He broke through on TV playing an alien in Mork & Mindy and made his film debut as a mumbling comic strip character in Robert Altman’s Popeye. Those two performances kicked off a massive career and Robin Williams, who died today at the age of 63, rocketed far beyond those two bizarre roles, equally entertaining in their own ways, to play memorable characters both comedic and dramatic. Here is just a sampling of some of his great moments from TV, movies, stand-up, and late-night.
Dead Poets Society
“We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.”
Roast of Richard Pryor
How comically brave was Robin Williams? Brave enough to roast the great Richard Pryor, even before he was nationally known (though he was already popular on the stand-up circuit.) It was a very brief set, and yes, he made Pryor laugh. Perhaps that’s why Pryor had Williams appear on his short-lived NBC sketch show in the fall of 1977. Williams played a white defense attorney defending a black man on trial for murder in 1926 Mississippi: