By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer
Robin Williams, one of the most well-known comedic actors in the world, passed away at the age of 63 on Monday. Fans and celebrities around the globe were stunned to hear the news, mourning the loss of a man whose incredible range of acting roles included an alien, a psychologist, a genie, Peter Pan, and a president.
Williams started off as a stand-up comic who was a master of improvisation – making up jokes and dialogue on the spot without the aid of a director or script. In the 70s, he became hugely popular as the extra-terrestrial named Mork in the comedy television show Mork and Mindy (1978-1982). By the 80s, he started landing mega movie roles, like a radio announcer character in the war-comedy Good Morning Vietnam (1988), where his almost fully-improvised performance earned him an Oscar nomination. Then, Williams proved that he could do serious dramatic acting too, when he earned his second Oscar nomination as a rebelliously inspiring teacher in Dead Poet’s Society (1989).
In the 90s, Williams became a family favorite with roles like Peter Pan in Hook (1991), the Genie in Aladdin, and a man pretending to be a female maid in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). He finally won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting (1997), where he played a therapist helping a troubled-yet-brilliant youth (played by Matt Damon). Then, he stirred our imaginations and emotions in 1998, with his performances in What Dreams May Come, about a man’s dramatic journey through the afterlife, and Patch Adams, about a doctor who uses laughter and unconventional methods to heal people.
In the 2000s, Williams took on darker and wackier roles, like a creepy stalker in One Hour Photo (2002), and a villain in Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia (2002). Other popular films during the past decade included Night at the Museum (2006), Happy Feet (2006), and World’s Greatest Dad (2009). Sadly, a planned Mrs. Doubtfire sequel will now be cancelled, due to his passing.
Williams was also very involved in charity organizations, raising money for humanitarian causes like the Red Cross, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and Comic Relief, as well as performing stand-up comedy for American troops stationed abroad.
Featured image courtesy of Universal Studios. Image of Mrs. Doubtfire courtesy of 20th Century Fox.