Robin Williams: The Comic Who Was Hamlet

The two videos here are great. RIP Robin.


Who was Robin Williams? Or rather who were? He became an overnight TV sensation playing an amiable extraterrestrial on Mork & Mindy. In his first movie, Popeye, he starred as a comic-strip sailor. His chameleonic Genie in Aladdin ransacked the attic of comic caricatures. At the top of his form, as a frequent guest on David Letterman’s show in the ’90s, he spoke in tongues: any language or accent, any human or mammal or alien, geysering nonstop shtick of the highest order, leaving viewers astonished, thrilled and wearied.

The effort of juggling all those personalities — and pursuing parallel careers as a comic dervish and a serious, Oscar-winning actor — apparently left Williams exhausted as well. He died at his home in Tiburon, Calif., at 63, an apparent suicide. “Robin has been battling severe depression of late,” his publicist Mara Buxbaum said. “This is a tragic and…

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