Robin Williams was born on July 21, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His father was a Ford auto executive and his mother was a former model from Mississippi. His parents were middle-aged when he was born and while both had grown children from previous marriages, Williams was raised as an only child and had much time alone with which to develop his imagination. He entertained himself by memorizing Jonathan Winters' comedy records. As his father’s position in the company rose, the Williams family moved frequently. Williams was a pudgy child and was often the new kid in the private schools where he received his education. Much of his quick humor developed as a defense mechanism against the teasing he endured. His father retired during Williams' senior year in high school and permanently settled the family in Marin County, CA. Williams finally found a niche at school, and by the time he graduated, he was physically fit, popular, and voted the funniest and most likely to succeed.
Following high school, Williams studied political science at Claremont Men's College and became involved in soccer and improvisational comedy. He also began studying acting, first in California, and then at Juilliard in New York. When he wasn't studying, he was working as a mime to pay his tuition. Upon finishing his studies in New York, Williams moved back to California and performed on stage doing stand up comedy. A favorite with audiences, Williams quickly landed his big break, a regular spot on George Schlatter's reincarnation of Laugh-In.
In 1977, Williams auditioned for a guest role as an alien named Mork from the planet Ork on the sitcom “Happy Days” and promptly got the part when he sat on his head in the office of producer Gary Marshall. His wildly popular appearance on the show led to a contract to star in his own spin-off series, "Mork and Mindy", which also starred Pam Dawber as Mindy McConnell, his comedic foil and eventual love interest. The series ran for 4 seasons (1978-1982). In 1980, during the series’ third season, Williams made his feature film debut in Robert Altman's “Popeye”.
When the series ended, Williams returned to the big screen. He appeared in such movies as “The World According to Garp”, “Moscow on the Hudson” and “Good Morning, Vietnam”, which earned him his first Oscar nomination and the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical. He also received Oscar nominations for “Dead Poets Society” and “The Fisher King”, before finally winning an Academy Award as the sympathetic psychologist who befriends Matt Damon’s character in “Good Will Hunting”. Some of his more recent films include: “Insomnia”, “One Hour Photo”, “Robots”, “Patch Adams”, and “World’s Greatest Dad”.
Robin Williams and his wife Marsha Garces Williams founded the Windfall Foundation, a philanthropic organization to raise money for many different charities. Robin Williams devotes much of his energy doing work for charities, including the Comic Relief fund-raising efforts.
Robin Williams' first marriage was to Valerie Velardi on June 4, 1978, with whom he has one child, Zachary Pym (Zak) (born April 11, 1983).
Shortly after his divorce from Valerie Veardi, Williams married Marcia Garces on April 30, 1989. The couple have two children, Zelda Rae (born July 31, 1989) and Cody Alan (born November 25, 1991). In March 2008, Garces filed for divorce from Williams, citing irreconcilable differences.
Robin Williams Quotes:
“Cocaine is God's way of telling you that you are making too much money."
"See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time."
“It's a payback for them. It's all-access to the American Dream. We in no way have given the vets their due. These guys and gals have sacrificed so much. It's the least we can do." -- (Lobbying for a bill to be passed that would grant U.S. soldiers the right to a free education.)
2009 Reprised role as Theodore Roosevelt in "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian"
2008 Received an Emmy nomination for his guest starring role on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
2007 Cast in "August Rush" with Freddie Highmore and Keri Russell
2007 Cast as an overbearing minister in "License to Wed"
2006 Cast as Theodore Roosevelt in the action-adventure-comedy "Night at the Museum"
2006 Co-starred with Toni Collette in Armistead Maupin's adaptation of "The Night Listener"
2006 Played a comic talk show host who gets elected to the presidency in "Man of the Year"
2005 Voiced Fender in the animated feature "Robots"
2005 Cast in David Duchovny's directorial debut "House of D"
2004 Starred in the thriller "The Final Cut" with James Caviezel and Mira Sorvino
2002 Had featured role in "Insomnia"
2002 Live uncensored comedy special "Robin Williams: Live on Broadway," earned Emmy nomination
2002 Played a deposed children's host bent on revenge in the black comedy "Death to Smoochy"
2001 Voiced character of Dr. Know in "A.I. Artificial Intelligence"
1999 Reteamed with Chris Columbus for "Bicentennial Man"
1998 Played real-life doctor "Patch Adams," who utilized humor in treating patients
1997 Teamed with Billy Crystal for "Father's Day"
1997 Starred in "Flubber", a remake of the Disney film "The Absent-Minded Professor"
1997 Earned rave reviews for his performance as a therapist in "Good Will Hunting"
1996 Played first Shakespearean role, Osric, in full-length film version of "Hamlet"
1996 Reprised role of the Genie in the direct-to-video release "Aladdin and the King of Thieves"
1996 Starred opposite Nathan Lane in Mike Nichols' "The Birdcage," (1978)
1995 Played a Russian-speaking obstetrician in Chris Columbus' "Nine Months"
1993 Had major box-office hit with Chris Columbus' comedy "Mrs. Doubtfire";
1993 Made dramatic guest appearance on the NBC series "Homicide: Life on the Streets"
1992 Reunited with Barry Levinson as the star of "Toys"
1992 Voiced the character of the Genie in Disney's animated "Aladdin"
1991 Starred as a grown up Peter Pan in Steven Spielberg's "Hook"
1991 Received third Academy Award nod as Best Actor for "The Fisher King"
1990 Portrayed Oliver Sacks in Penny Marshall's screen version of "Awakenings,"
1989 Garnered second Oscar nomination as Best Actor for "Dead Poets Society"
1987 Earned first Best Actor Academy Award nomination for "Good Morning, Vietnam"
1987 Was featured in "A Carol Burnett Special ... Carol, Carl, Whoopi & Robin" (CBS)
1987 Made TV appearance in the PBS' "Great Performances" presentation "Seize the Day"
1986 With Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal, began hosting the annual "Comic Relief" telecasts
1986 Wrote and starred in "Robin Williams: Live at the Met" (HBO)
1983 Headlined the HBO special "An Evening with Robin Williams"
1982 Breakthrough screen role as Garp in "The World According to Garp"
1982 Voiced Mork in the animated ABC series "Mork & Mindy"
1980 First starring film role in "Popeye," directed by Robert Altman
1978 First appeared as the space alien Mork from Ork in an episode of the sitcom "Happy Days"
1978 Starred as Mork in the ABC sitcom "Mork and Mindy"
1977 - 1978 First regular TV role on "Laugh-In" revival
Made directorial debut with an episode of "Mork and Mindy"
Co-founded production company (with Marsha Garces Williams), Blue Wolf Productions Inc.