Entertainment

Charm, wit and intelligence - the legacy of Robin Williams

FUNNY MAN: Stand-up comedian Robin Williams in the TV series Set List, and (inset) fan tributes.
FUNNY MAN: Stand-up comedian Robin Williams in the TV series Set List, and (inset) fan tributes.

FROM an eccentric alien to a genie let out of a bottle, Robin Williams infused all his characters with his charm, wit and intelligence.

From the moment he uttered Mork's famous phrase "Nanu, nanu" in the sitcom Mork and Mindy in 1978, Williams became the man who made the world laugh.

As fans across the globe mourn the 63-year-old, found dead at his home in California on Monday from a suspected suicide, the NewsMail pays tribute to a career that spanned about four decades.

And those decades are littered with memorable performances.

Everybody has their personal favourite.

Perhaps a favourite was his first Academy Award-nominated role as an unorthodox American DJ who shook up the status quo when he was assigned to a US armed services radio station in Vietnam - Good Morning Vietnam.

Maybe it was it was as inspirational English teacher John Keating in Peter Weir's 1989 film Dead Poets Society.

Or it could be as Daniel Hillard, a father so desperate to be around his estranged kids he dresses up as an old Scottish nanny to be close to them in Mrs Doubtfire.

Whichever performance left an indelible mark on your life, Williams was undoubtedly an engaging, ferociously funny and manic performer with rapid-fire quips and an arsenal of uncanny impersonations at his disposal.

Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams was inspired by comics Jonathan Winters and Richard Pryor and like them he pushed the boundaries of comedy with no subject taboo.

His razor-sharp tongue and ability to ad lib meant this titan of comedy was equally at home riffing on everything from politics and relationships to Hollywood and masturbation.

Williams, who studied acting at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, had serious and engaging roles in The World According to Garp, The Fisher King and his Oscar-winning performance in Good Will Hunting as well as very dark and restrained roles in One Hour Photo and Insomnia.

He brought enthusiasm and emotional depth to his voice work in animated features such as FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Happy Feet and of course as Genie in Disney's Aladdin.

He was simultaneously funny and touching in films such as The Birdcage and childhood favourites Jumanji and Steven Spielberg's Hook.

Williams was sometimes let down by poor scripts, such as those for Old Dogs and Jack, so it would often be in candid interviews or on stage performing stand-up routines that he could let loose his comedic brilliance.

On stage he was limited only by his wild and vivid imagination.

US president Barack Obama paid homage to the actor in a statement, saying Williams made people laugh and cry and "gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most - from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalised on our own streets".

While Williams made no secret of his struggle with alcohol, drugs and depression over the years, it's still sad to think that a man so gifted at bringing joy to many people's lives could not in the end find joy in his own.

Topics:  film, movies, robin williams




QRL responds to Bundaberg's junior rugby league brawl

Bundaberg police on the scene at Salter Oval after a up to 100 people where invovled in a brawl at a junior game.

The Queensland Rugby League talk about the junior brawl

Wet start to Spring for Bundaberg

SHOWER ON THE WAY: There will be wind and rain about at the end of this week.

Hold on to your brollies, wet weather

Cyclists, walkers face long magpie dive-bombing season

WATCH OUT: Magpie swooping season is here again. Photo: Scottie Simmonds/NewsMail

119 swoops already recorded this year in Queensland

Latest deals and offers

Britney Spears calls Carpool Karaoke appearance "awkward"

Britney Spears admits her Carpool Karaoke segment was "awkward"

Mariah Carey's sister Alison arrested for prostitution

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

VIDEO: What did Thor do during Captain America: Civil War?

Short explains why Thor wasn't in Civil War film.

Hilarious mockumentary features star of the film Chris Hemsworth

Meet Toowoomba's top exotic dancer

WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: Exotic dancers (from left) Alice Morgan, Celeste and Frenchie are heading to the United States after competing in Miss Vault 2017.

Dancers vie for top spot at Toowoomba's only strip club

That's a wrap: Gympie Muster celebrates 35 years in style

Caitlyn Shadbolt performs at the Muster Club on Sunday August 28 at the Gympie Muster.

Country music festival blessed with great weather and bumper crowds

Julia and Sasha top The Block's leaderboard

Julia and Sasha in their winning master en-suite in a scene from The Block.

FIRST room reveals of the season deliver mixed results.

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa