|Air Date(s):|| As Host:|
February 11, 1984
November 22, 1986
January 23, 1988
April 11, 1981
February 25, 1984
December 4, 2010
October 13, 1984
April 6, 1985
December 16, 2000
October 30, 2010
|Impersonator(s):|| Dana Carvey|
Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, writer, singer, musician, dancer, voice artist, and comedian.
Starting as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the mid 1970s, he was credited with leading San Francisco's comedy renaissance. After rising to fame as Mork in Mork & Mindy (1978–1982), Williams went on to establish a career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting.
After his film debut in Popeye (1980), he starred / co-starred in widely acclaimed films, including The World According to Garp (1982), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990), The Fisher King (1991), Aladdin (1992), Good Will Hunting (1997), and One Hour Photo (2002), as well as financial successes, such as Hook (1991), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996), and Night at the Museum (2006).
Williams was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting. He received 2 Emmy Awards, 4 Golden Globe Awards, 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards, and 5 Grammy Awards throughout his career.
He hosted Saturday Night Live on February 11, 1984, November 22, 1986, and January 23, 1988. Williams also made cameo appearances on April 11, 1981 during the "Friends" miscellaneous sketch, on February 25, 1984 as the hockey player during the "Buddweiser Light" filmed commercial sketch, and on December 4, 2010 during the "What Up With That?" sketch.
On Saturday Night Live, he has been impersonated by Martin Short on the October 13, 1984 episode during the "Password" sketch and on the April 6, 1985 episode during the "A.D. 13 Part V: A New Beginning" sketch, by Jimmy Fallon on the December 16, 2000 episode during the "Celebrity Jeopardy!" sketch, and by Jon Hamm on the October 30, 2010 episode during the "Back To The Future 25th Anniversary DVD" filmed commercial sketch.
On August 11, 2014, Williams committed suicide by hanging at his home in Paradise Cay, California.
On the morning of August 11, 2014, Williams committed suicide at his home in Paradise Cay, California at age 63. In the initial report released on August 12, the Marin County Sheriff's Office deputy coroner stated Williams had slashed his wrists, hanged himself with a belt, and died from asphyxiation. The final autopsy report, released in November 2014, affirmed that Williams had committed suicide as initially described; neither alcohol nor illegal drugs were involved, while all prescription drugs present in his body were at "therapeutic" levels. The report also noted that Williams had been suffering "a recent increase in paranoia". An examination of his brain tissue revealed the presence of "diffuse Lewy body dementia", which had been misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease. Describing the disease as "the terrorist inside my husband's brain", his wife Susan Schneider stated that "however you look at it—the presence of Lewy bodies took his life." On August 12, his body was cremated and his ashes were scattered in San Francisco Bay.
News of Williams' death spread quickly worldwide. The entertainment world, friends, and fans responded to his death through social media and other media outlets. His wife Susan Schneider said, "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." Williams' daughter Zelda responded to his death by stating that the "world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter in his absence". Barack Obama said, "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."
Broadway theaters in New York dimmed their lights for 1 minute in his honor. Broadway's Aladdin cast honored Williams by having the audience join them in a sing-along of "Friend Like Me," an Oscar-nominated song originally sung by Williams in the 1992 film. Fans of Williams created makeshift memorials at his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and at locations from his television and film career, such as the Boulder, Colorado home featured in Mork & Mindy, the Pacific Heights San Francisco home featured in Mrs. Doubtfire, and the bench in Boston's Public Garden featured in Good Will Hunting. It was also reported that a book biography of Williams' life was released, written by David Itzkoff.
On August 25, 2014, during the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards on television, Billy Crystal presented a tribute to Williams, referring to him as the "brightest star in our comedy galaxy". On September 9, 2014, PBS aired a 1-hour special devoted to his career. On September 27, 2014, dozens of leading stars and celebrities held a tribute in San Francisco to celebrate Williams' life and career.