Perhaps more than any other actor in the history of cinema, Robin Williams was both the consummate joker and the beloved hero. In one instant he could take you from side-splitting laughter to lump-in-your-throat heartbreak — losing himself in characters that both touched and inspired millions. It's a tragedy to lose him at only 63
In honor of Williams and his memorable career, I went through and picked out five of my favorite scenes from his extensive collection of work. This was no easy task — but once again I smiled, laughed, and cried watching them all over again. Thank you, Robin.
"Dead Poet's Society" (1989) | Carpe Diem
For me, this was the first time I learned what "carpe diem" stood for — and this scene in particular is as beautiful as it is haunting. Williams plays it perfectly, a role that would go on to earn him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
"Good Will Hunting" (1997) | Idiosyncrasies
There are so many brilliant moments from "Good Will Hunting" (for which Williams won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), but this scene about his character's flatulent wife stands out because it was completely ad libbed. It's trademark Williams — pulling the heartstrings while making us laugh. And none of it was in the original script.
"Jumanji" (1995) | What Year Is It?
Jumanji was one of those unexpected hits that I loved as a kid. The beginning of this scene, where Williams' character is looking for his mom and dad after being stuck in a magical world for 26 years, is pure heartbreak.
"Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993) | I Do Voices
Williams went all out as the sassy Mrs. Doubtfire, but this scene as Daniel Hillard was one of the best.
"Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (2000) | Party Quirks
In this guest-starring appearance on the TV improv series, Williams' comedy genius (and unbounded energy) is on full display. Often ranked as one of its best episodes, here's a scene called "Party Quirks."
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