Robin Williams

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Robin McLaurin Williams


Robin Williams was born on July 21, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois.


On August 11, 2014, at the age of 63, Williams took his own life in his Tiburon, California home.  The causes of death was reported to be "asphyxia due to hanging."


Williams' mother was Laurie McLaurin, a former model and great-granddaughter to Mississippi senator and governor Anselm J. McLaurin.

  His father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, was a senior executive in Ford Motor Company's Lincoln-Mercury Division.  Williams had two brothers:  Robert Todd Williams and McLaurin Smith.

Williams married his first wife, Valerie Velardi, on June 4, 1978 and their son, Zachary Pym Williams, was born in 1983.  The couple divorced in 1988 after Williams had an affair with Michelle Tish Carter, a cocktail waitress he met in 1984.

On April 30, 1989, he married Marsha Garces, his son's nanny, who was pregnant with his daughter Zelda Rae (born that same year).  In 1991, Garces also gave birth to a son named Cody Alan.  Williams' and Garces' divorce, due to "irreconcilable differences," was finalized in 2010.

On October 23, 2011, Williams married his third and final wife, Susan Schneider, a graphic designer.


Williams attended public elementary school at Gorton Elementary School and middle school at Deer Path Junior High in Lake Forest, Illinois.

  When he was 12, his father moved the family to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where Williams attended Detroit Country Day School.  When his father retired and his family moved to Woodacre, California, 16-year-old Williams then attended Redwood High School, which he graduated from in 1969.  Not surprisingly, he was voted as "Funniest" by his classmates.

Williams followed up his high school education by attending Claremont Men's College in Claremont, California, studying political science, but later dropped out to study theater at the College of Marin in Kentfield California.  It was during his time here that it became clear to his drama professor, James Dunn, just how talented Williams was when he would sometimes improvise, leaving his classmates laughing hysterically.  Late one night after rehearsal, Dunn predicted to his wife that Williams "was going to be something special."

In 1973, Williams was awarded a full scholarship to the Julliard School in New York City, one of only 20 students to be accepted into that year's freshman class and one of only two students to be accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program that year -- the other being Christopher Reeve.  William Hurt and Mandy Patinkin were also classmates.

In 1976, at the suggestion of Houseman, Williams left Julliard because Houseman said that there was nothing else that Julliard could teach him.

  Another teacher at Julliard, Gerald Freeman, described Williams as a "genius," saying that the conservative and classical style of training at the school did not suit Williams and that he was not surprised he had left.


Throughout the '70s, Williams developed his standup act, first in San Francisco, and later in Los Angeles.  He also appeared on such television shows as The Richard Pryor Show, Laugh-In and Eight Is Enough before finally playing "Mork" in Mork and Mindy, a character which he would forever be remembered for, even after he found great fame as a movie actor. 

Although Williams was initially known for his zany and fast-paced improvisational skills, he soon proved that he could also excel as a serious dramatic actor, going on to star in such movies as , where he played an irreverent radio DJ named Adrian Cronauer, and in Dead Poets Society, in which he played a free-thinking teacher named John Keating. Both earned him Academy Award nods for lead actor.  In addition, his role as a psychologist in the film Good Will Hunting earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.  Among other memorable roles are his voice over work as "Genie" in Disney's .


What many did not realize about the comedic genius who was Robin Williams was that, while he gave joy to so many, he suffered greatly in his personal life.  During his time working on Mork and Mindy, he developed problems with both drugs and alcohol, which he would continue to battle with for more than two decades.

Over the years it was rumored that Williams suffered from bipolar disorder, although he himself denied having either bipolar disorder or clinical depression, admitting only that he did "get bummed at certain times."

When his death due to suicide occurred in August 2014, it came to light that Williams had been struggling with deep depression, reportedly due to a combination of factors, including severe financial problems, the cancellation of a sitcom called The Crazy Ones --which he considered to be a "personal failure"- and the fact that he was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.  Although all of these may have played a role in his depression, it has been reported that the end of his show hit him particularly hard, causing him to check into Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center to receive treatment for his depression.  Unfortunately for all who loved and admired the brilliant funnyman, it was not enough to help pull him out of his despair.  On the evening of August 10, at about 10:30 p.m., his wife Susan was the last to see him alive as she headed off to bed.  The next morning, when his personal assistant came to check on him at 11:45 a.m., his cold and lifeless body was found with a belt around his neck, the other end wedged between the closet door and the door frame.


Fimrite, Peter, Evan Sernoffsky and Henry K. Lee.  "Grim details of Robin Williams' death released by investigators."  SFGate.  Updated:  August 13, 2014.  Hearst Communications, Inc.  Accessed:  August 30, 2014.

"Robin Williams."  Biography.  Updated:  August 2014.  A & E Television Networks, LLC.  Accessed:  August 30, 2014.

"Robin Williams Biography."  IMDb.  Updated:  August 2014., Inc.  Accessed:  August 30, 2014.

"'The Crazy Ones' cancellation led to 'depressed' Robin Williams to commit suicide."  dnaIndia.  Published:  August 17, 2014.  Diligent Media Corporation, Ltd.  Accessed:  August 30, 2014.

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