08/13/14 by Rennie Detore
Sadness, shock and dismay befell millions with the news that legendary funnyman and renowned actor Robin Williams reportedly committed suicide at his home in California on August 11.
As reports of this tragedy began to circulate through the media, internet and social media, friends, family and colleagues of Williams, who had battled depression, expressed their condolences and talked candidly and honestly about just how talented the late actor was no matter what role he took or if he was participating in television or movies.
Williams engaging personality and comedic brilliance can't be ignored or understated. The range of Williams also allowed him to do some of his best and most lauded work in more serious roles that earned him high praise from critics and peers alike.
Simply put, Williams was genius at work, an eclectic mix of funny and drama that lit up the screen and truly embodied what it meant to be a star. Williams' unique presence and the way he captivated audiences no matter what forum he took, stage, screen, comedy specials or even as a guest on a late night talk show, has influenced legions of comedians who were drawn to how Williams didn't just play a role; he enveloped it will passion and a penchant for making it his own.
Attempting to narrow down the work Williams did and choosing his best roles isn't an easy undertaking, but undoubtedly everyone has their favorites when it comes to Williams and how he magnificently made us laugh, cry and smile with the greatest of ease.
1. "Good Will Hunting": Williams and co star Matt Damon were electric in this movie, with their heated banter back and forth that culminated in an on screen friendship that defined an unconventional teacher student relationship that defined the arch of the entire film. Williams won an Academy Award for his role, and this departure for him from comedy to more dramatic roles earned him high marks as more than a one dimensional act.
2. "One Hour Photo": Just plain creepy but masterful by a man who seemed to enjoy taking a serious detour when it comes to how he was perceived in Hollywood. Williams plays, as the title suggests, a photo clerk at a retail store that decides he isn't satisfied with just looking at pictures of a family and interjects himself into their lives. Williams' appearance for the role was almost unrecognizable, but he owned the screen.
3. "Good Morning, Vietnam": Williams plays a disc jockey for an Armed Forces Radio station and his trademark catchphrase, which is the same as the movie title, became an iconic, repeated tag line for years to come. Williams earned an Academy Award nomination and although he didn't win, this movie put him on the map as far as staking his claim as a Hollywood heavyweight and A list star for years to come.
4. "Aladdin": This was Williams in his proverbial wheelhouse. He voiced the Genie from Aladdin, and after watching the movie, you can't help but love and admire how talented Williams is by adding a sense of humor and candor to a giant blue genie. You almost get the sense that the writers and director of Aladdin said to Williams "just go out there and do what you do best." Mission accomplished, Robin.
5. "Mrs. Doubtfire": Yes, Williams' did "The Fisher King" and "Dead Poet's Society" and both of those dramatic roles deserves spots on a bevy of best of lists for him. That point certainly can't be argued. But admit it, you loved "Mrs. Doubtfire" and couldn't help but be mesmerized by Williams and how "on" he was in this role as a dad who will do anything to be near his children as a messy separation from his wife, which includes being a middle aged nanny in a full body suit and gray haired wig. Few actors could pull this off, but Williams was one of them hands down.
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