Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams: The Path of a Legend

[ Disclaimer: There may be a long load time. ]


If you have any social media account, or have turned on your TV in the past few of days, then you know that Robin Williams was found dead. His family has asked for privacy and there are enough journalists and reporters out there ignoring that request, I won't be one of them.

Instead, I would love to look back at this legend’s career time-line.

His work speaks for itself, of course, and needs very little introduction. Everyone knows about the big things: Aladdin, Mork & Mindy, Good Will Hunting, Jumanji, Dead Poets Society, and so many others. Williams’ time-line is much greater than that, though. Where did he get his start? What will be the last movie he graces his fans with?

I only wrote a basic blurb about each entry in his timeline and I had to forgo adding most of his appearances as himself. If I had written more, and added every single appearance, a decade could have gone by without my being done. IMDB has 538 total credits, over all categories, for the late-great Williams.

Robin Williams spread joy and laughter as an actor for roughly 38 years, 39 if you count the movies that are still in post-production. However, he was also a stand-up comedian, a writer, a producer, even a director. The world of film will never be the same without his silly antics and depth of talent.


Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses?

Robin Williams played a lawyer with a toothache. Not much of a premiere for the beloved actor, especially since all his scenes were cut when the movie was originally released. The movie was released a second time in 1980 and advertised as “Robin Williams’ Movie Debut.”

Perhaps the production company, Dauntless Productions, wasn't completely ethical in claiming their movie introduced Williams to the public. It didn't matter much anyway, since their advertising fell mostly on deaf ears. Few people remember Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses? as the comedian’s debut.

The Richard Pryor Show

For his first appearance on television, Williams appeared on the first and second episodes of The Richard Pryor Show. The variety series was hosted by another legend, Richard Pryor. At the time, Robin Williams was just starting out in the TV/Movie business, but it makes sense that he would get his first exposure alongside another comedy genius.


Still an unknown figure in Hollywood, Robin Williams took part in one episode of this sketch comedy. The simple title and format had been taken from Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Williams played various parts in the sketches.

Eight is Enough

After The Brady Bunch there was Eight is Enough, a sitcom about a family with eight children. It ran for 5 seasons. Williams wasn’t in all of it. Instead, he had a part in a single episode, “The Return of Auntie V.” Information about this role is very difficult to find.

1978 –

The Big Laff Off

From what I understand, The Big Laff Off was a live stand-up comedy show that showcased 40 amateur or novice comedians over six nights. Robin Williams performed on one of the days.

Robin Williams – Off the Wall

Off the Wall was the first full-length stand-up HBO comedy special that Williams performed in.

America 2-Night

This was a talk-show parody that continued the Fernwood 2 Night series. Williams played a character that appeared on two episodes, Jason Shine.

Happy Days

Mork, the character that would wind up catapulting Robin Williams out of obscurity, originally appeared on Happy Days in two episodes. Many of the comedian’s fans already know that but, did you know, that Mork's dialog was completely improvised by Williams?

Mork & Mindy

Mork & Mindy was where Robin Williams finally built up his name. It was a show about a quirky alien living with a ‘normal’ young woman in her twenties. The show was a spin-off of the Mork character in Happy Days and lasted four seasons. Williams not only had actor credit for the show, but he was also credited as a director on one episode. 

Most of Williams fans remember the show fondly, even if it was before their time. Nanu Nanu.

1979 –

Out of the Blue

This television show was also considered a spin-off of Happy Days. Robin Williams appeared on it as Mork, but only on the first episode, “Random’s Arrival.”

1980 –


The character, Popeye, was not new when this movie came out. 

Popeye first appeared in 1928. The first person to truly bring the character to life in a live-action film, however, was undoubtedly Robin Williams. Olive Oyl-loving, Bluto-beating, Swee’pea-adopting, spinach-loving Popeye was represented perfectly by the new-to-movies Williams.

For the record, this movie (and pretty much all-things-Popeye) was the reason I loved spinach as a child.

1982 –

An Evening with Robin Williams

This was Williams’ second full-length HBO comedy special. It was better received than his first.

The World According to Garp

The World According to Garp was based on a book by John Irving. It’s about a boy born to, and raised alone by, a feminist woman. The movie follows Garp, Williams' title character, as he grows up and develops interests that don’t mesh with his mother’s.

Faerie Tale Theatre

This series dedicated time and energy to bringing children’s stories into high-quality live-action television. Robin Williams appeared in the episode dedicated to “The Tale of the Frog Prince.” In it, he played the Frog and Prince Robin.

SCTV Network

This was a Canadian television show dedicated to sketch comedy that parodied television in general. Robin Williams was on one episode, “Jane Eyrehead,” and played various characters.

1983 –

The Survivors

Columbia Pictures produced this movie about two men that are hard on their luck and cross paths with a hitman that hates them both. It’s a comedy with some action in it. Williams played one of the star characters, Donald Quinelle.

1984 –

Moscow on the Hudson

Dramedy (Drama + Comedy) was the bread and butter of Robin Williams. Playing Vladimir Ivanoff in this film was his second step toward the more well-known films in the genre that he worked on later in life. Moscow on the Hudson is about a Russian musician that defects to America and has to try and learn to fit in.

Pryor’s Place

Richard Pryor had this television series between 1984 and 1985. He discussed life as he knew it when he was growing up. Robin Williams appeared on one episode, “Sax Education,” as Gabby.

1986 –

Robin Williams: An Evening at the Met

This was the third of Williams’ full-length HBO comedy specials.

The Best of Times

Robin Williams played Jack Dundee in this sports underdog/second chance movie. It’s about a man trying to get past the worst moment in his life – when he dropped the ball in a football game.

Club Paradise

Club Paradise follows the main character, Jack Moniker (played by Williams), as he retires from being a firefighter and moves to an island. There he helps the owner of a resort bring things back up to code. The humor is slightly slapsticky and tongue-in-cheek.

Seize the Day

This was Robin Williams’ first fully drama film. He played Tommy Wilhelm, a salesman that lost everything and moved to New York to try and pick up the pieces.

Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam

An enormous supporter of the troops, Williams was found voicing Baby-san in this heartbreaking documentary about the Vietnam war and those lost in it.

Good Morning, Vietnam

For a long time this was the movie that Williams was best known for. The line “Goooooooooooood morning, Vietnam!” was more popular that can be described in a single blurb. I was only 4 years old when this film came out and, even though I haven’t seen it first-hand, I can quote most of it. 

Jonathan Winters: On the Ledge

I’m not 100% sure what Robin Williams’ part in this TV movie was. I watched some of it and it seems like a 1 man show. I couldn't find very much on it through my normal avenues, either.

1988 –

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

A silly, ridiculous, film about Baron Munchausen's journey. Robin Williams played the King of the Moon and fit right in with the laugh-enticing cast.

Rabbit Ears: Pecos Bill

This was a short animated video, geared toward children, about the wild west and narrated by Williams.

Portrait of a White Marriage

In this movie, Williams made a simple, uncredited, cameo as an air conditioning salesman.

1989 –

Dead Poets Society

This movie is arguably Robin Williams’ most popular film. With his passing, there were several thousand tweets of “O Captain, My Captain.” This movie is where he was linked to that statement. Williams played the teacher, John Keating.

1990 –

Cadillac Man

Cadillac Man is about a womanizing car salesman that’s dealing with more pressure than any man could possibly handle; several girlfriends, quota’s to meet, alimony and even a missing daughter. Robin Williams played that salesman (Joey O’Brien).


This film was based on a true story and featured Robin Williams as Dr. Malcolm Sayer, a doctor that refused to give up on a patient in a coma. The patient, played by Robert De Niro, woke up and needed to learn how to live out of his original time.

1991 –

Dead Again

This was Robin Williams’ first thriller and he wasn't top-billed. He played Doctor Cozy Carlisle, a disgraced psychiatrist.

Shakes the Clown

This is the first I've heard of this movie and the trailer is absolutely creepy. Even though it’s going to give me nightmares for the next week, it’s labeled another Dramedy. Robin Williams used a pseudonym (Marty Fromage) in order to play Mime Jerry in this strange clown drama.

The Fisher King

Robin Williams played Parry, a homeless man that lost his wife to a grisly murderer as a result of a shock jock's (Jeff Bridges) rant. When the shock jock found out about Parry’s insanity resulting from that murder, he took responsibility for him.


I don’t care what critics say, this movie was one of my favorites when I was a little girl and I still like it. It’s a Peter Pan movie, but with a twist. It indicates that Peter Pan left Never, Never Land in order to start a family and subsequently forgot who he was. When Hook returns, a much older Peter is called back, with no idea what to do. Robin Williams played Peter.

A Wish for Wings That Work

This was a TV short that had Williams, billed as Sudy Nim, voicing the Kiwi character.

Rabbit Ears: The Fool and the Flying Ship

This was another video short geared toward children that Williams narrated.

1992 –

FernGully: The Last Rainforest

This animated film was about a fairy girl and a bat sidekick that shrink a human in order to save his life. Williams voiced that awkward, clumsy, comical bat.

From Time to Time

This is a video short that I can’t find any information on and I can’t find the actual video of. I think IMDB lied to me. I don’t believe it exists. So this is the =3 Ray William Johnson episode that Robin Williams appeared on. Enjoy the substitute.


Do I need to say anything? If you don’t know what Aladdin is or that Robin Williams was the Genie, then it’s time to hit-up Amazon and buy yourself a DVD. Don’t rent. Buy. It’s not like you won’t watch it several times.


This surreal children’s film is about a general inheriting a toy factory and the workers trying to keep him from inventing weaponry in place of toys. It didn't do well at the box-office, but Robin Williams was definitely not the problem. He played Leslie Zevo.

1993 –

Mrs. Doubtfire (Actor/Soundtrack/Producer)

This is another essential Robin Williams film. It was HUGE when it came out and remains huge. It’s the epitome of a 90’s comedy and the film that every movie of that genre and time needed to live up to. Hilarious. 

Williams played Mrs. Doubtfire and Daniel Hillard and gave an amazing performance that made sure the movie would stand the test of time.

1994 –

Homicide: Life on the Street

This was a basic crime solving TV series that lasted seven seasons. Robin Williams played Robert Ellison on one episode, “Bop Gun.”

Being Human

Because of the UK and US Being Human series, I found it difficult to find a trailer for this movie. I did eventually find one, however, and you will see it above. The movie follows the soul of one man through four life-times. 

In Search of Dr. Seuss

This movie was about a reporter who wanted to learn about Dr. Seuss and wound up finding out about his life from various characters of his. Robin Williams played the father.

1995 –

Nine Months

In this sweet comedy a couple finds out that they’re set to have a baby even though they’re not nearly ready for it. Robin Williams played the kooky, seemingly unqualified, Dr. Kosevich.

To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar

This film about a trio of drag queens on a cross-country trip isn't one that most people would recognize Robin Williams from. That’s because he was uncredited and had only a small part as John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.


This was another one of my favorite Robin Williams movies. Even when I watch it now, I find that the movie holds up to what I thought about it when I was younger. That doesn't happen all that often. Williams played Alan Parrish, a man that had been stuck in the game for decades.

1996 –

The Birdcage

I only saw this movie for the first time in the past couple of years. It was absolutely hilarious. It’s about a gay couple pretending to be a straight couple in order to impress their son’s right-wing in-laws. Williams played Armand Goldman, one half of the gay couple and he was incredible in that part.


Robin Williams played Jack Powell in this movie about a child with an accelerated aging process.

Aladdin and the King of Thieves

This was the third of the Aladdin trilogy. Not nearly as necessary as the first Aladdin. Still, any time Williams played Genie, life was good.

The Secret Agent

This is another thriller on Williams’ list, but it’s also another movie he’s not known for. He made a simple, uncredited, cameo as an assassin.


Hamlet is a well-known play by Shakespeare. Robin Williams took on the part of Osric for this adaptation.

1997 –


I didn't initially remember the episode of Friends that Robin Williams appeared on. I had to see the picture first. Now I remember how amusing it actually was.

Fathers’ Day

The movie depicts what happens when a woman cons two ex’s into searching for her runaway son, by convincing them both independently that they are the father. Robin Williams played one of those men, Dale Putley.

Deconstructing Harry

I never saw this movie, but it basically explains why you should change the names in any book you ever write that’s auto-biographical. At least, if you want to have any friends left and still want to tell the truth. Williams played Mel.


Robin Williams played Professor Philip Brainard in this film about an absent-minded inventor that creates a strange new gel that begins to ruin his life.

Good Will Hunting

In Good Will Hunting, Williams played Sean Maguire, a psychologist that works with a low-class man with incredible potential in the field of mathematics. His performance is one of the aspects that made the movie so great.

Great Minds Think for Themselves

Williams reprised his role of the Genie from Aladdin in this short-lived educational TV series that taught children about famous and important people such as Albert Einstein and George Washington Carver.

1998 –

One Saturday Morning

I couldn't find much information on this TV show, but Williams became the Genie again for two episodes. I think it’s safe to say it was animated and geared toward children.

What Dreams May Come

In this romantic drama, Robin Williams plays Chris Nielsen, a man who died in a tragic accident. Heaven isn't all it’s cracked up to be, he finds, when it means he’ll never see his soul-mate again. So he goes on a quest to get back to her. It’s another one of his most popular and beloved films.

Patch Adams

This was one of my mother’s favorite movies when it came out. Williams played Patch Adams, a doctor hopeful that believed laughter was the best medicine. It’s based on a true story.

Disney’s Math Quest with Aladdin

This educational video game was the last time Robin Williams took up his role as the Genie.

1999 –

L.A. Doctors

On this dramatic TV series about patients and problems with the medical profession, Williams portrayed Hugo Kingsley on a single episode, “Just Duet.”

Jakob the Liar

Williams transported back to World War II for his part as Jakob in this film. As a Jewish shop-keep, he found himself in the ghetto, trying to keep the other inhabitants’ spirits up and hiding a young female child from being transported to a concentration camp. He is also listed as a producer for this film.

Bicentennial Man

In this film, Williams played Andrew Martin, an android with the desire to feel human emotions and the capability that put him on a path to do so.

2001 –

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Just following his starring part in Bicentennial Man, Williams then portrayed the voice of Dr. Know in a story with a similar starting point.

2002 –

Robin Williams: Live on Broadway

Another stand-up show for the comedian.

One Hour Photo

In this haunting thriller, Robin Williams steps away from humor and into the stalkery creepy shoes of Seymour Parrish. Parrish is a photo lab tech that becomes obsessed with a family that develops their film with him.

Death to Smoochy

In this film, Williams still went totally creepy, but there was a lot of humor involved, too. He played Rainbow Randolph, a former children show star that lost his sanity and his job. He became convinced that the only way to get his life back was to kill his replacement, Smoochy (Edward Norton).


To end his year of creepy thrillers, Williams portrayed Walter Finch, a suspected killer, in a movie about two detectives investigating the death of a teenage girl.

2003 –

Freedom: A History of Us

Williams played several roles in this mini-series depicting the history of America.

Life with Bonnie

I don’t know much about this show, except that Williams was on one episode, “Psychic,” as Kevin Powalski.

2004 –

The Final Cut

Alan Hakman, played by Williams, is a “cutter.” In the world of The Final Cut, cutters are people who take the memories of people saved on implanted chips and cut them into short movies about their lives that their families can watch. When he works on one man, he finds a memory that could destroy him.

House of D

Williams returned to his bread and butter with this Dramedy about a boy named Tommy growing up. Williams played Pappass, the boy's mentally challenged best friend.


Charlie Boyd/The Priest is Williams’ uncredited character in this film.

2005 –


In a world filled with only robots, Williams voiced Fender, one of the robots an inventor moving to the big city meets along the way.

The Big White

When trying to cash in on his missing brother’s life insurance policy, Paul Barnell (Robin Williams) finds that not having a dead body to produce makes it difficult. When he finds one, all hell breaks loose.

2006 –

The Night Listener

Williams played a radio host, Gabriel Noone, that gets close to a young listener. However, it turns out that the listener has a bit of a secret and Gabriel is left trying to find the truth in this mystery thriller.


A dysfunctional family gets into and RV and takes a trip. As with most dysfunctional families, though, they find it’s not all that easy to be in closed quarters together for that long. Williams played the father, Bob Munro.

Everyone’s Hero

Williams voiced the uncredited Napoleon Cross in this animated film.

Man of the Year

This movie is basically the story of what would happen if Stephen Colbert decided to run for the presidency, and got elected. Williams played Tom Dobbs, the main character.

Happy Feet

I. Love. Happy. Feet. Penguins, dancing, singing, and utter adorableness. There’s no going wrong. What’s better? Williams voiced my favorite character, Ramon. No one but Robin Williams could have pulled that character off well enough to be that awesome.

Night at the Museum

I don’t like Ben Stiller very much, so I haven’t seen either of these movies and I probably won’t see the third one, but I hear they’re quite funny. Robin Williams played Teddy Roosevelt.

2007 –

License to Wed

Robin Williams played Reverend Frank in this comedy about a reverend putting a couple through the ringer to ensure they’re really ready to tie the knot.

August Rush

In this music-based drama, Williams played Maxwell ‘Wizard’ Wallace. There is a rumor that Williams based his performance on Bono of U2.

2008 –

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

I saw “Authority,” the Law & Order: SVU episode that Robin Williams portrayed Merritt Rook on. It was a psychological trip, likely my favorite episode of the entire series.

2009 –

Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction

The fourth full-length HBO comedy special.


Williams played Holden in this movie. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the film so it would be impossible for me to describe the part his character plays. He doesn’t show up in the trailer.

World’s Greatest Dad

Lance (Robin Williams) has a strained relationship with his son. After an accident, Lance does his best to find a way to cover up information that could embarrass the boy.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Williams reprised his role as Teddy Roosevelt in this sequel comedy.

Old Dogs

In this movie, Williams played Dan, an old bachelor with distaste for children. Dan had to step up his game, however, when an ex showed back up in his life with twins that she claimed were his. It’s a cute movie with a great cast.

2011 –

Happy Feet Two (Actor/Soundtrack)

In case you missed it before: I. Love. Happy. Feet. Both of them. Seriously. Ramon is the best penguin ever.

2012 –


Williams appeared on one episode, “Progress,” as Dr. Eddy.


With use of his first name, Robin, he appeared on one episode: “Barney/Never.”

2013 –

The Big Wedding

The legendary comedian played Father Moinighan in this movie about a divorced couple pretending to be married for the sake of their family.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

This film followed a butler as he served several presidents. Williams portrayed Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Zero Theorem

Williams played the uncredited Church of Batman the Redeemer Billboard Spokesman. I’ve never heard of this movie, but just hearing the epicness that is that role’s title, I definitely want to.

The Face of Love

In a movie about a woman who begins dating a man who looks like her dead husband, Williams played one of her companions, Roger.

Robin Williams in Multiple Exposures

This is a short film that was done for Funny or Die.

The Crazy Ones

This is the first TV show Robin Williams had a constantly recurring part in since Mork & Mindy. He played Simon Roberts.

2014 –


Nolan Mack (Robin Williams) was a devoted husband with a secret life that couldn’t be hidden any longer.

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

After being given a very short time to live by a doctor, a man seeks to reconcile with everyone his anger has estranged him from. Robin Williams played the main character, Henry Altmann.

Merry Friggin’ Christmas

This is one of the films still in post-production. Robin Williams’ character, Mitch, seems to be a father figure in an estranged family setting.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Another post-production film coming out this year. Williams reprised his role of Teddy Roosevelt one last time. This is the last film the comedian will be seen in.

2015 –

Absolutely Anything

This is the last film Robin Williams will be heard in. It’s a comedy in post-production and he does the voice-over work for a dog along-side another growing comedic great, Simon Pegg. It is not an animated film.


  1. "From Time to Time" was actually a Disney's Tomorrowland (Epcot) attraction that ran from 1995-2005. It was about a robot, named the Timekeeper, who was voiced by Williams. Timekeeper and his assistant, Nine-Eye, voiced by Rhea Perlman, created a time machine and took the audience through time and space. You can actually find it on YouTube, just look up "Timekeeper Disneyworld" or "Timekeeper Robin Williams" and you should be able to find it.