Robin Williams dies: From Flubber and The Fisher King to Aladdin - the actor's eccentric career in pictures

The world is mourning the loss of a comic genius and talented actor

Heather Saul
Tuesday 12 August 2014 10:18 BST
1995: Robin Williams in 'Jumanji'
1995: Robin Williams in 'Jumanji'

The late comic and actor Robin Williams is remembered for his distinguished and diverse career spanning almost four decades.

Williams, a stand-up comic and brilliant impersonator, was perhaps best known for his quirky humour and ability to ad-lib his way through performances and film scripts.

His enduring career on screen would involve stints as an alien for four series of Mork and Mindy, see Williams don a dress, wig and an impressive set of fake breasts for his role as a Scottish housekeeper in the comedy Mrs Doubtfire, and provide the unforgettable voice of an excitable genie in Disney classic Aladdin.

Steven Spielberg, who also worked with Williams on the Peter Pan spin-off, Hook, described his long-time friend as "a lightning storm of comic genius", adding that "our laughter was the thunder that sustained him”.

The star took leading parts in family-friendly blockbusters such as Jumanji and Flubber, but also tackled more serious topics in dramatic roles that saw him captivate audiences and surpass widely-held expectations of him as an actor.

The 1990s drama Awakenings saw Williams portray a British neurologist who administered a drug to catatonic patients that briefly awoke them from decades of catatonia. His turn as the caring but painfully shy Dr. Malcolm Sayer was both uplifting as patients ‘awoke’ and devastating as they returned to their former states.

1990: Robin Williams and Robert De Niro star in 'Awakenings'

Later in the same decade, his performance as grieving therapist Sean Maguire in the 1997 drama Good Will Hunting would see him awarded his only Oscar after three nominations, a touching moment that led him to warn in his acceptance speech: “This might be the only time I’m speechless.”

Williams went on to demonstrate his dexterity as an actor even further by undertaking an unsettling, psychopathic role in One Hour Photo, where he played a photo lab technician obsessed with a family who frequented the store.

In 2005, Williams was cast in Christopher Nolan’s psychological thriller Insomnia as reclusive novelist and murderer in an unsettling and much lauded appareance.

The 63-year-old has been remembered in a series of tributes from across the world today, with his friends, fellow actors, family and directors mourning the loss of one of the "most inspired and gifted comic minds, as well as one of this generation's greatest actors".

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