Robin Williams will be remembered for his quirks, his improvisations, his honest smile and his unparalleled concern for humanity. Here are six lesser-known facts about the man that are likely to make your affection for him grow:
Robin Williams improvised Aladdin’s Genie
The character of Genie was completely improvised by Robin Williams, so much so that the Motion Picture Academy refused to put Aladdin in the running for the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Though Williams had initially only offered to help the makers of the movie with the creation of Genie, the producer and director were so impressed with his suggestions that they let him give Genie almost 40 separate voices and 70 different impressions, each unique and amazingly entertaining.
Williams made the world’s soldiers laugh
The legend was known for his unfailing ability to bring a smile to the anyone’s face. It isn’t every day that a celebrity mingles with the suffering crowd to raise their spirits. In one of his movies, he plays the role of Adrian Cronauer, a radio DJ who makes soldiers laugh. While with the United Service Organizations tours, he made the soldiers laugh by copying what Cronauer had done. Over the course of more than a decade, the comedian made trips to 13 different war zones, including Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to make soldiers laugh.
Williams believed in supporting others
Thanks to a scholarship fund that Williams set up through the Juilliard School, the now-famous Jessica Chastain was able to become the first person in her family to attend college. Every year, the Robin Williams Scholarship helps one student attend the prestigious drama school. He also supported many other foundations including Love Our Children USA, Comic Relief, Dream Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, Smile Train, and at least two dozen other charities.
Williams was voted LEAST likely to succeed
Those who are the most underestimated often emerge as the ones having the most unexpected talents. When Williams was in his senior year, his classmates voted him to be “the funniest and least likely to succeed.” If only they had known they were mocking the man who would later bag five Grammys, one Academy Award and two Emmys!
Williams earned his geek card
Williams was fond of Doctor Who and Star Trek. And he loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe so much that he devotedly read it out to his children when they were kids. He also loved online gaming, including Battlefield 2 and Half-Life: Day of Defeat. He even named his own daughter Zelda, after a character in the game The Legend of Zelda!
Williams was close friends with Christopher Reeve
While at Julliard, Reeve and Williams took several classes together where they were the only students. They became friends and in 1995, when Reeve was in a horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed, Williams would frequently visit to cheer him up. Later, when Reeve’s medical insurance stopped paying, Williams paid many of the bills, and even cared for their son when Reeve’s wife died in 2006.
Some will long remember Robin Williams for his hilarious movie features. But he left a huge impact on the world in ways that many will never forget.