Dead at 63. So sad. A look on IMDb shows Williams had over 100 acting roles listed on his filmography. That’s some output.
Also, if you think about it, how many other actors led such a varied career in terms of roles? This was a guy who in recent years has played President Teddy Roosevelt in Night at the Museum (twice), and President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Lee Daniels’ The Butler. One role serious, straight and to the letter, the other as off the wall as you can get.
I’m 31 and, for me growing up, Williams was more significant than I care to admit. Here’s a selection of some of his work that’s impacted me the most:
- Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) – Adrian Cronauer
- Hook (1991) – Peter Banning
- Aladdin (1992) – Genie
- Jumanji (1995) – Alan Parrish
- The Birdcage (1996) – Armand Goldman
A lot of these are children’s films, but that’s in no way a disparaging comment. He exuded a sense of enthusiasm, playfulness and wonder that really spoke to kids. There was also an inherent sadness to him at times. And therein was his appeal. Joy and sadness. Light and dark. All the best actors have it and draw from it for their performances.
And now, in the world of comedy, there’s a void. One that will be immensely hard to fill. The best tribute we can all pay him is to revisit his work. Go and discover his films and performances you may have forgotten and share them with others. (For me I’ve got Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, Awakenings and Good Will Hunting to watch.)
RIP Robin. Thank you for your contribution to cinema, entertainment and putting a smile on people’s faces wherever you went.
We’ll miss you.