the reason why the Juilliard School underestimated his acting talent, and justified this decision by saying that Robin was just a comedian and that he could never be a “real” actor. There appears to be some agreement from all of the various accounts that Robin’s maniac performance style was at odds with the more traditional values emphasized by the institution. The school certainly emphasized the connection when Robin’s career went stratospheric.
Robin was indeed exceptional in comedy, but he just couldn’t or better yet wouldn’t follow the School’s formal study program. Robins‘ temperament was simply unsuited to the classical training program Juilliard School had to offer, he always went off script the way it suited him and made fun even out of the most serious roles. This was something that made him stand out from the other students and teachers liked it, however this wasn’t how things run in Juilliard School. Sometimes he was so drawn into improvisation that his fellow students couldn’t keep up with their own roles. The Schools formal study program didn’t come up to his expectations and made him feel restricted. The knowledge he got from the School have been of great value later to his movies.
He never saw acting and comedy as a job. For him these two were his way to communicate with the word and express himself. All he ever wanted was to leave his touch on every part he played and make each role deeply embedded in his personality.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
A lifelong friendship
A great chapter in Robin Williams’ life was his friendship with Christopher Reeve whom he met in his first year in Juilliard School. They were the only two students accepted to the advanced program and study under John Houseman. Robin and Christopher were like brothers. They shared a room, their stuff, their most secret thoughts, even food when Robin had no money to eat. While at Julliard, they were so close, that they made a special pact — whoever ‘made it’ first would always support the other one. Reeve of course went on to be Superman, while Williams made a name for himself as one of the funniest comedians of his generation, or of any generation for that matter.
They both grew up into successful actors and shared a special bond that always kept them close to each other. Unfortunately, the time came when their promise had to be fulfilled. In 1995, Christopher had a nearly fatal horse-riding accident that caused severe spinal-cord injury and left him a quadriplegic. While there was no need for either to support each other financially, rumors have been bubbling away for years that Williams wrote a cheque for 1.5 million pounds ($2.7 million) to pay Reeve’s medical bills. Robin stayed by his side, not only by visiting him at the hospital and giving him courage by making him laugh, but also through his donations to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. It was Robin’s way of saying thank you to his friend’s kindness and help during their student years. They shared in fact a true friendship, and stayed close in good and bad times, without ever expecting anything in return.
When Christopher Reeve died on October 10, 2004 of cardiac arrest, Robin Williams was inconsolable. “The world has lost a tremendous activist and artist and an inspiration for people worldwide. I have lost a great friend,” he said. It is a friendship that has endured, even in death, and Robin Williams dedicated the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in 2005 to his best friend, Christopher Reeve.
“My battles with addiction definitely shaped how I am now. They really made me deeply appreciate human contact and the value of friends and family, how precious that is.”
The charity work of Robin Williams
Besides being an exceptional actor and comedian, Robin Williams was a very kind person with a big heart as evidenced in all the charity work he did throughout his life. Apart from Christopher and Dana Reeve’s Foundation, he used to donate great amount of money to many more organizations, such as:
- Comic Relief for Homeless and Hurricane Katrina victims
- Médecins Sans Frontières
- Operation Smile
- The Pediatric AIDS Association
- Challenged Athletes Foundation
- Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- Make a Wish Foundation
- Project Open Hand
- The Gorilla Foundation
- River of Words
- God’s Love We Deliver
- Women at Ground Zero
- Bread and Roses
- Meridian Gallery
- Mercury House
- Season of Sharing
- Muir Fest
- USO – University Service Organizations, like Iraq and Afghanistan
- University of California
- San Francisco General Hospital Pediatrics
- Windfall Foundation
- Jude Children’s Research Hospital
He was also a great supporter of literacy and women’s rights. Moreover, he was a supporter of Juilliard’s drama students through the Robin Williams Sholarship which supported the tuition cost of a student each year.
“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”
From zero to hero
While he was studying, Robin made some extra money as a stand-up comedian in local comedy clubs, like Holy City Zoo and later in Boarding House and Old Spaghetti Factory, with quite a success, at first only once a week but later on, on a daily basis. He once said: “When I left school and couldn’t find acting work so I started going to clubs where you could do stand-up…I’ve always improvised and stand-up was a great relief. All of a sudden it was just me and the audience.”
Once on stage, he wasn’t Robin any more. He shared his experiences and all his thoughts and stories with his audience, delivering blow after blow of hilarity, without being misunderstood. Through a refreshing mixture of comedy and satire he managed to connect with his audiences and kept them engaged all the way through by going to their tables or bringing them on stage.
According to the comedian Steve Perl “he was a tornado, frenetic and ripping all over the stage…”
Women cheered like crazy and glorified him for every joke. Robin had a unique way to charm his audiences, dispel all negativity and take them on a journey with him into his special world. Yet, there was more to him than what he let others see. He could easily mask his feelings and let no one peak into his soul. There was a contradiction between his personal life and his life as a funnyman.
There is a saying that “Comedians are tortured, weighed down souls who tell jokes in an attempt to dispel their inner demons and fight off their depression”. This seems to be something 100% true in Robin Williams’ life as well.
“If women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.”
The road to self-destruction
After his student years, Robin moved to Los Angeles where he took the road to self-destruction. Alcohol, drugs, the hardships of life along with his demanding lifestyle dragged the young comedian into a vicious cycle of stress and depression.
He once said that coke was for him a place to hide. Drugs seemed to offer him a few moments of inner peace and relaxation and helped him find balance between his highly demanding work and his life. Robin had an intense, utterly manic style of stand-up comedy, he created frenetic monologues of personal stories and through his audience’s approval he tried to cure his weary and depressed soul.
Performing after a hung over made him feel paranoid on stage, but he said he never got on stage drunk or under the influence of drugs. According to him, he started using drugs and alcohol early in his career in order to cope with the stress of performing stand-up.
“Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose.”
Robin knew very well that playing with drugs and alcohol was like playing with fire. But the pressure he felt didn’t let him rest. His fans had high expectations. They always wanted to see him laugh and smile, what even the most talented actor couldn’t.
People were so enchanted by his talent that forgot that Robin was just a human being with feelings, problems and a tough background. No one actually listened to him when he went on and on about his problems on stage, as if he was asking for help. He even spoke about alcohol and drugs and he often opened his performances with the following line: “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you, you have too much money.”
“The human spirit is more powerful than any drug – and that is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. These are the things that matter…”
Robin’s first marriage
Robin met his first wife Valerie Velardi in 1976 in San Francisco where he was working as a bartender, while starting a career in comedy, trying to make a living. She was taking a graduate degree at Mills College hoping to be a successful dance teacher in the future. They got married two years later in 1978.
Then, they moved together in Los Angeles, where he made his first appearance in a well-known Comedy Club that changed his life. The well-known film producer George Schlatter who sat among the audience was left speechless by his performance and decided they had to work together. “He’s one of the well-educated comedians we’ve ever had”, he said.
Later on, he got the leading role in the television series “Mork & Mindy”, a comedy about an alien and his human friend, that proved a great success and run from 1978 to 1982. He would ad-lib most of his lines adding some edgy humor here and there, and he got himself a fanclub. When his earnings raised, he moved with his wife in a bigger house, got himself a new car – a Silver BMW – and many pets. They also started doing charity work together for the Human Dolphin Foundation.
“Carpe per diem – seize the check.”
The movies that scared him for life
Robin, as well as the people who believed in him and his talent, knew that despite that he never got a degree in acting, he was well capable of taking part in movies and successfully perform many different roles. He proved that throughout his acting career.
In fact, he was more than a talented comedian. He was a remarkable actor with great emotional intelligence capable of jumping from stand-up comedy right into the most serious role.
He never broke character and he preferred to take on roles of troubled characters, maybe because he could identify with them easier. Robin made his big-screen debut in a lead role playing the famous spinach-eating sailor in Popeye in 1980 and later on he stars as the leading character in The World According to Garp in 1981.
In 1990 he got a role in Awakenings where he portrayed a doctor who tries to help his catatonic patients. It is a heartwarming story that gives strength and courage to those who struggle with difficulties and teaches us to appreciate and live life. Robin was at the time dealing with his own issues and problems.
Performing and acting were for him two totally different things. As a comic one speaks faster than normal whereas an actor, has to speak slow and clear and give more emotion. With acting Robin had certain constrains. He couldn’t express himself the way he wanted and had to follow the script. Yet, he wanted to succeed as an actor and meet the audience’s expectations. He had to restrain himself in order to act. ”What do I like more? Sure, I like performing full out,” he once said.
“Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.”
Putting a lot of effort into acting, and many movies later, he finally managed to win himself a place between Hollywood’s greatest actors, and get the starring role in director Barry Levinson’s Good Morning, Vietnam in 1987. In this dramedy Robin proved that he was not only a great comedian, but also a great actor. He played the role of a radio DJ on Armed Forces Radio Service who keeps the troops entertained during the Vietnam War. It was the perfect role for him, one that encapsulated his ability to improvise and made his comedic-talent stand out. He was an Oscar nominee for the first time for Best Actor in a Leading Role and winner of the Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. Robin’s performance in Good Morning, Vietnam is seen as one of his finest, because in fact he played himself in the move – a comedian who tries to bring laugher and joy into people’s lives.
“Being in the same room with people and creating something together is a good thing.”
A few years later in the 90’s, and after rehab and a few scandals, Robin reached again the top. He took part in six successful movies. Dead Poets Society in 1989 earned him his Second Oscar nomination. The movie tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students through his teaching of poetry. Robin himself was inspired from memories of a couple of his own teachers for this role. He read the scripts with great concentration and played the most serious roles without making fun of them. The Fisher King followed in 1991, and his performance as Parry – a homeless guy who saves a man from suicide – earned Robin Williams the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and his third Academy Award nomination. In 1993 he played the role of Mrs. Doubtfire, a divorced father who disguises himself as a middle-aged nanny in order to spend time with his children. He got into the role of the ex-husband very well at the time, since divorce was something that he went through a while ago in his personal life as well. He was so convincing that he earned the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor once again.
“Reality: What a concept!”
In 1997 Robin won his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Good Will Hunting for his role as a therapist. He was nominated for eight more Oscar Awards. Robin then proved that he can act in serious and emotional roles and captivate the audience with his performance. Will Hunting works as a janitor at MIT and spends his free time at bars with his friends. When he is the only one who solves a difficult graduate-level math problem left on the hallway’s chalkboard, his talents are discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau. When Will gets arrested after a fight, Professor Lambeau decides to help the young man, if he agrees to get counseling with a therapist and deal with his problems. Robin Williams in the role of the therapist Sean Maguire manages to win the young man’s trust and helps him find direction in his life. Robin wanted a figure like that in his life as well, someone to help him and ease his pain.
Robin once said that he could see a bit of himself in every role he played. He liked getting into different characters and prove his acting-talent not only to the audience but to himself as well. He chose roles of troubled characters and his troubled past helped him convincingly perform every one of them.
In 1998 he stares in the film Patch Adams as a doctor who wants to treat the spirit as well as the body of his patients using humor and love as the best medicine. He showed the world that even the most serious scientists can have a sense of humor.
In 2002, Robin takes a break from comedy and stars in the psychological thriller Insomnia as a troubled Alaskan writer and key suspect in the murder of a local teenage girl. Robin took on a villainous role, and through a sinister performance, showed us his darkest side.
In the same year he stars in another psychological thriller, One hour photo as a lonely, amateur photographer who finds solace in his job. Despite loving his job so much he seeks meaning in his life. He gets obsessed with his favorite customers, keeps their pictures on his wall and tries to get into their lives. The story leads the audience to the desolated world of a photographer who desperately seeks for human company and tries to socialize using his profession as a tool.
Through the black comedy-drama film World’s greatest Dad in 2009, Robin teaches us that what we want is not always what makes us happy. It’s a deep meaningful movie that spoke to Robins heart. After his suicide, rumors said that he learned the suicide technique from this movie. The protagonist’s son was found seated on the floor of this bedroom with a belt secured around his neck, and so was he.
It’s worth mentioning that Robin had a remarkable requirement for every film he did. The company hiring him, had to donate part of the earnings to the homeless and also had to hire a certain number of them and put them to work.
“In America they really do mythologize people when they die.”
His relationship with his fans
The fans that followed Robin from his very first steps as a comic, were used seeing him act in comedies and wanted the old, good, funny Robin back. But Robin never left his funny side behind and always made people laugh in every appearance he made. He thought himself to be the clown who played Hamlet. Still, it was hard for his fans to get used to him play in serious roles.
“I re – invented myself from comedy to do drama. You keep changing. So, it’s just another color of you get to paint with.”
A good actor can get into character and convincingly play every role he is called to. That was exactly what Robin wanted. He wanted to surprise his audience with his every role, either in a comedy or in drama. He loved being the criminal in the movies, what was less expected from a comedian. “I love playing characters like this because you ‘re no longer bound by the laws of likeability and the audience get a surprise attack. People think ‘Oh, it’s that nice man, he wouldn’t do anything awful.’ And then they realize… He’s a prick!”
“Sometimes you have to make a movie to make money.”
Everybody’s Got A Dark Side
Along with money came parties and hangovers. Publicity got into their lives for good and hit them hard. Because of his many appearances in television, Robin had his say on various taboo topics such as politics, drugs, death penalty, sex etc., what many people, especially parents who wanted to protect their children disapproved of.
Lies and rumors made their lives even harder. Rumor had it, that Robin was unfaithful to his wife. “It’s not the work but the social life that drained me”, he said.
In order to find some peace Robin made excessive use of drugs and alcohol and one thing led to another.
Exhaustion, both physical and emotional, got him. It has getting hard for his wife as well, who had to accept that she was now married to a public figure, and had to follow his lifestyle, accept criticism and be the subject of rumors while standing supportively by her husband’s side.
What’s worse is that some rumors had truth in them. Robin was now rich and women saw him thus differently. Under the influence of alcohol and drugs he gave in and did things that he would never think of doing sober.
All these scandals had a serious impact on his marriage. Valerie kept her calm in order to save her marriage. She loved him and trusted him. She didn’t make a scene when Robin went out with other women. She had in fact met many of them in person, saying they were wonderful. She was jealous only when she thought her marriage was in danger.
If she broke up with him, he would lose the most important person in his life. His life without his wife would be a disaster. Valerie loved him like no one else before. She was supportive and understanding and deeply concerned when he got wasted. Yet, things got worse and they started fighting. Robin was sinking deeper into self-destruction and was doing things that provoked her. Valerie was trying to keep only the good things, because when Robin was sober, he was his old good self.
He never loved money nor was he interested in living a rich life but he could no more control his actions and emotions. His marriage was suffering and so did his wife who watched all this in despair.
Robin and Valery gave a second chance to their marriage, and a few months later came in the world Robin’s firstborn child, Zachary “Zak” Pym Williams. That was an important moment in Robin’s life, when he realized that he wasn’t alone, he was responsible for his son’s life and that he couldn’t put him in danger. His son needed him.
“Comedy can be a cathartic way to deal with personal trauma.”
Fame can be fatal
It’s a common misconception that famous people have it all: beauty, success, money, independency. This perception is however most of the times totally false. Behind the cameras they are sad, their smiles are fake, there is a lot of stress and drugs. This is how many famous people end up, leaving us with the question, of why they who have everything, ruin their lives? What’s missing?
These people have the darkest secrets. They have plenty of money but no meaning in life. They bring joy and laugher in other peoples’ lives but can’t do the same for themselves. They don’t seek help and fall to pieces. They keep their desires and fears locked inside their souls, pretending to be strong.
Robin Williams once said that being famous and talented is not an easy job. Being a star is a 24-hour job, with no breaks, rest or anonymity. You can’t leave your face at the office. Once famous – always famous, even after your death.
So, it seems that even people with strong and balanced personalities cannot cope with pressure and constant public attention. Drugs and alcohol are their only solution.
“Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.”
How drugs can kill
In 1982, Robin’s friend, John Belushi died of cocaine and heroin overdose at the age of 33. The event shocked and brought Robin to his senses, since he was dealing with drug addiction at the time as well and they both followed similar lifestyles and careers. In fact, on the night of Belushi’s death, the two had been doing drugs together.
Robin though that Belushi had the “constitution of a bull” and that nothing bad could happen to him. But he was wrong. Comparing their lifestyles, he realized that the same could happen to him soon. His life was in danger.
A life without drugs
Belushi’s death and the birth of his son made Robin think about where his life was taking him. He decided that in order to live his dream, and raise his son as a good father, setting a good example, he had to stay away from drugs and any other dangerous lifestyle.
As a substitute for his bad habits, Robin took up a new hobby, good for his mental and physical health: cycling. He even accumulated a large bicycle collection. His friend and owner of San Francisco bicycle, Tony Tom, said: “He came shortly after John Belushi passed away from a drug overdose. He said: I’ll tell ya – cycling saved my life.”
His life seemed to take a positive turn with a happy ending. It took only two decades before he turned back to his bad habits.
He got out of drugs, but gained a new addiction to military games. He was an internet junkie, who played games online and rumor has it that he was posing as a six-year-old girl “Samantha” in chatrooms. His favorite games were:
- First person shooter games
- Half – life
- War Craft 3
- Call of Duty
- Battlestation Pacific
Robin knew that he had to be careful with videogames. He was aware that people have even committed suicide when their online character was killed. As a weak person who suffered from depression, he could easily get sucked in the game world. He played alone in his room in front of his screen battling not only enemies but also with his thoughts. That was a bad combination for sure. Some even blamed videogames for his death.
In the study Pathological Video Game Use Among Youths. A Two-Year Longitudinal Study, about the relation between gaming and psychology Dr. Douglas Gentile of State University says: “I was expecting to find that the depression let to gaming. But we found the opposite in that study. The depression seemed to follow the gaming. As kids became addicted, then their depression seemed to get worse. And, as they stopped being addicted, the depression seemed to lift.” In Robin’s case those two went hand in hand, since he was already suffering from depression. “I think it’s truly co morbid. This means when two medical conditions are intertwined.” Gaming addiction and phycological problems coexist. People Believe that gaming will free them from their suffering but it makes it worse.
“The human spirit is more powerful than any drug – and that is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. These arethe things that matter.”
New demons in his life
Once people recovering from addiction go back to normal life, they’re likely to start using again, unless they take action to avoid their triggers.
Once Robin remained drug-free he thought his problems were over but rumors and scandals turned his life upside down once again. His affair with Michelle Tish Carter became public when she sued the actor and comedian for many million dollars, alleging that he gave her herpes during their relationship. This rumor was never proven true but damaged his personal life and career. Valerie and Robin divorced two years later in 1988. Robin made the following comment on his divorce: “Sure I’m happy about the movie, but right now I’m moving through my personal life like a hemophiliac in a razor factory.”
Robin hadn’t been fair to the only person that loved him unconditionally and gave him everything. Why do we hurt those we love the most?
Robin had an unstable personality, he had serious psychological problems and wasn’t himself at the time. He was aware of the damage he made to himself and his family but he couldn’t fight the sorrow and pain carved deep into his soul. His fans not knowing what he went through could not forgive him either.
He’d hurt everyone he loved. Guilt and regrets were a heavy load that he carried even on stage. He did his job right, but it wasn’t the same any more. Later, that very same year, Robin decided to start therapy.
“When I was growing up they used to say, “Robin, drugs can kill you.” Now that I’m 58 my doctor’s telling me, “Robin, you need drugs to live.” I realize now that my doctor is also my dealer.”
Robin’s second marriage
Robin remained on friendly terms with his ex-wife whilst he embarked on a relationship with Zak’s nanny, Marsha Garces, who had been living with them since 1984. Robin was once again happy. They married in 1989 when Marsha was pregnant with their daughter, and Robin’s second child, Zelda. In 1991 came in the world Robin’s third and last child, Cody Alan Williams.
After all these difficulties he’d been through, rehab, divorce, lawsuit, and close friends’ deaths, Robin finally stood on his own feet and launched to the top of the tabloids once again.
In 1993 he took a break from the spotlight, taking his family on a relaxing holiday in an Italian villa, with Marca being in charge.
Marca was well aware of Robins fragile mental state and always tried to protect him from the pressure of fame. She stood always by his side, gave him advise on his roles and watched his every step.
“She is the only person who is brutally honest with me. Most people would prefer to tell me what they think I want to hear. Not Marsha. She refuses to let me recycle old shtick just because it works. It’s vital to have someone who is determined to see that I grow as an actor,” he said.
“I never performed on drugs. That’d be stupid. It’s the same thing with athletes. They can’t perform when they have cocaine problems.”
The death of his loved ones
In 2001 Robin’s mother passed away and painful childhood memories came on the surface. He considered the death of his parents to be the saddest event of his life. He was left once again alone, just like when he was little, with the complaint that he never felt loved as a child nor really get to know the meaning of the words “family”, “care” and “motherly love”.
He wished he were close with his brothers to share the pain and grief with. He got all the love of the world from his fans, he felt true joy on stage when he made his audience laugh and he finally got the parental attention he needed in a big way…but he didn’t have his mother anymore.
Few years later in 2004, his best friend Christopher Reeve died at 52 from a sudden heart attack. It came as a shock to him, just like Belushi’s death years back. For the years to follow, the grief run deep.
From then onwards he reduced his stand-up comedy appearances and played only in dramas, roles of murderers and criminals. He spoke slowly and wearily in interviews, he didn’t make jokes and hardly ever smiled.
“I couldn’t imagine living the way I used to live. Now people come up to me from the drug days and go, ‘Hi, remember me?’ And I’m going, ‘No, did I have sex with you? Did I take a dump in your tool box?’”
Star in his own life
Alcohol found its way into his life once again. He thought it was the solution to all of life’s problems, that it would take the lonely and frightening thoughts away.
What was his deepest fear?
Robin was a huge star. His deepest fear was maybe dealing with fans’ expectations. People tend to expect more from those who have been successful. He felt a large pressurefrom his fanclub. He thought they don’t forgive mistakes, nor do they accept true feelings and troubles coming from a comedian.
Drugs and alcohol had been a setback in his life before but seemed his only way out. He knew his fans would find out eventually and that he would let them down.
Robin knew that drugs and alcohol could kill him. Things could turn worse this time.
His relapse into his bad habits turned his second marriage upside down as well. In 2006, after family intervention, Robin checked himself into Oregon’s Hazelden Springbrook treatment center for two months. He won the battle to stay sober but he couldn’t win his wife back. Even though Marsha has been a pillar of strength for him, she filed for divorce two years later.
“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”
Robin’s third and last marriage
Robin’s second divorce left him broke and devastated. He made sure his children were properly provided for and paid his ex-wives generous alimony, but he soon started running out of cash.
During that period of time Robin stared in very few movies. When his bad mood lifted in 2008, he decided to get on stage again and pick up where he left of. He performed stand-up comedy shows to make money and made fun out of it like he did with all his other problems in the past. It is said that his struggle with his finances was so big that he had to sell off almost every bicycle in his collection.
His friend Billy Cristal stated: “Over the last couple of years and the pin that he’s gone through, his brain is the one thing that’s kept him buoyant… he needs the stand-up in a different way than he did before. It’s still a safe place for him to be… he can talk about things and make himself feel better…”
Over that time period Robin met Susan Schneider – a 15 years younger than him woman – and got married for the third time in 2011. His children had grown up and chosen their own paths. Zelda was acting in small productions, Zak was married and Cody was doing music production.
The couple lived in Robin’s mother house, they loved doing things together such as kayaking, riding bikes and walking their dogs. Robin was trying to fill his life with as many beautiful moments as possible.
“You don’t know about real loss because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself.”
25 of Robin Williams’ Funniest Jokes
- If it’s the Psychic Network, why do they need a phone number?
- Who the fuck came with the idea of polygamy?! Who was having a marriage going, ‘My one marriage isn’t going too well, I’d like to double down.’?
- God gave men both a penis and a brain but, unfortunately, not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.
- The Chinese make everything! Even the ‘Free Tibet’ stickers.
- Do you think God gets stoned? I think so…Look at the platypus.
- Politics: ‘Poli’ a Latin word meaning ‘many’ and ‘tics’ meaning ‘bloodsucking creatures’.
- I wonder what chairs think about all day: ‘Oh, here comes another asshole.’
- Never pick a fight with an ugly person; they’ve got nothing to lose.
- And Honda has a car now that’ll park itself. I’m like, ‘Where were you when I was drinking?!’
- People say satire is dead. It’s not dead; it’s alive and living in the White House.
- I want to thank my father…the man who, when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said,: ‘Wonderful, just have a backup profession like welding.’ Thank you.
- We had gay burglars the other night; they broke in and rearranged the furniture.
- You could talk about same-sex marriage but people who have been married say ‘It’s the same sex all the time.’
- Being a functioning alcoholic is kind of like being a paraplegic lap dancer – you can do it, just not as well as the others, really.
- On the Immaculate Conception: The night that Mary said to Joe, ‘Joe, I’m pregnant,’ and Joe went, ‘Holy Mother of God!’ And she went, ‘You’re right! Aw, Jesus Christ, what a great name, Joe! That is so much better than Schmul! Way to go! I love you, Joe!’
- If women ran the world, we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every twenty-eight days.
- ‘I guess I should talk for a moment about the very serious subject of schizophrenia…’ ‘No, he doesn’t!’ ‘Shut up, let him talk!’
- If on your tax form it says, ‘$50,000 for snacks’, MAYDAY! You ‘ve got yourself a cocaine problem.
- Giving people tax rebates and then saying the economy is sound because they might spend it is like saying fat people are healthy because they might exercise.
- I walked into my son’s room the other day and he’s got four screens going at the same time. He’s watching a movie on one screen, playing a game on another, downloading something on this one, texting on that one… People say, ‘He’s got ADHD.’ Fuck that, he’s multitasking!
- “Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?”
- “Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. Some get it as a graduation gift.”
- “I don’t care. I clawed my way to the middle and I fucked my way down.”
- “In England, if you commit a crime, the police don’t have a gun and you don’t have a gun. If you commit a crime, the police will say: ‘Stop, or I’ll say stop again.’”
- “A lot of people thought Scarfacewas over the top. Anyone who had done a pound of Peruvian blow knows that is documentary.”
- “Why do you think there’s not so much comedy in Germany? Did you ever think you killed all the funny people?”
- Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose.
- We Americans, we’re a simple people . . . but piss us off, and we’ll bomb your cities.
- Thank you for the standing ovations! We had the orgasm up front. Let’s have a cigarette, let’s relax.
- Ah, yes, divorce … from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet.
- The moment the Pope dies, they take him through St. Peter’s Basilica, and fifty thousand cell phones are like [pantomimes the clicking sounds of camera phones] And I’m sure that was his last wish. “When I die, I want to be a screensaver.”
- When the media ask George W. Bush a question, he answers, ‘Can I use a lifeline?’
- Texting and driving at the same time is like jerking off and juggling at the same time. Too many balls in the air, if you catch my drift.
- When I was growing up they used to say, “Robin, drugs can kill you.” Now that I’m 58 my doctor’s telling me, “Robin, you need drugs to live.” I realize now that my doctor is also my dealer…
- People like to great New Yorkers: “Have a nice day, asshole!” “Fuck you, my friend! Enjoy your day!”
- Taking Viagra after open heart surgery is like a Civil War re-enactment with live ammo. Not good.
- I love the guys who say “I watch NASCAR for the racing.” Yeah, and I watch porn for the acting. You LIAR!
- I think that after you get married a third time you have to give up a body part. Larry King would just be a head on a fucking stick.
- It’s interesting when you see a girl with a bolt through her tongue. Why did you do that? To enahthe the thekthual thtimulathon. “Nothing drives my boyfriend crazy like the feel of cold steel on his hot rock.”
- I had sex with a prostitute when I was 21, I was so bad, she gave me a refund.
- Time is the best teacher, but unfortunately, it kills all of its students.
- I’ve actually gone to the zoo and had monkeys shout to me from their cages, “I’m in here when you’re walking around like that?”
- “The Second Amendment: It says you have the right to bear arms, or the right to arm bears, whatever the hell you want to do!”
- “If women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.”
- “The definition of pornography is quite simple. Erotic is using a feather, pornography is using the entire chicken.”
- “I think God made babies cute so we don’t eat them.”
- “I thought lacrosse was what you find in la church.”
- “If you can remember the ’60s, you weren’t there.”
- “Ballets: men wearing pants so tight you can tell what religion they are.”
- “Cricket is basically baseball on Valium.”
“This girl you met, she isn’t perfect either. But the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other.”
The final years
In the few months before his death Robin wasn’t in his best emotional and physical state. He slept for over 18 hours a day, felt constantly tired, had no appetite and was very distant. He kept the curtains closed all day to avoid the light.
He looked painfully thin. His face looked wrinkled and tired, his body shrunk in size. He couldn’t care less for his appearance. Depression was taking over. Then, in 2009 Robin was diagnosed with serious heart disease problems and underwent a bypass surgery in Ohio.
Robin seemed like a different man. His dark secret had been revealed. His exhaustion was evident. He couldn’t even fake a smile like he used to.
“What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.”
Why the change?
Robin sparked concern with his gaunt and exhausted appearance. Several questions arose: What made him look like this? When did his troubles start? Why nobody helped him? Why didn’t he seek help?
It was already too late. Drugs and alcohol took its toll on his life. His financial difficulties made it worse. The deaths of his loved ones – his parents’ and Christopher’s – left a deep scar in his heart and his two failed marriages made him feel desolate. His spirits sank lower and lower.
The money and glory of the past meant nothing for him, they never brought him peace. It may be he never realized how much people loved him.
“You treat a disease, YOU WIN, you lose. You treat a person, I’ll guarantee you’ll win.”
The death of a star
“This is the morning I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.” – Susan Schneider, Robin Williams’ 3rd wife said.
It was a tragic day. The news of his death on August 11, 2014 came as a huge shock. The Oscar-winning actor was found dead at his home in Tiburon, San Francisco. It was a tragic and sudden loss that stunned his fans and anyone who loved him.
He was only 63 years old. He may have gone forever, but no one will forget the twinkle in his eyes, his utterly genuine smile and his manic onstage energy. He gave smiles and laughter so freely to millions of people around the world and touched every element of the human spirit in a remarkable range of performances.
His death was attributed to asphyxia caused by hanging. Yet, the truth of what made him give an end to his life remains unknown. Could it be prevented? He was a man with an acute fear of abandonment, suffering as he once admitted from the “Love me Syndrome”, all of which derived from his lonely background and weary soul.
Robin suffered from a form of dementia called Lewy Body Disease (LBD). According to scientific research: “DLB is the second most common neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s and causes fluctuations in mental status, hallucinations and impairment of motor function.” Three months prior to his death he was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and was under heavy medication that might have affected his mental state.
It is sad that he never took the decision to seek counseling to help cope with Parkinson’s disease. More than half of the patients suffer from clinical depression that drastically changes their lives and affects them more than any other symptom.
The night before his suicide Robin stuffed his collection of watches into a sock out of fear they would get stolen, then he called his wife Susan to tell her he bought some magazines for her, went back home and locked himself in his room. That was the last time his wife saw him, since they were sleeping in separate bedrooms. He was found the next morning with a belt around his neck and cut wrists. He was pronounced dead shortly after.
The funeral was an Episcopalian service at Monte’s Chapel of the Hills a funeral home in California. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered over the San Francisco Bay. After his death everyone was trying in vain to understand what drove him to suicide.
“A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven. Then we’ll all be together forever.”
Why he did it
What made him give an end to his life? Why was he so miserable? He had achieved everything one can dream of in his carrier. He was a successful Oscar-winning actor. His whole carrier was an adventure, a journey of improvisation.
He was living in his own reality. His life was a movie about depression. The world’s greatest funnyman who gave smiles, love and happiness to people had nothing of these as a child. He was a scared, shy and lonely child that never got love or attention from his family. No money could bring his lost childhood back.
The comedy world lost one of its best that day. Yet, one who’s leaving a great legacy behind can never truly die. He will always be remembered for his jokes and his stories. His soul resting in peace, at last, will now be spreading joy and laughter in heaven.
Find the best collection of Robin William’s quotes here
Quotes of Robin Williams
Below, you will be able to be inspired by Robin Williams’s greatest quotes:
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Filmography of Robin Williams
|1977||Sorority ’62||TV Pilot|
|The Richard Pryor Show||Various characters||2 episodes|
|Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In|
|Eight Is Enough||Episode: “The Return of Auntie V”|
|1978||America 2-Night||Jason Shine||2 episodes|
|Happy Days||Mork||Episode: “My Favorite Orkan”|
|1978–82||Mork & Mindy||92 episodes|
|1979||Happy Days||Episode: “Mork Returns”|
|Out of the Blue||Episode: “Random’s Arrival”|
|1981–2010||Saturday Night Live||Himself||5 episodes; 4 as host, 1 as guest|
|1982||E.T. and Friends: Magical Movie Visitors||Host / various characters||TV special|
|Faerie Tale Theatre||Frog / Prince Robin||Episode: “Tale of the Frog Prince”|
|SCTV Network||Various||Episode: “Jane Eyrehead”|
|1982-83||Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour||Mork (voice)||26 Episodes|
|1984||Pryor’s Place||Gaby||Episode: “Sax Education”|
|1987||Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin||Various characters||TV special (comedy); Williams won Emmy award |
|Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam||Baby-san (voice)||Documentary|
|1990||The Earth Day Special||Everyman|
|1990–2012||Sesame Street||Himself||6 episodes|
|1991||Big Bird’s Birthday Celebration||Sesame Street special|
|A Wish for Wings That Work||The Kiwi (voice)||Credited as Sudy Nim|
|1992–94||The Larry Sanders Show||Himself||2 episodes|
|1994||Homicide: Life on the Street||Robert Ellison||Episode: “Bop Gun”|
Episode: “The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion“
|1998||One Saturday Morning||Genie||2 episodes|
|1999||L.A. Doctors||Hugo Kinsley||Episode: “Just Duet”|
|2000||Whose Line Is It Anyway?||Himself||Season 3, episode 9 (Guest star)|
|2003||Freedom: A History of Us||Josiah Quincy
Ulysses S. Grant
|Life with Bonnie||Kevin Powalski||Episode: “Psychic”|
|2006||Extreme Makeover: Home Edition||Himself||Episode: “The DeAeth Family”|
|Mind of Mencia||Episode: “That’s F**king Historical”|
|Blue’s Clues||“Behind the Clues: 10 Years of Blue” Blue’s Clues special|
|2008||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Merritt Rook||Episode: “Authority“|
|2009||SpongeBob SquarePants||Himself||Episode: “SpongeBob’s Truth or Square“|
|2012||Wilfred||Dr. Eddy / Himself||Episode: “Progress”|
|2013–14||The Crazy Ones||Simon Roberts||22 episodes|
|1997||Disney’s Math Quest: Aladdin||Genie|
- Off the Wall/ Live at the Roxy(1978) dir. Marty Callner
- An Evening with Robin Williams(1982–1983) dir. Don Misscher
- Robin Williams: An Evening at the Met(1986) dir. Bruce Gowers
- Activity in Theater in 1994, 2001 and 2011
- Robin Williams: Live on Broadway(2002) dir. Bill Crooks and Marty Callner, Sony Pictures Entertainment
- Robin Williams: Inside the Actors Studio, with James Lipton, Shout! Factory(2008)
- Weapons of Self Destruction(2009) dir. Marty Callner
|Golden Globe Awards||6||12|
|MTV Movie Awards||2||6|
Awards and nominations
|1987||Good Morning, Vietnam||Best Actor||Nominated|||
|1989||Dead Poets Society||Best Actor||Nominated|||
|1991||The Fisher King||Best Actor||Nominated|||
|1997||Good Will Hunting||Best Supporting Actor||Won|||
|1988||Good Morning, Vietnam||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Nominated|||
|1990||Dead Poets Society||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Nominated|||
|1979||Mork & Mindy||Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy||Won|||
|1980||Mork & Mindy||Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy||Nominated|||
|1985||Moscow on the Hudson||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Nominated|||
|1988||Good Morning, Vietnam||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Won|||
|1990||Dead Poets Society||Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|||
|1991||Awakenings||Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|||
|1992||The Fisher King||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Won|||
|1993||Aladdin||Special Award for Vocal Work||Won|||
|1994||Mrs. Doubtfire||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Won|||
|1998||Good Will Hunting||Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Nominated|||
|1999||Patch Adams||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Nominated|||
|2005||N/A||Cecil B. DeMille Award||Won|||
|1980||Reality…What a Concept||Best Comedy Album||Won|
|1980||Himself||Best New Artist||Nominated|
|1984||Throbbing Python of Love||Best Comedy Album||Nominated|
|1988||A Night at the Met||Best Comedy Album||Won|
|1989||Good Morning, Vietnam||Best Comedy Album||Won|
|2003||Robin Williams Live – 2002||Best Comedy Album||Won|
|2011||Weapons of Self Destruction||Best Comedy Album||Nominated|
|1992||Hook||Favorite Movie Actor||Won|
|1994||Mrs. Doubtfire||Favorite Movie Actor||Won|
|1996||Jumanji||Favorite Movie Actor||Nominated|
|1997||Jack||Favorite Movie Actor||Nominated|
|1998||Flubber||Favorite Movie Actor||Nominated|
|2000||Bicentennial Man||Favorite Movie Actor||Nominated|
|2006||Robots||Favorite Voice from an Animated Feature||Nominated|
|1992||The Fisher King||Best Male Performance||Nominated|
|1993||Aladdin||Best Comedic Performance||Won|
|1994||Mrs. Doubtfire||Best Comedic Performance||Won|
|1994||Mrs. Doubtfire||Best Male Performance||Nominated|
|1997||The Birdcage||Best Comedic Performance||Nominated|
|1997||The Birdcage||Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Nathan Lane)||Nominated|
Online Film & Television Association Awards
|1998||Good Will Hunting||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|2003||One Hour Photo||Best Actor||Nominated|
|2007||Happy Feet||Best Voice-Over Performance||Nominated|
|1979||Mork & Mindy||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|1987||Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin||Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program||Won|||
|1988||ABC Presents A Royal Gala||Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program||Won|||
|1994||Homicide: Life on the Streets||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated|||
|1996||Comic Relief VII||Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program (shared with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg)||Nominated|
|2003||Robin Williams: Live on Broadway||Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program and Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program||Nominated|
|2008||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated|||
|2010||Robin Williams: Weapons Of Self Destruction||Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special||Nominated|||
|2000||Jakob the Liar||Worst Actor||Nominated|
|2000||Bicentennial Man||Worst Actor||Nominated|
|2003||Death to Smoochy||Worst Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|1998||Good Will Hunting||Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Nominated|||
|1999||Patch Adams||Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|2003||One Hour Photo||Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|
|1992||The Fisher King||Saturn Award for Best Actor||Nominated|
|1993||Toys||Saturn Award for Best Actor||Nominated|
|1993||Aladdin||Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor||Won|
|1996||Jumanji||Saturn Award for Best Actor||Nominated|
|2003||Insomnia||Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|2003||One Hour Photo||Saturn Award for Best Actor||Won|
|1997||The Birdcage||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Won|||
|1998||Good Will Hunting||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role||Won|||
|1998||Good Will Hunting||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Nominated|||
|2014||The Butler||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Nominated|||