Williams stars in this critically-acclaimed film directed by Gus Van Sant. He plays Dr. Sean Maguire, a therapist who works with a gifted MIT janitor named Will Hunting—played by Matt Damon. As he counsels Hunting, he also learns to deal with his own personal demons. The film also stars Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgard.
What drew me to the role just was the idea of a guy trying to give back, who hadn’t been practicing in a while. Here he is, a vet with a history, with a life, an intelligent guy who admits he’s not as brilliant as the kid but who is saying, “You’re brilliant but you don’t know shit about certain things.” That appealed to me deeply.
In this comedy directed by Woody Allen, Williams plays a writer who friends and family realize that the characters and events in his books are actually things that have happened in real life, revealing this deepest secrets. Costars Judy Davis and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
I played a small role, … because, at some point, I made him laugh. Can you imagine? To make Woody Allen laugh!
Williams is a nominee for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Good Will Hunting.
What drew me to the role just was the idea of a guy trying to give back, who hadn’t been practicing in a while. Here he is, a vet with a history, with a life, an intelligent guy who admits he’s not as brilliant as the kid but who is saying, You’re brilliant but you don’t know shit about certain things. That appealed to me deeply.
Williams takes home his first Oscar at the 70th Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in Good Will Hunting.
This might be the one time I am speechless…
This fantasy drama, based on a novel by the same name, is directed by Vincent Ward and stars Williams as American physician Chris Nielsen. Chris and his wife Annie – played by Annabella Sciorra – meet, marry, have children, and then lose their children in a car crash. When Chris is also killed in a crash, the story focuses on the afterlife and communication between the living and the dead.
That was one of the hardest movies I think I ever did in my whole career. Every day was literally hell, because of the nature of the subject matter, dealing with death and being in hell literally.
Williams stars in this comedy-drama biopic based on the life of Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams. He plays the title role, a trained physician who employs unorthodox techniques – like laughter and empathy – to heal his patients. He co-stars with Monica Potter and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The real Patch Adams on the film:
The movie’s received high ratings because it’s inspiring, and it’s about inspiring giving. I think it’s going to be an example of “giving” having its day. In a lot of movies, “violence” or the “ridiculous” has its day.
Williams is a nominee for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical for Patch Adams. He plays the role of a real life doctor, Patch Adams. Adams on Williams’ role:
I’m enormously grateful for his wonderful performance of my early life, which has allowed the Gesundheit Institute to continue and expand our work. We extend our blessings to his family and friends in this moment of sadness.
Thank you for all you’ve given this world Robin, thank you my friend.
In the drama directed by Peter Kassovitz, Williams plays the role of Jakob, the owner of a small cafe who begins inventing stories about the Russian army’s progress toward the Polish ghetto. Co-starring Liev Schrieber and Alan Arkin. Kassovitz:
Robin had moments of doubt about doing something funny. He was a little bit anxious about the material … Like the other American actors, he had a guilt, not to have been a victim of the Nazis.
In this science-fiction film directed by Chris Columbus, Williams stars as an android robot that over a 200 year span becomes increasingly human-like. The movie is based on the novel The Positronic Man, co-written by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg. On wearing a robot costume for most of the shots:
It’s very strange. Everything from where your feet make contact with the ground to the way you move your hands, it’s all dictated by the suit. Once they encase you in it, it’s a bit like being in heavy makeup--you’re kind of freed by it. It defines who you are. Once you realize that, then you try to push the limits of what you can do in it.
Williams wins Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album for Robin Williams [Live].
I want to thank Chris Rock who said “get your old ass out on the road” … it is nice to make people laugh.
Williams stars in this darkly comedic take on the children’s television industry, directed by Danny DeVito. Williams, as successful but troubled children’s entertainer Rainbow Randolph, is fired from his television slot after an FBI sting reveals he is taking bribes from parents to place their children at the front of the audience where the cameras can ‘really see them. After being replaced by the squeaky clean Sheldon Mopes, played by Edward Norton, Williams becomes fixated on bringing down Mopes and his children’s character Smoochy the Rhino. Co-starring DeVito, Cathleen Keener and Jon Stewart. On the possibilities that arise from working with DeVito:
Oh, anything. Because he himself is so nasty. He’s a troll without a bridge. He pushes the envelope.
In the crime thriller directed by Christopher Nolan, Williams plays the murderer of a teenage girl in Nightmute, AK, during summertime when there is 24 hours of daylight. Co-starring Al Pacino, Hilary Swank and Martin Donovan. Nolan:
We’d been looking for somebody to play opposite Al who is not only a tremendous actor, but who also has a similar kind of audience identification with his star persona.
In this thriller, Williams plays Sy Parrish, a lonely photo store clerk who becomes obsessed with a family whose photos he develops. Directed by Mark Romanek, this is one of the few movies starring Williams that do not offer any comic relief. Co-starring Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, and Will Smith.
It might be the work is just so precise so as a whole piece, I think it is the best I have done in a long time.
Williams wins the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 62nd Golden Globe Awards. The award is presented for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.
I want to thank the Hollywood foreign press for acknowledging comedy. Normally they look at comedians as very special people.
In this comedy directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, Williams plays businessman Bob Monroe, who disguises his business trip to Colorado as a family camping vacation in a huge RV. The family of four suffers both near disasters and humorous adventures as Monroe and his wife Jamie, played by Cherly Hines, make an effort to bond with their kids and get away from another RV family they believe are stalking them. On working with the director and cast:
We had a good time. It’s weird to make a movie that you had so much fun doing, even though it’s tough work. But we still had a good time with good people.
In this thriller, directed by Patrick Stettner, Williams plays Gabriel Noone, a late night radio-host in a big city, specializing in spooky tales culled from his active imagination. Pete is a very ill boy who lives with his former social worker, Donna. Gabriel develops an unsettling long-distance telephone relationship with the boy and his guardian. Nothing is as it seems. Co-starring Tonie Collette and Rory Culkin.
Yeah but it’s only Armistead about 20 per cent, like it’s only Armistead in that there’s somewhat of a southern accent. Armistead is very elegant man, a very articulate man, in San Francisco he is like our second mayor. It’s like the idea of having him and that kind of persona of Armistead and then it’s this other guy. So I wasn’t doing an impression of Armistead. I was just taking a little bit of him for a base.
In this comedy, directed by Ken Kwapis, Williams plays Reverend Frank. The Reverend won’t wed Sadie and Ben until they agree to attend his two-week prenuptial course. Now, as their wedding is near, they must attend every one of Reverend Frank’s exhausting classes and complete a series of rigorous homework assignments designed specifically to test their dedication to one another and ensure that their union will have a sound foundation. Co-starring Mandy Moore and John Krasinski.
Just going back to the old days when I was into going to church and remembering that there were--as a Protestant, which is Catholic light--once again the idea of somebody who could really advise and has something to offer. That’s why I think for that it was just remembering those guys that I kind of grew up with in the Episcopal church, which is “There is no purgatory, just spiritual escrow.”
Williams plays Tom Dobbs in this drama, directed by Barry Levinson. Dobbs, during his talk show, makes an offhand comment that he would be a better president than the leader who currently occupies the White House. Afterwards a grass-roots campaign conducted by his many fans finds him unexpectedly ushered into the Oval Office and forced to live up to his promise. Co-starring Laura Linney and Lewis Black.
It’s all about money. And so that’s really the main issue behind it all. As long as we want to play this game, that you’re going to go and raise $250 million to be the President and think this President is going to be free enough to go do what he thinks is correct without maximum amount of influence to all the people he’s beholden to, it’s just not realistic.
Williams on Law & Order: SVU wins People’s Choice Award for Favorite Scene Stealing Guest Star.
Williams is forced to cancel the remainder of his one-man show Weapons of Self-Destruction in order to undergo an aortic valve replacement. Williams cancelled several other shows earlier this week after experiencing shortness of breath.
I’m so touched by everyone’s support and well wishes. This tour has been amazing fun and I can’t wait to get back out on the road after a little tune-up.
In this comedy, directed by Shawn Levy, Williams plays Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt is one of the pieces located in the museum which security guard Larry Daley infiltrates, in order to rescue Jedediah and Octavius, who have been shipped to the museum by mistake. Co-starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Amy Adams.
This time, not only do creatures and animals come to life, but aircraft and rockets and art works and sculptures and paintings. So everything is on a much bigger and more dramatic scale.
Williams interviews with Dave on the David Letterman show to promote William’s new movie Old Dogs but ended-up cracking jokes about Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska.
It’s wonderful, I went looking for her book and I found it in the fantasy aisle. With Sarah you get the feeling she was voted least likely to write a book and most likely to burn one. You look at her and wonder ‘Where did they find her, Project Running Mate?’
Williams stars as Dan Rayburn, with John Travolta co-starring as best friend Charlie Reed in the film Old Dogs directed by Walt Becker. The former is a divorced father who suddenly finds himself solely responsible for the care of his twin sons, and the latter is a bachelor. The two friends attempt to close a major business deal while parenting the boys.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me they watched Old Dogs with their kids and had a good time. It paid the bills. Sometimes you have to make a movie to make money. You know they’re going to make it goofy. And that’s OK.
In this black comedy, directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, Williams plays Lance Clayton. Lance finds his son dead, the apparent victim of auto-erotic asphyxiation gone horribly awry. In order to give the boy some dignity in death, Lance pens a suicide note before summoning the authorities. By doing this he attracts an overwhelming amount of community and media attention. Co-starring Daryl Sabara and Morgan Murphy. Goldthwait:
But it’s human nature. We all know we’re making a movie. We all know he’s acting, but it’s human nature to come over and start trying to elevate a mood. All that shit in the bedroom – everybody f-cking hated it. We couldn’t wait to get out of the bedroom. It was all just nasty, you know, all the scenes in the bedroom are rotten to begin with.
The Guardian interviews Williams about the death of his friend Christopher Reeve.
He was a friend. And also knowing him, especially after the accident and everything he went through it was a weird thing. Well, it’s a whole different game. It happens all the time, I know, but I know their kids, they’re amazing, and to see them go through so much loss in one year that’s tough.
Williams reprises the roles of Ramon and Lovelace in the sequel to Happy Feet. The movie is about Erik, a dancing penguin, who is the son of Mumble and Gloria, trying to find his calling.
The main thing is George Miller. I mean, this is the guy who did Road Warrior and then Babe. I went, “This is an interesting, man.” He sent the script and he was initially offering three characters. I tried doing three voices, and one of them was a Scottish older penguin that was like [in a Scottish accent], “I tell ya right now!” And then they said it sounded like Mrs. Doubtfire on steroids. So I went, “All right, lost that one.” And I settled for the two. In the first meeting with George, I went, “Oh, this will be fun.” It was because he records everybody in the same room so you get to riff together, which is really great.
Williams places his Napa Valley estate on the market for $35 million. The estate includes a 24-acre vineyard, 654 acres of land, and a five bedroom mansion among other features.
Williams plays President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Lee Daniels The Butler. The butler “Cecil” is hired during the Eisenhower’s administration. The story follows an African American butler who works at the White House and works for eight presidents. The movie stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. Lee Daniels on Williams:
The challenge for Robin was about losing ‘Robin Williams’. It was hard because Robin has a tendency to make you laugh, so we had to strip him bare and make him quiet. It took a minute for him to get out of his comfort zone, which is always to make you laugh, to make you happy. Because Robin is the first president we see, he’s carrying the torch for the believability of all the presidents. Because he’s the first, people’s reaction is like: ‘Oh, that’s where we’re going with this movie’. He was okay with the combover! It was more me trying to make sure it was perfect. [Ike’s] landscapes… well, they weren’t that great. I told Robin to just paint, because that’s what Ike did, so half of each painting we have in the film was his. They were all paint-by-numbers.
Williams is interviewed by Parade Magazine about his role in CBS’s The Crazy Ones, his first series since Mork and Mindy 30 years earlier.
It’s fun. I’m having such a blast doing it with Sarah. She’s a sweet woman. And the idea of a father-daughter relationship—since I have a daughter, I’ve done the research on that.
Williams tells Parade magazine that there are financial considerations behind his decision to return to television. On his role in The Crazy Ones:
The idea of having a steady job is appealing. I have two (other) choices: go on the road doing stand-up, or do small, independent movies working almost for scale … My life has downsized, in a good way. I’m selling the ranch up in Napa. I just can’t afford it anymore.
On how much his divorces have cost him financially:
Well, not all. Lost enough. Divorce is expensive.
In this TV series, produced by David E. Kelley, Williams plays Simon Roberts, an executive at a Chicago advertising agency, who has been married and divorced frequently but genuinely wants to be a part of his daughter’s life to make up for his past. He adds Sydney to the executive partnership after she improves his business. Everyone tends to listen to Simon over Sydney, even though Simon tends to accept risk too willingly while finding solutions for his clients’ issues. Co-starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Wolk.
It’s fun. I’m having such a blast doing it with Sarah. She’s a sweet woman. And the idea of a father-daughter relationship — since I have a daughter [Zelda, 24], I’ve done the research on that.
Williams appears on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and the two giggle like school girls over a plethora of inappropriate topics and William’s recent trip to England.
Williams plays Roger in this drama directed by Arie Posin. Williams is in a supporting role as a friend of Nikki, who falls for Tom, an art teacher who’s the spitting image of her late spouse. As she grows increasingly delusional in her attempt to pick up the marriage where it left off when her husband died, Tom strives to unlock the mystery of her tragic loss. Co-starring Annette Bening and Ed Harris. Posin:
I felt like I needed somebody who you would remember from the first moment you see him. [Williams] plays an increasingly dramatic role in the movie because she’s not telling anyone about [her romance with her husband’s double]. [Roger] is not only her closest friend and has been harboring a secret crush on her for a long time, but he’s also her neighbor, which means he can come over at any moment and see these things she’s doing with the double. I wanted someone who could make an impression.
CBS cancels The Crazy Ones. Williams:
Thank you to everyone who supported and watched “The Crazy Ones”. We had a blast doing it and we’ll all miss it. Thanks again for all your support and kind words.
In this comedy drama directed by Phil Alden Robinson, Williams plays Henry Altman – a perpetually bitter middle-aged man – who is suddenly informed that he is suffering from a brain aneurysm and only has 90 minutes to live. Upon learning of his dire fate, Henry spends what he believes are his last moments on earth racing around New York in hopes of making amends with close relatives and friends he has repeatedly hurt or ignored. Cinematographer John Bailey:
He was ready to work, he was the first on one the set.
The actor enters the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in Lindstrom, Minnesota for help with his long term sobriety. The stay will span for several weeks.
Teresa Cohen, 32, the wife of a TV executive who attended Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centre in Lindstrom, Minnesota in July at the same time as Williams says:
It was obvious there was something much, much deeper going on inside him. Even though he would goof around from time to time, just like he did on screen, there were many other occasions when his face reflected deep depression and unhappiness. He told me he was always pleased and proud to meet fans but felt under constant pressure wherever he went to ‘wear a happy mask’ and put on some kind of zany performance. He said he was weary to his bones and didn’t believe he could really relax for a moment. ‘I sometimes feel I could fall asleep standing up,’ he said. It was clear that physically, as well as mentally, he was in a terrible state.
He was in dread of dying while high on drugs or alcohol. Tears ran down his cheeks when he told me his greatest fear was relapsing and drinking himself into an early grave while his family watched helplessly.
He tells her:
When I go, I want it to be quick and I want to be clean and sober. I don’t want to die the slow, agonising death of an addict who makes everyone around him suffer too. I couldn’t stand the agony of checking-out that way.
Williams speaks to another patient, Teresa Cohen, in the rehab facility in Minnesota telling her
When I go, I want it to be quick and I want to be clean and sober. I don’t want to die the slow agonizing death of an addict who makes everyone around him suffer.
Williams wishes a happy birthday to his daughter Zelda Williams with a tweet and an Instagram photo of the two when she was a toddler.
#tbt and Happy Birthday to Ms. Zelda Rae Williams! Quarter of a century old today but always my baby girl. Happy Birthday @zeldawilliams Love you!
At 11:55 a.m, police receive a 911 saying a male adult is unconscious and not breathing inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, CA. Williams is pronounced dead at 12:02 pm. Williams was last seen alive at 10pm the previous evening. The Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made. A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted. Williams’ publicist:
Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.
His wife, Susan Schneider:
This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.
Williams leaves behind several unreleased films. In Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which has wrapped shooting and is set for release by Fox on Dec. 19, he reprises his role as Teddy Roosevelt. Merry Friggin’ Christmas, which Phase 4 Films plans to release in the U.S. on Nov. 7, co-stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Lauren Graham, Joel McHale and others as a dysfunctional family.
Absolutely Anything, a comedy/sci-fi reported to be in post-production and due for release in 2015, will star Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale onscreen with Williams providing the voice of Dennis the Dog and Boulevard, in which Williams plays the lead role of Nolan Mack, a married man coming to terms with his homosexuality late in life, debuted at the Tribeca film festival but has yet to find a major distributor.
Mrs Doubtfire 2 has been reported to be in development by Fox but Williams had yet to read a script for the film, in which he had been expected to reprise the title role.
The Laugh Factory pays tribute to Williams on its marquee, as well as tweeting a photo of the Williams display inside the venue.
Cosby releases a short statement and tweet to express his shock over his Jack co-star’s death:
Azaria pays his respects to his co-star in The Birdcage:
Marin County’s assistant chief deputy coroner, Keith Boyd, reveals that Williams hanged himself in his California home and died by asphyxia and he suspended himself from a belt wedged between a door and a door frame in a seated position just off the ground. When found by his assistant, Williams’ right shoulder was pressed against the door, and rigor mortis indicated that Williams was dead for several hours before he was found
He was suspended, as I indicated, from the belt, which was wedged between the door and the door frame . . . in a seated position, slightly suspended off the ground.
Boyd also there was what appeared to be blood on the blade of a pocketknife found “in close proximity to Mr. Williams,” and that cuts on William’s wrist were superficial and recent. Boyd refused to discuss a suicide note.
Crystal tweets his feelings about the death of Williams, his Comic Relief co-star for 20 years from 1986 to 2006:
Mrs Doubtfire director Columbus reflects on William’s death:
We have lost one of our most inspired and gifted comic minds, as well as one of this generation’s greatest actors. To watch Robin work, was a magical and special privilege. His performances were unlike anything any of us had ever seen, they came from some spiritual and otherworldly place. He truly was one of the few people who deserved the title of ‘genius.’
Bridges reminisces on working with Williams after sighting New York character Radioman, who resembles Williams—and is said to have been the inspiration for his character in The Fisher King—at the film party for The Giver at the Central Park Boathouse:
I remember pulling up to the Boathouse where we had our party and I’m sitting there with my wife, gathering myself and I look out of the window and I say, what? Is that Robin? Is that his ghost? No! It’s Radioman. And it brought back all of these wonderful feelings of what an amazing time we had together here in New York shooting The Fisher King. And I got out of the car and embraced Radioman, looked in his face. And I remember when we were shooting Fisher King—Radioman, he knows where all the movies are shot somehow, I don’t know how he magically does that. But, I remember seeing Radioman and he could not believe that Robin’s character was here in the flesh in reality. And there he was. And so we embraced Radioman, I felt Robin’s spirit as I’m feeling it here now in this room with us.
Goldberg joins Comic Relief co-host Crystal on Twitter, saying she is also speechless regarding Williams’s death:
Williams’s only daugher, Zelda, releases a statement and tweets a poem from The Little Prince in his memory. On sharing her loss publicly:
My family has always been private about our time spent together. It was our way of keeping one thing that was ours, with a man we shared with an entire world. But now that’s gone, and I feel stripped bare.
Her final memories with him:
My last day with him was his birthday, and I will be forever grateful that my brothers and I got to spend that time alone with him, sharing gifts and laughter. He was always warm, even in his darkest moments.
Dad was, is and always will be one of the kindest, most generous, gentlest souls I’ve ever known, and while there are few things I know for certain right now, one of them is that not just my world, but the entire world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter in his absence. We’ll just have to work twice as hard to fill it back up again.
Bridges reacts to the news of Williams’s death, which he received on premiere night for The Giver at Manhattan’s Zigfield Theater:
(Tonight is) wonderful, but like many elements in life, there is an underside, losing a dear, dear friend, Robin Williams. Such a brilliant human being. Gosh, I know we all miss him, and my heart goes out to his family.
On his role in the film, based on Lois Lowry’s dystopian novel about a future where human feelings no longer exist:
I’m filled with such mixed emotions tonight. I’m playing the Giver, I’m supposed to withhold all these emotions in the story you’re about to see, and it’s very difficult for me to be here holding the emotions I’m feeling tonight.