It’s been 12 months since the world said a solemn goodbye to Robin Williams, one of the funniest actors to ever grace our screens.
His tragic death shocked the world, with the actor loved by children, teenagers and adults alike for his innumerate starring roles, from Mrs Doutbfire to Aladdin.
Despite being Hollywood royalty, behind his jolly public persona, there was a man in turmoil. It all finally became too much for him on August 11, 2014, when he took his own life.
The actor may have left us too soon, but his memory is committed to celluloid forever. This week, a new generation is set to enjoy his talents, with his last offering, Absolutely Anything, hitting cinemas screens. We all know Williams was one hell of an actor, but there were also a few things that you might not have known about him, and here are ten of them.
1. Disney shared a very touching tribute to one of their most beloved actors when Williams passed away, using what was arguably his most recognised role – the Genie from Aladdin, which you can check out below.
2. During the filming of Schindler’s List, director Steven Spielberg would hand Williams the microphone so he could tell jokes to brighten up the cast and crews’ day.
3. You might remember the cameo Williams made in one Friends episode with Billy Crystal. What you probably don’t know is that the comedic duo improvised the whole thing.
4. In the space of a week, two of Williams’ films hit the $100million mark back in 1996, namely Jumanji and The Birdcage. This made the actor practically guaranteed box office gold for the remaining years of his career.
5. He fought a lifelong battle with depression, and also had issues with substance abuse, that haunted him for two decades, with his alcohol dependency issue starting while shooting Mork & Mindy.
6. He was a massive Rugby Union fan, and his loss was publically mourned on Twitter by former winger Jonah Lo, who was also a close friend of the actor.
7. The opening scene in Aladdin was almost entirely ad-libbed, with producers blindfolding Williams in front of a table, and asking him to speak to them as a street merchant might.
8. After the horse-riding accident that left Superman star Christopher Reeve paralysed, Williams visited him in hospital, dressed in scrubs, and speaking in a Russian accent. He was the first person to make Reeve laugh after the accident and also went on to donate a huge amount of money towards the rehabilitation and living costs of his fellow actor.
9. Williams was so good at ad-libbing, he not only did it in Aladdin – leaving producers with over 16 hours of material – but also in Good Will Hunting. In the clip from the scene below, you can actually see the frame shaking because the cameraman was laughing so hard.
10. Reeve was not the only man Williams donated money to in order to help. He had an extensive list of charities that he gave both his time and financial support. These include Comic Relief, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and the St Jude Children’s Hospital. DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg lamented Williams’ death by saying: “He really had just a giant heart, and that’s what makes me so sad.”
ROBIN WILLIAMS 1951-2014