Steven Quach

Introduction


Robin McLaurin Williams was born on July 21, 1951; fun fact is that I was born on the same date forty-eight years after. He was a renowned American comedian and actor before he pasted, inspiring many upbringing comedians interested in stand-up comedy and always brought happiness to his audience. Robin was brought to attention with the role as Mork in Mork and Mindy and from there he went on to following a career of stand-up comedy, voiced for films, and film acting. On set, Robin was known for his improvisational skills performing with such discipline and yet able to add comedic effects to his roles amusing the audience while simultaneously executing his character’s personalities. Robin was noticed for his talent and was even allowed to perform freely without following any scripts.

Personal Background


Robin Williams was born on July 21, 1999 in Chicago, IL. Before he passed he was a well known American actor and stand-up comedian (Gerald). Williams was teased and treated poorly by peers at school during childhood for his physic, being chubby. However despite being bullied he knew one thing, he loved making others laugh and he took advantage of the fact that he was able to make others laugh and soon after people respected him not as the chubby kid at school but, as the funny guy who made them smile (Webb). Williams graduated high school in 1969 where he continues to attend school at Claremont Men’s College and took improvisation lessons. This is the beginning, he realized it clicked with him flawlessly and he loved it. Williams left Claremont and quickly went on to enroll at the College of Marin to study acting and won a full scholarship to Juilliard School known for Performing Arts such as Dance, Drama, and Music. Williams attempted stand-up comedy until he felt passionately about perusing acting. This choice allowed him to take his acts on to the West Coast comedy circuit where Williams won a role on ‘The Richard Pryor Show’ and soon employed to play a role in ‘Happy Days’, a popular TV program at the time. In 1982 Williams’ life came crashing down as he fought struggles with alcohol and drugs, such as cocaine. Having a tremendously negative effect on his marriage and leading to unhappiness and an addiction he couldn't control.10q_0425.jpg

It was not until 1987 where he nailed a role on ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ and received his first Academy Award nomination and second Golden Globe win. In 1989, he had two children with Marsha Garves, his wife and here’s where Williams life picked itself back up. With his addiction that lasted for more than two decades, his life seemed to improve allowing him to continue acting (Rovi). In 1990 he appeared in ‘Awakenings’ and received his third Oscar nomination for is role in ‘The Fisher King’. In 1991 he stared in ‘Hook’ and voiced in the Disney animation film ‘Aladdin’ in 1992. In 2008, Williams began to tour for his stand-up comedy show, ‘Weapons of Self Destruction’ and in the same year he divorced his wife, Garces. Williams is a father to three children, Zachary, Zelda, and Cody.

Williams had many health problems and it would derail him off the course of his shows. He went through heart surgery and as soon as the comedian was recovered he played a role in ‘Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian’. In 2009 he starred in the Disney film ‘Old Dogs’ with John Travolta. Staying strong he made guest appearances on TV shows and appeared on Broadway. In 2011, he voiced for the animated sequel ‘Happy Feet Two’. In 2009he also landed roles on both ‘Shrink’ and ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ staying strong with the acting. In 2012, he appeared on a TV comedy show ‘Wilfred’ and followed by an appearance on ‘The Big Wedding’. In 2013, he played a role in ‘The Face of Love’. In early 2014, he was in ‘The Angriest Man in Brooklyn’. In a span of 30 years in the industry he’s received over 40 awards and nominated over 50 times. Williams credits that other comedians inspired him, such as people like Peter Sellers and Lenny Bruce. He was influenced by their abilities to attract smarter people by using their higher level of wisdom (Rabinowitz). Williams stated at he was also stressed out from doing stand-up comedy and that was the root cause of his drug and alcohol abuse.

The use of cocaine made him paranoid when on stage. He described a life of a stand-up comedian as a ‘brutal field’, they burn out, and they’ll snap when the pressure kicks too hard for them to handle (O’Meara). Williams was found dead at his home in California due to apparent suicide on August 11, 2014. He was at the age of 63; he had hung himself and died of asphyxiation according to reports made by Marin County Sheriff’s Office deputy. It was revealed later that Williams was suffering from severe depression, was restless and had anxiety caused by his Parkinson’s (Itzkoff). No alcohol or drugs were involved according to the final autopsy report revealed on November 2014. Doctors believed that Lewy body dementia was a critical factor that led to his suicide. Williams was then cremated and his ashes spread throughout San FranciscoBay on August 21st. Williams will always be remembered for the energy he released on stage. William’s free-form style performance was his identity and new up and coming comedians imitated him (Kornowski).

Personality Traits

Robin Williams was well known to be an amusing and comedic individual. He made people feel happiness and made them smile. He was a man who was filled with love and that made him lovable. Those who knew them or had the pleasure of meeting Williams he would be described as kind-hearted, had a generous soul and guided people to improved lives. Williams was filled with charisma, energy and love for his career choice, he was a genius. Though he fought personal demons such as drug abuse, rehabilitation, and divorce was always that kind of guy that makes you laugh even when he’s the one in need of a laugh himself. He’s words were so positive and clear, made a wonderful role model, yet spending his childhood in Detroit. Chubby and bullied, he didn't let his friends down when it came to them needing the company of their comedic, chubby friend. Williams was a driven man with a goal and huge heart that allowed him to connect and relate with everyone who viewed him as an inspiration. He was an admitted workaholic as one could assume due to how dedicated he was to the stage. He could make his substance abuse a joke just to amuse his audience and fight his own inner battle at the same time. Williams battled severe depression, and ended up committing suicide, nevertheless he’s legacy will never be forgotten (Botelho).

Obstacles


Robin Williams was an actor and comedian, who seemed like the happiest man alive, a man who made others laugh and smile for a living. However, that’s not the case, Williams passed away from an apparent suicide. Depression was one of William’s toughest obstacles, it’s a mental illness that can touch the brightest of people and destroy them mentally and in some cases physically (Holmes). Williams also battled against Parkinson’s disease which he kept a secretly and was only discovered when he was found dead from his apparent suicide. The disease effected William’s mood by influencing the brain’s ability to produce serotonin, a chemical that’s known to be connected to happiness. Already suffering from depression, Parkinson’s probably worsen the mental illness on a level Williams couldn’t handle. Williams also was a history of drug abuse and alcohol addiction, struggling with his inner demons and anxiety as well (Sernoffsky). William was also on the verge of bankruptcy and was relying on the success of upcoming TV series, which was cancelled and this could have worsen William’s depression and stress. William’s has also dealt with divorces in his life, which could have affected him on an emotional level. William’s had died from asphyxia after hanging himself, and injuries to his left wrist were found (Leonard).

Historical Significance


Robin McLaurin Williams was born on July 21, 1951; this date marks the start of a truly inspiring man who left us with plenty. He was a renowned American comedian and actor, who also did stand-up comedy and happened to bring joy to those around him everywhere he went. Robin was brought to attention with his role as Mork in the American TV show Mork and Mindy. From there, he followed his passion to perform stand-up comedy, he voiced for featured films along the way, and he’s been on set for many films. Williams was widely known for his improvisational skills on set and his disciplined matter. Being able to add comedic effects to his role on the spot made him really sparkle in the entertainment industry. Naturally, he was noticed for his talent and in some cases, he was allowed to perform freely without the usage of any scripts (Botelho).images.jpg

Robin Williams was significant to our society not because he was famous, but because he was a genuine human being, like the rest of us expect he chose to leave his life behind along with his story (Waish). Williams had shown us the potentials of his talents when he was alive, leaving many astonished, amazed, happy, and even crying. Williams’s uncanny and inimitable improvisational skills, the way he brilliantly performs even under circumstances that many have mentally brought him down, his legacy as the funniest man left an imprint on all of the heart’s he has showed his generosity and bright spirit to. Williams has left a various collection of memorable performances that will always be loved and cried over for its brilliant display of his abilities. Williams truly was the performer who set the standards high and was humble about it. Expectations were always meant or far higher and the genius never disappointed for it was art that left an impact on the audience.


Williams was influence to many comedians aspiring to make it in the industry and to those already in the industry. It was a hard pill to swallow, one might say. Comedy is basically pain. How could a comedian, by definition is an “entertainer whose act is designed to make an audience laugh”, take his own life, why wasn’t he happy himself?

Comedy is so real because it’s a form of art that expresses laughter through pain. Williams knew this and this was his foundation as he was once bullied as a child and had a rough childhood. The humor that comes from Williams’s jokes and performances comes from a personal space, expect comedians have an ability where they can take those personal, dark experiences and share it in a lighthearted way, making it bearable (So).


Williams had limitless energy and prodigious voices, but above all his improvisational skills were flawlessly executed by Hollywood standards. For example Genie in the Disney animated production, Aladdin was unscripted, made up on the spot and was probably the most memorable moments in the movie. Williams was important to us for his extraordinary acting and improvisation, putting both skills together made him virtually unique in everyway possible. He had more to put on the table and better tricks to show using the same cards everyone else touched. Williams could make a gorilla laugh (Hagerty).

References

Rahman, Abiel. "Billy Connolly Opens Up About Parkinson's and Losing Friend Robin Williams." The Hollywood Reporter. 23 June 2014. Web. 29 Sep. 2014
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/billy-connolly-opens-up-parkinsons-734962


Warmer, Brian. "Robin Williams Was Not Broke When He Died Let's End This Rumor Right Now Please." Celebrity Net Worth. 14 August 2014. Web. 7 December 2014.
http://www.celebritynetworth.com/articles/celebrity/robin-williams-broke-died-lets-end-rumor-please/


Gilies, Jeff. "Robin Williams Fears of Clowns." RollingStone. 11 August 2014. Web. 27 October 2014.
http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/features/robin-williams-fears-of-a-clown-20140811


Luling, Todd. "5 Facts You Didn't Know About Robin Williams." Huffington Post. 11 August 2014. Web. 15 August 2014.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/11/robin-williams-facts_n_5670220.html


Youn, Soo. "Robin Williams: Autopsy Confirms Death by Suicide." The Hollywood Reporter. 7 November 2014. Web. 19 August 2014.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/robin-williams-autopsy-confirms-death-746194


Itzkoff, Dave. "Robin Williams, Oscar-Winning Comedian, Dies at 63." New York Times. 11 August 2014. Web. 5 November 2014.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/12/movies/robin-williams-oscar-winning-comedian-dies-at-63.html?_r=0