Robin Williams would be turning 70 years old today if he were still with us, and fans around the world are paying tribute to the beloved actor. Williams, who’d been a household name since the 1970s, died by suicide in 2014 when he was just 63. It’s hard to believe it’s already been seven years, as the pain and heartbreak felt by fans at the time is still just as strong as ever, making it feel almost like it was yesterday.
A one of a kind comedian exceptionally skilled at improv, Robin Williams has long been regarded as one of the greatest minds in comedy of all time. He first rose to fame by playing the alien Mork in the ABC comedy series Mork & Mindy in the late 70s and early 80s. This success led to his transition into movies with Williams landing the titular role in Popeye as his first starring role in 1980. He further showcased the extent of his abilities by landing the starring role in Good Morning, Vietnam, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
It’s almost impossible for fans to pick one particular favorite Robin Williams performance, as he’s known for appearing in so many great movies over the years. As an improvisational wizard and a skilled stand-up comedian, he is certainly very well celebrated for his comedic roles in movies, which includes popular titles like Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, The Birdcage, and the Night of the Museum series. Another one of his most popular roles is as an adult Peter Pan in Hook.
As skilled as he was in comedy, the talented actor always excelled with his more dramatic roles as well. We’ve seen this in titles like Dead Poets Society, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, What Dreams May Come, and Bicentennial Man. He even convincingly played creepy antagonists in the thrillers Insomnia and One Hour Photo. Williams was also acclaimed for his more dramatic performances in Terry Gilliam’s movies The Fisher King and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
Even in animation, Williams was unforgettable. He provided the voice of the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, a role that was written specifically for him. Though it’s animated, it has become one of Williams’ most famous and beloved roles, and Williams went on to reprise the voice of the Genie in the sequel Aladdin and the King of Thieves. He was named a Disney Legend in 2009 for his work on Aladdin. The actor’s other voiceover work includes FernGully, Robots, Happy Feet, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
Williams’ final movie released during his lifetime was The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. Also starring Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage, Melissa Leo, and James Earl Jones, the movie starred Williams in the lead role as an angry man hoping to redeem himself after learning he has a terminal illness. After Williams died in 2014, he posthumously appeared in the comedies A Merry Friggin’ Christmas and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. His final movie role was as the voice of Dennis the Dog in Terry Jones’ sci-fi comedy Absolutely Anything.
Prior to his passing, Williams was planning to return for a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire. Just four months before Williams’ death, 20th Century Fox announced that Mrs. Doubtfire 2 had begun pre-production with Williams and director Chris Columbus both expected to return. The project was shelved upon Williams’ passing, though it has since been reimagined as a stage musical that pays tribute to Williams and his performance in the original movie.
Happy heavenly birthday to Robin Williams. It’s hard not to imagine what all else we could have seen from the legendary actor and comedian if we hadn’t lost him in 2014, but he’s left so much incredible work behind that his legacy will live on forever. You can see what some of the fans are saying in honor of Williams and his would-be 70th birthday on Twitter.