Robin Williams – Genie in a Bottle
DE English 101
Genie in a Bottle
“You’re only given a little spark of madness, you musn’t lose it”, was a quote that I
learned to be more helpful than any other throughout high school. On August 11, 2014, my
idol Robin Williams gave his life away to a depression disorder at the age of 63. No words
can describe the tragedy of losing this legendary actor of generations. This beautiful man
that has been in the hearts of everyone from Disney-raised children, to their grandparents
and on, putting laughs and tears of joy in the homes of every family across the globe. Mr.
Williams is the soul of this paper which I’ve written as both a personal rendition of his
memory, and a jollity tribute to his influential life. I believe the world needs to
reconnect to the dramatic influence that Robin Williams has had on the general population
Regardless of being the son of Robert Fitzgerald Williams and Laura McLaurim; the senior
executive at Ford for a father, and an ambitious model for a mother, Robin was often
tormented in school by bullies for being overweight. To overcome his obesity problems, he
joined the wrestling and track team, and began to use his humorous personality to make
other children laugh as a way to gain their respect. “Williams was raised as an only child
and had much time alone with which to develop his imagination, often by memorizing
Jonathan Winters’ comedy records” (Robin Williams on AllMovie). Despite his humiliation as
a child, he grew from it and journeyed onto a very promising path. Robin briefly studied
political science and played soccer at Claremont Men’s College. He began taking
improvisational classes and found his lessons to be a grand success. After departing
Claremont; he enrolled at Marin College for acting, from which he was granted a full
scholarship to Julliard School in New York, where he studied speech and drama from
1973-1976. “His classical Julliard dramatic training coupled with his unequaled talents
for improvisation led to award-winning roles as outrageous comic characters in “Mrs.
Doubtfire” (1993)” (Robin Williams).
At first, Robin set out to become a standup comedian in the 1970’s within the San
Francisco and Los Angeles area, where he became very popular. One day a writer of Happy
Days, a hit TV show in the 70’s, five year old son mentioned that there should be an alien
in the show. The producers went with it. After many back outs, someone mentioned noticing
robin role-play as an alien at a showcase and he was immediately offered the part after
the man in the interview asked Robin to sit, and instead he did a handstand on his chair.
“”Nanu, nanu” and “shazbot” became part of the cultural landscape just like the rainbow
suspenders his character always wore.” (Robin Williams Merged into the Memorable
Characters He Created). The episodes were a hit and it spun off a series called “Mork and
Mindy”. Robin played the main role of an alien (Mork) who came to earth to study human
behavior. This show averaged 55 million to 65 million viewers per week on ABC and lasted 4
seasons. “A consistent audience favorite since he burst onto the small screen as a
red-suited alien from planet Ork in 1978, the irrepressible and irreverent Robin Williams
fittingly enjoyed one of Hollywood’s most unique and long-lasting careers” (Robin
In 1982, Robin, like many Hollywood stars, became involved in the world of drug abuse.
Beginning his battle with alcohol, and specifically cocaine addiction, this marked the
downfall of his personal life. Robin’s addiction played a destructive factor in his
marriage with Valerie Velardi. On the big screen, this man was the idol of many children
and adults alike, joining in the laughs and excitements of his many roles, but off stage,
he had his own demons waiting to bring him his demise. Robin said, “For me, it’s therapy.
It’s another world for me. Because I was trained as an actor and I started doing comedy
because I couldn’t find any work in plays,” (Robin Williams Merged…). Robin faced a
physical weight problem in his childhood, and now he faced the weight of stardom. Robin
was not only an idol in his career, but also an inspiration. A model of easy-going
delight. He portrayed every character in any situation directed toward entire audiences
willing to share his adventures with him. He was never “Robin Williams” in his movies. He
was “Peter Pan”, Genie from Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, and countless other familiar
characters which he brought into the homes of America. Even as jovial as a character that
Genie was, Robin was truly the one who felt trapped. He was a Genie in his own bottle,
granting the wishes of producers and fans, while setting up for his own entrapment from
the demons of life off stage. His destruction was America’s emotional downfall.