Goodbye to a legend

Kayla Oakley

Critically-acclaimed actor and comedian
Robin Williams passed away
at the age of 63 on August 11th and
the nation is still reeling in the wake
of his death. He was an iconic actor,
winning Golden Globes for his
work in Mork & Mindy, Good Morning,
Vietnam, The Fisher King, Mrs.
Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting.
Williams was also known for his
work in stand-up comedy. His ability
to jump between different personas
and voices at the drop-of-a-hat was
unparalleled.
“I was sad when he died because
he was a really good actor.” Sophmore
Gianna Balducci said. “I really liked
him in Mrs. Doubtfire.”
Williams’ versatile acting abilities
allowed him to play a range of different
characters. One of his most iconic
roles was the Genie from the popular
Disney film Aladdin. In the film, a
lowly street-urchin falls in love with
a princess and calls upon the help of a
genie to win her heart.
As the Genie, Williams called his
abilities as a slapstick comedian to
the forefront. Much of his work was
improvised, which is abnormal for
voice-acting.
In some scenes, Williams was given
dialogue suggestions, but would
then be allowed to improvise what
the Genie said. The animators worked
around his material rather than having
Williams work around their animations.
Another mentionable children’s
movie Williams was in was Disney’s
Flubber. In the film, Williams played
an absent-minded professor named
Philip Brainard. In the movie, Brainard
invents a substance which his
robot assistant classifies as “flying
rubber” which the professor names
“Flubber”.
Through a series of misadventures,
Brainard saves the college he works at
and goes onto marrying the woman of
his dreams.
A hallmark kid’s movie of the 90’s,
Flubber is just one of the movies that
Williams granted his genius actingstyle
to. Other notable comedic children
movies Williams acted in include
Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire and Night
at the Museum.
Not only was Williams a strong comedic
actor, he gave powerful, serious
performances in movies as well. Some
of his more serious works include
Awakenings, Bicentennial Man and
The Dead Poet’s Society.
In Awakenings, Williams played a
doctor named Malcolm Sayer. Sayer
worked in the coma ward of a hospital
in New York City. Sayer found that
certain stimuli, distinctive in each patient,
would pull the patients out of
their catatonic states. Although giving
a very moving performance as the
doctor, Williams’ role in this movie is
often forgotten and overshadowed by
the performance given by Robert De
Niro.
In one of his most inspirational
roles, Williams played John Keating
in The Dead Poet’s Society. As an unorthodox
English teacher at a conservative
school, Keating teaches his students
to look at English in a different
light. He tells his students to refer to
him as “O Captain! My Captain!” referring
to a poem by Walt Whitman.
“I really liked the Dead Poet Society.”
Sophomore Emma Burke said.
“We watched it in class last year, and
it was really deep.”
“No matter what people tell you,
words and ideas can change the
world.” -Robin Williams

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