Gone Too Soon

In the 1970s, a new genius burst onto the comedy scene. Originally a student of the famed Julliard School, Robin Williams departed after his junior year when told “there was nothing left they could teach him.” He began performing in comedy clubs in San Francisco and New York and was quickly recognized for his rapid-fire delivery, brilliant improvisational skills, and indefatigable energy. Producers wasted no time finding vehicles for him.

He reached superstar status when cast as a bizarre but lovable alien in the TV show Mork and Mindy which ran for four seasons (1978 – 1982). He continued performing his standup comedy albeit in larger and larger venues and then decided to bring his considerable talents to film. His first notable performance was in Robert Altman’s Popeye which, while not considered a critical success, did showcase William’s incredible mimicry as the title character. He would continue to hone his craft and create memorable performances in such films as Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the animated film Aladdin where he voiced the genie. Thrice nominated for the Academy Award, he won for his role of a therapist in Good Will Hunting (1997).

Robin was the son of Robin Fitzgerald Willams, a senior executive for Ford, and Laurie McLaurin, a former model from Mississippi but we happen to share an ancestor. Robin’s 8th great grandfather Abraham Martin, who originally emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1680, was also my 9th great grandfather. 

Robin Williams died in 2014 at the age of 63 after suffering from severe depression. RIP cousin.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotape, audio recordings, film, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website. And be sure to check out our TEDxEustis talk at