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TIME Robin Williams

TIME Robin Williams

TIME Robin Williams

Robin Williams possessed simply one of the most prolific, chaotic, and genius minds that comedy and entertainment have ever seen. Until, decades and untold success later, that same mind began to betray him. Five years after his death, the editors at TIME bring you the special edition ‘Robin Williams: 1951-2014.’ Take a comprehensive look at “An Extraordinary Life,” with thoughtful essays that reveal the tragicomic complexity of the global star. Consider “The Comic Who Would Be Hamlet” at the moment of his breakthrough and meteoric rise in “Memories of Mork.” Revisit his expansive body of work, from the animated comedy ‘Aladdin’ to the earnest dramas ‘Dead Poets Society’ and ‘Good Will Hunting,’ for which he won an Oscar. Examine the darker side of Williams’s genius in “Darkness Visible,” “A Riotous Career,” and “Loose Cannon.” Hear from the singular talent himself in “Williams on Williams,” and learn from his wife Susan Schneider Williams the heartbreaking details of his progressive dementia in “The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Brain.” Then come full circle and hear “Tributes to a Comic Genius,” from the colleagues in comedy who knew him best, as they remind us of the brilliance and generosity of one of the greats. Richly illustrated with photos of both his private life and brilliant career as an actor and stand-up comedian, TIME’s ‘Robin Williams: 1951-2014’ is an important guide to every performance of his career, and a powerful look back at the complicated man who from his own darkness gave so much light.

Land:
United States
Sprache:
English
Verlag:
Meredith Corporation
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3 Min.
an extraordinary life

WHEN ROBIN WILLIAMS WAS found dead in his Marin County, California, home on Aug. 11, 2014, our fragmented lives all seemed, for a moment, focused on the same thing. We were sharing the same feelings, remembering the same movies and TV shows, retelling the same jokes. The real-time sense of community harked back to Saturday nights in 1978, when 60 million Americans sat watching Mork & Mindy on couches—together. In a crowded field of crummy sitcoms (Grandpa Goes to Washington) and bloated dramas (Supertrain), Williams shone as the space alien Mork. Though the show was as conceptually clichéd as any other, Williams’s improvisatory genius rendered it fresh, surprising, even dangerous. TIME called him “an overnight star” in 1979. Before long, Williams had become a cultural icon: a mad-eyed leprechaun beaming from…

1 Min.
lots and lots of laughs

14 Min.
the comic who would be hamlet

OCT. 14, 1981: Robin Williams’s first time with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. He begins by denying he’s nervous and proves it by slouching as if he were a deflated balloon. “I suffer from severe dyslexia too,” he tells Carson. “I was the only child on my block on Halloween to go, ‘Trick or trout.’ ” Instantly he transforms into his adult neighbors: “Here comes that young Williams boy again. Better get some fish.” Trying to unearth some backstory, Carson asks, “Where is home for you?” Then, thinking better, “Or did you come from a home?” That cues Robin as a visitor to an asylum talking to a patient: “If you haven’t taken your medication yet, it’s gonna be fun.” Then, as he mimes struggling in a straitjacket, he channels…

3 Min.
memories of mork

ROBIN WILLIAMS, OF COURSE, didn’t belong to me alone. At the peak of Mork & Mindy’s success—sometime after he made the cover of TIME in the show’s frst season—more than 60 million people tuned in every week. (A No. 1 show today is lucky to get a third as many viewers.) But to a kid raised on a steady diet of ABC sitcoms, he was the frst TV star who felt like mine—the frst one who amazed me, who connected with me, whom I genuinely liked rather than liked to laugh at. Williams had that gift. He was staggeringly talented yet able to relate to us on our level, to do things it seemed no human could do, yet feel as if he were doing them just for you. Again: I…

5 Min.
from unknown to overnight sensation

FIVE MONTHS AGO HE WAS WHAT Hollywood likes to call a complete nobody. A struggling comic, he had passed virtually unnoticed through improvisational clubs and two flop TV series (the revived Laugh-In, The Richard Pryor Show). Then, last fall, ABC unveiled its new offerings for the 1978–79 season. Robin Williams, 26, was given the lead in Mork & Mindy, a spacy sitcom, and he became what the moguls love to call an overnight star. For once the Hollywood hyperbole is actually appropriate; Mork & Mindy is often at the top of the charts and is seen by an average of 60 million viewers each week. To be the star of TV’s No. 1 hit is to be the most highly visible showbiz personality in the country. Mork & Mindy seems an…

10 Min.
a tiger in winter

WHEN DAVID LETTERMAN WAS recuperating from his quintuple bypass operation in 2000 and needed a prescription-strength dose of levity, Robin was the comedian he turned to. Nine years later, it was Letterman’s time to return the favor, bringing Robin onto The Late Show for his first major post-surgery appearance. Dashing onto the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater on the evening of May 13, 2009, in a neat gray suit, Robin threw open the jacket to reveal underneath a black T-shirt with a large white heart drawn on it. He playfully thanked Letterman “for the ambulance ride” and observed that they were both now members of the “brotherhood of the zipper chest,” then thanked by name the doctors who had overseen his surgery. As they swapped war stories about their recoveries,…