Looking Back At Robin Williams' Best Film & TV Moments
Today, we lost a seasoned actor and comedian, Robin Williams, at the age of 63. Even though he was best known for his roles in comedic films from Mrs. Doubtfire to Aladdin and his early start in TV as an alien in Mork & Mindy, his versatility in acting was a strong point of his longstanding career.
His thoughtful approach to acting even snagged him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Good Will Hunting, and he got us teary-eyed with dramas like Awakenings and What Dreams May Come. He even brought a childlike wonder to kids' films like Hook and Jumanji.
Here, we celebrate his life and career with the most memorable moments from his work when he made us laugh and cry.
Dead Poets Society
In Dead Poets Society, Williams, who played an inspirational English teacher for some preppy high school students in the late 1950s, got Todd (portrayed by a young Ethan Hawke) to make a "barbaric yawp" in this 1989 drama.
Good Will Hunting
In one of his most moving scenes, Williams portrayed a therapist who gives Matt Damon's character (Will Hunting) advice about life while they sit on a park bench. His role as Dr. Sean Maguire won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
With a talent for slapstick humor and comedic timing, this is one of Williams' best moments in 1993's Mrs. Doubtfire, a film about him posing as a Mary Poppins-esque housekeeper for his children so he gets to see them after he loses custody of them. We'll never forget this moment where he burns off the front of his shirt while he attempts to cook.
This is a great scene of Williams' fast-talking blue genie when Aladdin first releases him from a bottle, and meets him for the first time. Williams was known for improvising a huge chunk of his scenes as a voice actor in this animated movie.
Good Morning, Vietnam
In one of his quintessential comedy roles, Williams illustrated his wide range of comedic chops as radio DJ in this film set in Saigon, Vietnam in 1965. His radio sign-on of an extended, guttural yell of "Good morning, Vietnam!" is unforgettable.
Mork & Mindy
The 1970s-1980s sitcom Mork and Mindy was originally a spin-off from the (shark-jumping) Happy Days. In this scene, Mork meets the Fonz. Who better to play an alien visiting earth (with a pretty high-pitched voice) than the chameleon-like Williams?
Williams shined in Steven Spielberg's Hook as the grown-up (and milquetoast) version of Peter Pan. In this scene, he stands up for himself in a hilarious and witty, rapid-fire insult contest with Rufio (Dante Basco).
Spoiler alert! This is such an intense scene where Williams reveals an important detail to a detective (Al Pacino) in this 2002 thriller, but DO NOT click play if you haven't seen it already because it'll give away a major plot point.
Now, Jumanji (in my opinion) is one of the best children's movies ever made in the '90s, and Williams showed up in this scene early on in the movie as a wild-bearded, Tarzan-esque character—a kid who got trapped in a dangerous board game and grew up within it.
Williams was always able to seamlessly blend comedy into his dramatic roles. In his starring role as a doctor in Patch Adams, he preached bringing in humor and compassion when treating patients. He gives one of those epic speeches we'd often seen in dramatic films in the '90s in this scene:
He was never short of doctor roles, and his serious character in 1990 drama Awakenings was a strong bit for the actor. He played opposite Robert DeNiro as a physician who awakens his catatonic patients with a new drug. He gives a touching speech about life and his work in this clip:
It's hard to forget Williams as Armand Goldman teaching Nathan Lane's flamboyant character in 1996 comedy The Birdcage how to act straight and smear mustard "like a man."
The World According To Garp
We have to go back all the way to 1982 to Williams' first dramatic role in The World According To Garp, where he portrays a fiction novelist. Some of the scenes below show his breadth of emotive acting.
What Dreams May Come
This scene made my eyes water revisiting it. Williams gives a tearjerker speech in this fantasy drama about what happens after death, telling his character's wife all the things to miss after you die.