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Robin Williams: long live the laughter (actor found dead at 63)

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Marking yet another tragic loss for the acting community, legend Robin Williams has passed away. The award winning Williams starred in a variety of films, from family flicks such as “Aladdin,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Happy Feet,” to “Dead Poets Society” and “Good Morning Vietnam.” In addition to his prolific film career, Williams shone on stage as both actor and stand-up comedian. His stand-up career began in the 70’s, and continued on through his later life. While his roles varied, Robin Williams will always be remembered for bringing uncontrollable laughter to audiences, whether in person or from the comfort of cinemas and homes.

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Narrowing down Robin Williams’ best roles is a hefty, and near impossible task. Testament to his acting prowess, Williams was nominated for and won Emmys, Academy Awards, and Golden Globes. Known primarily for his more comedic parts, the 2002 thriller “One Hour Photo” further illustrated Williams’ versatility. As Seymour “Sy” Parrish, Robin Williams convincingly portrayed a loner film developer with an obsession over the Yorkin family. The normally hilarious thespian adopted a serious, haunting persona. A critically well-received flick, “One Hour Photo” garnered nearly universal acclaim, including praise from renowned movie reviewer Roger Ebert.

However, we’ll always recall the veteran artist in his lighter roles. “Mrs. Doubtfire” found Williams donning a dress, and playing a remarkably natural elder woman. 1998’s “Patch Adams,” inspired by the real-life Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams, was filmed in parts of North Carolina, including The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was an exhilarating experience for a 7 year old kid from Carrboro hiding in the bushes outside Old West, eventually getting a peek at Robin Williams.

Arguably Williams’ most memorable and celebrated role is undoubtedly that of the Genie from “Aladdin.” Animated flicks allowed the comedy guru to glow, exhibiting an astounding mastery of impersonations. The highlights include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, and an admirable Peter Lorre bit. Adlibbing many lines, there are some true classics such as the highly quotable “wake up and smell the hummus.”

As we celebrate Robin Williams’ life and career, remember the actor as he’d wish to be recalled: in laughter. Grab your favorite Williams flicks and have a marathon. Have a beloved Robin Williams film, role, or quote? Leave a comment below!

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