Robin Williams

Mrs Doubtfire: Robin Williams’ life from his career to his family and his tragic death

Robin Williams was a very much beloved actor and comedian.

Known for his hilarious stand-up comedy and classic movies such as Jumanji, Mrs Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting, the American actor was Hollywood royalty.

Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1951, Robin’s parents were Robert Fitzgerald Williams – Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury Division executive – and former model Laurie McLaurin.

Robin Williams in the kitchen in a scene from the film ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’, 1993. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

Despite his mother being a practitioner in Christian science, Robin’s father followed the Episcopal Church and raised Robin in the faith.

When Robin was 12-years-old his family moved to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and he lived in a farmhouse that had 20 acres of land and 40 rooms.

Although the actor did excel in school, Robin was voted ‘most likely to not succeed’ and ‘funniest’.

After high school, the Jumanji star went to Claremont Men’s College to study political science, but soon after he dropped out to pursue acting.

Bonnie Hunt, Bradley Pierce, Kirsten Dunst and Robin Williams hold each other in a scene from the film ‘Jumanji’, 1995. (Photo by TriStar/Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

Whilst attending College of Marin to study theatre, Robin impressed his classmates and drama professor when he played Fagin in Oliver!. He would often improvise and make his classmates laugh.

After completing college, the comedian got a scholarship to attend Julliard School in New York. Him and actor Christopher Reeves were the only two accepted onto the advanced program.

After Julliard, Robin then went on do stand-up comedy in San Francisco.

Having a successful stand-up career, the star moved to Los Angeles where he was then spotted by TV producer George Schlatter.

This marked the beginning of the actor’s TV career, appearing in comedy shows such as The Richard Pryor Show, Laugh-In, Eight Is Enough and Happy Days.

In 1978, Robin then got his own show, Mork & Mandy. Co-starring with Pam Dawber, the sitcom ran for four seasons.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 23: Actor Robin Williams holds the Oscar he won for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Good Will Hunting” during the 70th Annual Academy Awards 23 March in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo credit should read HAL GARB/AFP via Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

Playing the lead role of Popeye, Robin made his big film debut in 1980’s Popeye.

Beginning his iconic movie career, he went on to star in movies such as Dead Poets Society, Moscow on the Hudson and Good Morning Vietnam.

Robin battled with cocaine and alcohol addiction for many years, but he had a wake up call when comedian John Belushi died of a drug overdose the morning after they had been partying together in 1982.

Despite checking into rehab for treatment for alcoholism in 2003 and again in 2014, Robin never returned to cocaine.

LOS ANGELES – APRIL 23: Actor Robin Williams (R) and daughter Zalda pose at the premiere of Columbia Picture’s “RV” at the Village Theater on April 23, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

After meeting when he was working as a bartender in San Francisco, Robin married Valerie Velardi In 1978 and welcomed their son Zachary Pym Williams. However in 1988, the couple divorced.

The actor then married Zachary’s nanny Marsha Garces in 1989.

Robin and Marsha had two children together – Zelda Rae Williams, who was born in 1989 and Cody Alan Williams, who was born in 1998.

The couple finalised their divorce in 2010 after Marsha filed that there were irreconcilable differences.

In 2011, Robin married graphic designer Susan Schneider and the pair were married up until his death.

On August 11th, 2014, Robin died by suicide in his Paradise Cay, California home. His autopsy stated that the star ‘died of asphyxia due to hanging’.

Prior to his death Robin had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and his wife stated that his anxiety, depression and insomnia worsened.

Robin will always be remembered as an American ‘national treasure’ who made the world laugh with his stand-up comedy and iconic movies.

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