For a man who was chronically unhappy with himself Robin Williams brought a lot of happiness into our world. Ironically, the mental health issues which likely contributed to his suicide may also be at least partly responsible for some of his brilliant comedy. When we think of Robin Williams we think of the laughs first, but he also played some very serious roles brilliantly. I chose these ten as my favorites partly because I wanted a cross section of his career that showed all the sides of his genius.
10. Simon Roberts in the 2013-2014 TV series The Crazy Ones: Although he has five movies that are in post-production, this is the last thing we’ll have seen him in while he was still with us. He played the madcap, creative genius ad exec perfectly. It wasn’t the best show ever, but Robin Williams had the chance to showcase his comedic brilliance with a fun cast.
9. Good Will Hunting: When he hugged Matt Damon and said, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.” If you didn’t have a tear in your eye then I don’t want to know you.
8. Aladdin: He was the second best genie ever, behind only Barbara Eden, for obvious reasons.
7. Mrs. Doubtfire: Best bad movie ever. After watching that movie I went to school in drag for a year.
6. Patch Adams: After watching this I forever judge my doctors on their sense of humor. So far no one compares.
5. Awakenings: Robin could sure play the crap out of any doctor role he got.
4. Good Morning Viet Nam: Adrian Cronauer. So memorable that his characters catch phrase was used by Michael Scott in an episode of The Office twenty years later.
3. The Fisher King: A wonderfully touching story of redemption starring Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges.
2. Professor Keating in Dead Poets Society: To the rest of us, it always seemed like Robin Williams lived by his characters motto of Carpe Diem!
1. Mork on Mork and Mindy: Worst character name ever, but best comedic character ever. This was his first starring role and to most of us old enough to have watched the show Robin will forever be Mork.
If I didn’t include your favorite Robin Williams role, what was it and why did you like him in that role so much?
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Great post, but I think he was superb as a grown-up Peter Pan too, will always be more memorable for me ).
He was superb in that too. It’s always hard limiting my lists to ten, but it leads to nice discussions about what was left out.
His role in Bicentennial Man is my absolute favourite… Lovely post Phil!
I never saw that one. In remembrance I’ll have to give it a watch.
Brace yourself, it’s a weepy…
Hmm…I don’t like weepy.
Weepy? Was he one of the seven dwarves? The depressed one who never went out to work with the others
Give me Mrs Doubtfire any day. RIP.
It was very funny!
Good Will Hunting, Phil, is my favorite movie of Robin’s. Also, he did a bit on the cable series “The Actor’s Studio” with James Lipton where he grabbed a pashmina shawl off an audience member and did the most brilliant piece of improvisational humor I’ve ever seen. My heart breaks for him and his family.
His improvisational humor was the best ever. There are so many shows or interviews that he completely took off the rails with spontaneous improv. I don’t know if there will ever be anyone like him.
Moscow on the Hudson. Im surprised it’ not listed in more tributes.
You are very intelligent obviously. I considered it for the list. It’s tough limiting it to ten. Some good ones get left out. I also wanted to have The World According to Garp on the list as well.
The World According to Garp, Popeye
I never saw Popeye, but I did want to put Garp on the list. When I stick to ten somethings got to give.
I loved him in Jack.
Hi Kim! It’s nice to see you here!
My favourite wasn’t a comedy, it was One Hour Photo. He was such a good fit in that role, for some reason.
Yes, I agree. Everyone remembers his funny roles but he was also a great serious actor as well.
So SO hard to choose!! …but – all said and done ‘Dead Poets Society’ – because – HE INSPIRED so much about my life in that role – I WANTED HIM to be my teacher… I guess he was.
Beautiful respectful post Phil. thank you.
It was really tough to limit my choices to ten. Almost every role he ever played was worthy of being on the list.
Exactly right I am sure
Reblogged this on Idiot Writing and commented:
…because it still has not registered. One of my Heroes. Thank you Phil for making me see what is nagging at me this last few days… you made me remember where so much began. ‘The Dead Poets Society’ The greatest ‘Poet’ of our time.
RIP good Sir.
Well my number one film with him in it (DPS) and my number 2 film (The Fisher King) are right at the top of the film list so you did a pretty good job by me. Funny, but many people don’t seem to recall the Fisher King. I loved it. MM 🍀
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