Robin Williams, found dead in California in an apparent suicide, made generations laugh in dozens of roles but his movie career really took off with his Oscar-nominated performance in Good Morning, Vietnam.
Williams was nominated twice more as Best Actor (for The Fisher King and Dead Poets Society) and eventually won a Best Supporting Actor award for Good Will Hunting, but it was his role as Adrian Cronauer, the disc jockey credited with being the first guy to play rock and roll on Armed Forces Radio, that perhaps best used his talents. Director Barry Levinson found a way to channel Williams manic improvisation talents into a story that rewards repeat viewings.
That performance began a lifelong connection between Williams and the military. He performed dozens of times for the troops, including a 2007 performance in Kabul and a 2003 performance onboard the USS Enterprise and later gave a lot of support to the Stand Up for Heroes benefits.
Williams earned fame from his standup comedy performances and dozens of other roles, from Mork the alien on Happy Days and Mork and Mindy, Mrs. Doubtfire, the genie in Disney's Aladdin, Teddy Roosevelt in the Night at the Museum movies and, more recently, President Eisenhower in Lee Daniels' The Butler.President Obama noted Williams' efforts for the military in a statement he issued from his vacation on Martha's Vineyard.
Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien -- but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most -- from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin's family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.Good Morning, Vietnam is available to rent from iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Target Ticket and Vudu.