Many actors are only ever seen as one character. Some fans can only see actors in comedy roles or dramatic roles. Rarely, an actor will expand his range beyond a single character – or even a single genre. One actor who did so to much acclaim is Robin Williams. Williams started out doing stand-up comedy work. He rose to fame as Mork in the comedy "Mork & Mindy."
Williams was one of those actors who could improvise on the fly better than nearly anyone else in the world of acting. He brought the cartoon character of Popeye to life in the movie "Popeye the Sailor Man" in 1980. Unfortunately, Williams almost became typecast to the point of only doing comedies. Fans did not know that he had more range in his acting.
The movie role that made him a household name as he started sliding into drama acting is the movie "Good Morning Vietnam." This movie was a dramedy in which Williams played a funny radio disk jockey. The character he plays tries and succeeds to bring a little stress relief to the troops fighting the Vietnam War.
Williams' dramatic acting chops really came to the fore when "Dead Poets Society" appeared on the big screen. This movie was a full-on drama that displayed the dramatic range of Robin. In it, Williams plays an English teacher, John Keating. Keating is a prep school teacher who uses teaching methods that differ from traditional ways of teaching in school.
The movies "Awakenings" and "Good Will Hunting" show yet more range in Williams' acting. Williams was an actor who would surprise fans and fellow actors to the point of amazement. He could do any type of acting role and be great in it. He was right up there with Tom Hanks when it comes to easily making the transition from comedy to drama.
There are very few actors who can do both comedy and drama. Williams had those facial expressions that made it seem like he was always smiling. Even when he was not smiling, it looked like he was. Whenever he would make an appearance on a talk show, the audience knew they would be taken for a wild ride. They never knew what he was going to do during the interview.
Williams' talent was so far-reaching that he can easily be imagined in roles he never took. The movie "Cast Away" starring Tom Hanks is a movie that Williams could have also pulled off. If you watch that movie and imagine Williams doing the role in your mind, you can see how effective he would have been if he was chosen for the role.
Unfortunately, the world lost Robin Williams to suicide in August of 2014. Behind the mask of comedy, he was suffering from health problems and addiction. He left behind an acting legacy that remains inimitable.
Importantly, he left behind a legacy of service to his country and to his fellow citizens. His support of the troops overseas moved him to do stand-up performances in those places that troops were stationed. He did a lot of work helping veterans. Williams and his wife started a foundation called the Windfall Foundation to raise money for several charities that they were involved in. He will always be missed and he will never be forgotten.