Oscar-winning actor/comedian Robin Williams was found dead at his residence in Tiburon, CA late this morning. In his passing, he’s left behind an impressive body of work, as few were as versatile and crowd-pleasing as the late Academy Award winning actor. Whether it was slapstick comedy, rousing dramas, or something in between, his performances transcended genres and touched our imaginations. Here are some examples of Robin Williams at his finest.
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Channeling all of his comedic energy into the role of the spinach loving sailor, “Popeye” was his first big break in the industry. That and he punches a giant squid into the sky. Movie magic.
Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
As an Army DJ during the Vietnam war, Williams brought humor and heart to the conflict in “Good Morning, Vietnam.” Even more impressive than that is the fact that most of his radio broadcast sessions were completely improvised.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
The movie that inspired a generation of Language Arts students to take up writing, “Dead Poets Society” has stood the test of time as a polemic for following your heart and chasing your dreams.
A sequel to “Peter Pan” of sorts, here Williams plays a now grown Peter who is coaxed into returning to Neverland after Captain Hook kidnaps his young children.
The vocal performance that catapulted him onto the A-list, Williams’ role as the Genie inspired a generation of laughter and marvel at the magic of friendship.
Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
One of his lesser known, but still great performances, Williams provided the voice of chatty bat Batty Koda helping a group of fairies defend their forest home from deforesting humans.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Williams warmed the hearts of millions as a recently unemployed and divorced voice actor who disguises himself as the titular British nanny to spend time with his children.
An adventure flick where Williams plays a young boy who is sucked into a frighteningly realistic board game and released as a full grown man, “Jumanji” has effected how I look at any board game to this day.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Williams got another chance to inspire in the role of therapist Sean Maguire, helping a young genius, played by Matt Damon, overcome the mistakes of his past. There’s a reason this kind of therapist role is iconic and cliché now, because of Williams’ walking of the dramatic tightrope throughout “Good Will Hunting.” It was for this role that Williams won his one and only Academy Award after having been nominated on two previous occasions.
Bicentennial Man (1999)
Moving into science fiction, Williams’ role as Andrew, a servant robot who longs to know humanity, was the main attraction in a tale of love, acceptance, and humanity told over 200 years.
One Hour Photo (2002)
Now we’re getting into much, much darker territory here. Here, the story of a crazed photo technician at a Walmart-type store who becomes a little too attached to a family he develops photos for is brought to the edge by a quiet but gripping lead performance from Williams.
Happy Feet (2006)
Williams pulls double voice duty as penguins Ramón and Lovelace in this animated trip through the Antarctic. He also gets the chance to flex the singing muscles he’d not shown off since “Aladdin.”
World’s Greatest Dad (2009)
This dark comedy about a struggling English teacher given the chance of a lifetime to publish his work was the most uncompromising performance Williams has ever turned in. He wasn’t afraid to take the audience to some very dark but extreme funny places here. Classic Robin Williams.
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