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Robin Williams (1951)

Robin McLaurim Williams

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  Summary  

Robin McLaurin Williams is an American actor and comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy, and later stand-up comedy work, Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting. He has also won two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards.

  Biography  

 early life
Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois. His mother, Laura McLaurin (née Smith, 1922–2001), was a former model from New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams (September 10, 1906 – October 18, 1987), was a senior executive at Ford Motor Company in charge of the Midwest region. His maternal great-great-grandfather was senator and Mississippi governor Anselm J. McLaurin. Williams is of English, Welsh, Irish, and French ancestry. He was raised in the Episcopal Church . He grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he was a student at the Detroit Country Day School, and later moved to Woodacre, Marin County, California, where he attended the public Redwood High School. Williams studied at Claremont McKenna College (then called Claremont Men's College) for four years. He has two half-brothers: Todd and McLaurin.

Williams has described himself as a quiet child whose first imitation was of his grandmother to his mother. He did not overcome his shyness until he became involved with his high-school drama department.

In 1973, Williams was one of only 20 students accepted into the freshman class at the Juilliard School, and one of only two students to be accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program at the school that year, the other being Christopher Reeve. In his dialects class, Williams had no trouble mastering all dialects quickly. Williams left Juilliard in 1976.

 personal life
 Marriages and children
Robin Williams' first marriage was to Valerie Velardi on June 4, 1978. They have one child, Zachary Pym . During Williams' first marriage, he was involved in an extramarital relationship with Michelle Tish Carter, a cocktail waitress whom he met in 1984. She sued him in 1986, claiming that he did not tell her he was infected with the herpes simplex virus before he embarked on a sexual relationship with her in the mid-1980s, during which, she said, he transmitted the virus to her. The case was settled out of court. Williams and Velardi divorced in 1988.

On April 30, 1989, he married Marsha Garces, his son's nanny who was already several months pregnant with his child. They have two children, Zelda Rae and Cody Alan . However, in March 2008, Garces filed for divorce from Williams, citing irreconcilable differences.

Williams married his third wife, graphic designer Susan Schneider, on October 23, 2011 in St. Helena, California.

 Family and friends
While studying at Juilliard, Williams befriended Christopher Reeve. They had several classes together in which they were the only students, and they remained good friends for the rest of Reeve's life. Williams visited Reeve after the horse riding accident that rendered him a quadriplegic, and cheered him up by pretending to be an eccentric Russian doctor . Williams claimed that he was there to perform a colonoscopy. Reeve stated that he laughed for the first time since the accident and knew that life was going to be okay.

On August 20, 2007, Williams' elder brother, Robert Todd Williams, died of complications from heart surgery performed a month earlier.

 Addiction and health problems

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Williams had an addiction to cocaine; he has stated that he has since quit. Williams was a close friend of and frequent partier alongside John Belushi. He says the death of his friend and the birth of his son prompted him to quit drugs: "Was it a wake-up call? Oh yeah, on a huge level. The grand jury helped too."

On August 9, 2006, Williams checked himself in to a substance-abuse rehabilitation center , later admitting that he was an alcoholic. His publicist delivered the announcement:
After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams found himself drinking again and has decided to take proactive measures to deal with this for his own well-being and the well-being of his family. He asks that you respect him and his family's privacy during this time. He looks forward to returning to work this fall to support his upcoming film releases.

Williams was hospitalized in March 2009 due to heart problems. He postponed his one-man tour in order to undergo surgery to replace his aortic valve. The surgery was successfully completed on March 13, 2009, at the Cleveland Clinic.

 Other interests
Williams is a member of the Episcopal Church. He has described his denomination in a comedy routine as "Catholic Lite – same rituals, half the guilt."

Williams is an avid enthusiast of games, even naming both his children after game characters. He named his daughter after Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda action-adventure game series. They both have even been featured in an advert for the Nintendo 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. On this note, his son may have been named after Cody from the beat 'em up game Final Fight. He also enjoys pen-and-paper role-playing games and online video games, recently playing Warcraft 3, Day of Defeat, Half-Life, and the first-person shooter Battlefield 2 as a sniper. He was also previously a fan of the Wizardry series of role-playing video games.

On January 6, 2006, he performed live at Consumer Electronics Show during Google's keynote. In the 2006 E3, on the invitation of Will Wright, he demonstrated the creature editor of Spore while simultaneously commenting on the creature's look: "This will actually make a platypus look good." He also complimented the game's versatility, comparing it to Populous and Black & White. Later that year, he was one of several celebrities to participate in the Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day.

A fan of professional road cycling, he was a regular on the US Postal and Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team bus and hotels during the years Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France. He owns over 50 bicycles.

He also enjoys rugby union and is a big fan of former All Black, Jonah Lomu.

Williams is a supporter of eco-friendly vehicles. He currently drives a Toyota Prius, and is on the waiting list for an Aptera 2 Series electric vehicle.

Williams has recently announced that he would love to play The Riddler in the next installment to the Batman films by director Christopher Nolan, though Nolan has stated that The Riddler will not be featured in the film.


 Charity work

Williams and his former wife, Marsha, founded the Windfall Foundation, a philanthropic organization to raise money for many different charities. Williams devotes much of his energy to charity work, including the Comic Relief fundraising efforts . In December 1999, he sang in French on the BBC-inspired music video of international celebrities doing a cover of the Rolling Stones' "It's Only Rock & Roll" for the charity Children's Promise.

In response to the 2010 Canterbury Earthquake, Williams donated all proceeds of his "Weapons of Self Destruction" Christchurch performance to helping rebuild the New Zealand city. Half the proceeds were donated to the Red Cross and half to the mayoral building fund with the words "I hope this donation will go some way to helping the extensive rebuilding effort in the city." Williams has performed with the USO for U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Robin Williams", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.