Robin Williams is an American comedian and actor who originally started as a stand-up comedian, then moved into television and film. He is best-known for his rapid-fire improvisational routines which often appear in his acting roles. Williams’ struggle with alcohol and drugs span more than a quarter century.
Williams first television appearance was on The Richard Pryor Show in 1977, which only aired four episodes. He also made a guest appearance on a 1978 episode of Happy Days as the alien Mork. He also played Mork on Mork & Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982. This role elevated Williams to celebrity status during the early 1980s.
Williams stand-up comedy routines also became highly popular during this period. His best-known performances include a series of three HBO specials, including Off the Wall, An Evening with Robin Williams and Robin Williams: Live at the Met. Williams was also ranked as the 13thÂ greatest stand-up comedian of all time by Comedy Central in 2004.
Most of Williams’s early acting work made heavy use of his improvisation comedy, although these characters were often tinged with pathos. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his first starring role in Good Morning, Vietnam. William was also earned an Academy Award nomination for his role as an English teacher in the 1989 drama Dead Poets Society.
Williams began to develop an addiction to alcohol and cocaine in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when his career began taking off. He was also a close friend and comedy partner of John Belushi, who died of a drug overdose in 1982. Williams testified before the grand jury in the matter of John Belushi’s death and said that it served as a big wake-up call for him. The birth of Williams’ son in 1983 also helped him stop using drugs and alcohol. However, Williams began drinking again by the late 1980s.
Robin Williams entered a rehabilitation facility in Newberg, Oregon on August 9, 2006, successfully completing an eight-week treatment plan. He said that his voluntary admission into this rehab program was primarily prompted by the DUI arrest of Mel Gibson in July 2006.
Williams appeared on Good Morning America on Oct. 2, 2006, immediately following his release from rehab. He told anchor Diane Sawyer that his relapse was very gradual and was not caused by any particular event. Williams has continued to succeed in his acting career, starring in five films in 2006.
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