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‘One of a Kind’: 5 Most Memorable Roles of Robin Williams


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Today is a Tuesday unlike any other, as we all woke up to the shocking news of Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams’ unfortunate passing at the age of 63. It is rather ironic yet heartbreaking at the same time to know that this beloved comedian of audiences all over the world had been fighting a long battle against depression before ending his own life eventually. As we mourn the loss of this great actor together with the rest of the world, let us also commemorate his legacy by looking back at some of his most memorable roles over the years.

Dead Poets Society (1989)
Dead Poets Society (1989)

1. John Keating in Dead Poets Society (1989)

In this movie, Robin Williams played a passionate poetry professor who came to a stuffy boarding school, then challenged and inspired his students through his outside-the-box teaching methods. A truly influential film sharing not just the beauty of poetry, but also the message to Carpe Diem – seize the day.

Favourite quote:We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” — John Keating

WATCH: The famous “O Captain! My Captain!” scene, an onscreen moment which honors Williams as a fictional teacher and a metaphorical one to the younger actors in the movie.

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2. Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

One of the most well-remembered characters acted by Williams (my colleague’s jaw dropped to a new low upon realising I’ve not watched this movie before) got to be Mrs. Doubtfire, a role which left a deep impression in many hearts even after a decade.  Daniel Hillard is a man who is willing to go to any lengths just so he can stay with his wife and children after a divorce, even if that means cross-dressing and masquerading as a plump nanny. A sequel was planned in 2015; it’s a great pity that Williams would not be there to witness 2 years later.

Favourite quote: “I just want to know one thing. Are your kids well-behaved? Or do they need like, a few light slams every now and then?” — Mrs Doubtfire

WATCH: Mrs. Doubtfire cooking in the kitchen.

Good Will Hunting

3. Dr. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting (1997)

Williams came to Good Will Hunting after a string of comedic hits and misses (Toys, Jack, and Mrs. Doubtfire etc.). Though he was nominated for the best actor Oscar three times, Williams won only once, for best supporting actor for his role in 1997’s “Good Will Hunting.” Williams plays Sean McGuire, the psychiatrist working with the unlikely genius played by Matt Damon, and while his own life is a mess, he gets through to his young client in a way no one else could, helping a young math prodigy overcome his anger and work towards a healthy relationship with both a girl, and the world at large.

Favourite quote: “You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” — Sean Maguire

WATCH: The amazing Williams monologue sitting on the park bench by the water.

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4. Genie in Aladdin (1992)

Did you know that Williams was the voice behind this blue puff of magic? Disney’s Aladdin in 1992 was a landmark in establishing the talents of Williams as a voice actor in his role of the Genie, the majority of which he improvised and ad-libbed. His performance as one the film’s most notable A-list stars carried the box office receipts past $200 million. This blue-bottled genie got to be one of the most memorable characters in AladdinI for both both kids and parents. This reminds me fondly of my childhood memories… how about you?

Favourite quote:I’m history! No, I’m mythology! Nah, I don’t care what I am; I’m free hee!” — Genie

WATCH: When Aladdin meets Genie.

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5. Mork in Mork & Mindy (1978)

Did you know that Williams was the voice behind this blue puff of magic? Disney’s Aladdin in 1992 was a landmark in establishing the talents of Williams as a voice actor in his role of the Genie, the majority of which he improvised and ad-libbed. His performance as one the film’s most notable A-list stars carried the box office receipts past $200 million. This blue-bottled genie got to be one of the most memorable characters in AladdinI for both both kids and parents. This reminds me fondly of my childhood memories… how about you?

Favourite quote:

Mindy: Mork, why are you doing all these strange things?
Mork: To cheer you up.
Mindy: But I’m not sad.
Mork: Well, you will be after you hear the news that I have to tell you.
Mindy: What news?
Mork: That I’ve got orders from Orson. I’ve been transferred to another planet and I’ll never ever see you again.
Mindy: [sitting down in shock] What?
Mork: [bravely] Well. You’ve got to look at the good side. You’re not losing an alien, you’ll… you’re gaining an empty room!

WATCH: The famous ‘egg scene’ from the first episode of the first season.

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Williams’ last Instagram post on 31 July: a sentimental photo of him and his daughter, Zelda, as a baby.

Caption on Instagram:
“#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!”

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.” — statement issued by President Barack Obama

Robin Williams brought laughter into our hearts and homes for decades. Losing such a joyful and brilliant individual is a true tragedy for many generations, including the younger ones.

Rest in peace, you will be greatly missed by all.

 

Writer: Liu Zhiying

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