10 August 2009
Old Man Crush #2: Robin Williams
I met Robin Williams back in 2002. My family was taking a vacation through the Eastern part of the US - we started in St. Louis, then drove up to Cleveland, spent some time in Boston, went to New York City, and to Niagara Falls (both Canada and NY sides).
Anyway. We were in NYC for about 14 hours. We stayed somewhere out in Connecticut and then took the train in for the day and took it back out late at night. It was a pretty depressing day, at first. We started at Ellis Island and found our ancestors' names on the wall. Sad, depressing. Then we got stuck on the subway, underground, for a half hour. Boring and scary. Then we visited Ground Zero. Obviously that was sad.
We began walking towards Carnegie Hall. There was this great, famous sandwich place somewhere near there (I don't remember, but any readers who may know what I'm talking about, let me know).
We were waiting to cross the street when I heard a familiar voice. "DAD," I shrieked, whispering, "THAT'S MRS. DOUBTFIRE!" So we all started freaking out. My dad, the tourist, pulled out his old, chunky camcorder and started taping him from across the street. Finally, dad said, "you know what, we have to go say hi, or else we're going to regret it." So we awkwardly crossed the street and dad introduced us all to him.
He was SO nice. He shook all of our hands, asked us all for our names, and smiled and was just generally very sweet. It was awesome! And he looked so normal, just wearing a crappy baseball cap and carrying a beat-up suitcase.
But even before I met Robin Williams, I really, really loved him. My first memory of him was when he was Mork on Happy Days. Hysterical! Funnily enough, I never really watched Mork & Mindy when it was on Nick at Nite, but Happy Days was awesome. My next memory was Mrs. Doubtfire, which is really (in my opinion) one of the greatest movies EVER. He made me laugh and cry during that movie. Then, there was Dead Poets Society, and Jumanji, and the Aladdin movies, and The Birdcage, and Flubber, and Good Will Hunting, and Father's Day. They're all great, all funny, all smiley.
Unfortunately, I haven't really been a fan of any of his new movies. I saw License to Wed and really, really didn't like it. RV and Man of the Year both looked pretty...well, not great.
But those aren't the things that make me happy. I love how he makes different faces and voices. I could listen to him change characters over and over again, for hours at a time. He seems like he is a great dad and husband. Also, while reading his trivia page over at imdb.com, I saw that his classmates voted him "least likely to succeed". I LOVE LOVE LOVE when people are successful after all their stupid high school classmates voted them in the wrong direction.
Some other good things I read, and that made my heart smile:
Williams and Christopher Reeve were good friends until his death in 2004. After Reeve's accident, Williams went to this hospital where Reeve was, dressed in scrubs, wearing a surgical mask, and speaking in a Russian accent. He made Reeve laugh for the first time since the accident.
He ad-libs EVERYTHING. Apparently, when he first appeared in Happy Days, the writers left huge gaps of show-time, saying, "Mork can go off here...". While making The Birdcage, Mike Nichols, the director, required that Williams and Nathan Lane HAD to do each scene scripted, but then they could do several other takes ad-libbed. And apparently most of his dialogue in Aladdin is ad-libbed. SO COOL!
He was offered the role of Frank in Little Miss Sunshine (I think he would have been great!) but he turned it down. (Frank was played by Steve Carrell).
When James Lipton asked Williams what he would like God to say when he arrives in heaven, he responded with, "There is a seat for you in front", for the concert of Mozart and Elvis.
When he accepted the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting, he said, "Most of all, I want to thank my father, up there, the man who when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said, 'Wonderful. Just have a back-up profession like welding.'"